Athena’s visual impairment motivated her to teach and advocate for others in the blind community


By: Cara Martinez


Athena Garcia, a Foundation for Blind Children client, shares her story about her journey from being a premature baby with visual impairments to starting a degree program to become a Teacher of The Visually Impaired.

Garcia was born premature and diagnosed with Retinopathy of prematurity. As a child she spent two years in the Early Intervention program at Foundation for Blind Children. EI provides informational, instructional and emotional support for families to create learning opportunities for their visually impaired child throughout their life. As Athena grew older her vision loss progressed and she did not receive support through her school district.

Athena joined the Adult Comprehensive Program in April 2021 which helps adults achieve independence through various rehabilitative services. Those include learning how to use a white cane, using public transportation and crossing intersections independently.

“I wish I could have received these services before I was in school, I’m not sure what happened”, says Garcia about the life-changing lessons she learned at FBC.

Garcia graduated from the program in January 2022. She is currently majoring in Elementary Education at Glendale Community College and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education with a focus in Visual Impairment at Arizona State University.

The Teacher of Visually Impaired Education Program in partnership with ASU and FBC is taught by faculty associates from FBC and full-time ASU faculty to provide candidates with theoretical and practical perspectives on teaching and learning for students with visual impairments.

“You can become independent even with a visual impairment and that’s what inspired me,” says Garcia. She continues, “I can teach the students how to advocate on their own and teach them the skills needed to become successful. I want to give back the hope that I received from FBC and watch my students become successful and achieve their dreams and goals.”

Until Athena finishes her degree, she’s taken on the role of “teacher” by sharing the knowledge she learned at FBC with her mother who is blind. “I was thinking of possibly helping out and teaching her the things I learned through this program,” says Garcia.

Because of your support, Athena is making waves in the visually impaired community. Thank you.