Student Stories

We all have a story to share

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Ronald Boyd

“I am a 60 year old retired manager of a sterile processing department. I’ve been in Arizona for 5 years. I’ve been at Saavi Services for the Blind in the Comprehensive Day Program for 7 months. My ultimate job goal is to have a food truck of my own. I’ve worked on food trucks before with my friends and I have decided to buy one. In order for me to achieve those goals I figured I should go through the CDP Program along with Saavi. I’m at Saavi to learn the skills I need to sustain a business. My own business. That’s why I’m here and I’m on my way, I hope, to achieving my goals.”

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Dale Ramsey

“I started the Comprehensive Day program at Saavi with no real idea of what I was capable of doing for a career. All I knew was that I needed to work again. Early on I was told about the BEP program, where blind individuals were trained to operate and maintain food businesses such as vending machines. Coffee shops, cafes, etc. Since I had worked in the food & beverage industry for 18 years, I thought it was an obvious match. Although I felt “Pigeon Holed” by my lack of experience in other fields, I still felt it was a good option. Throughout my training, not even related to my chosen, but rather general adaptive blind life skills. I have discovered I am capable of much more, I still plan on going through the BEP program, as it is a good fit and opportunity, but it’s nice to know I can do just about anything I want.”

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Kimberly Fetterman

“My name is Kimberly Fetterman, Hello! My story started in June of 2019 when I noticed one of my eyes felt “weird”. Within 2 months I was legally blind with LHON. LHON is an inherited rare disease.I was in the insurance industry for 18 years and didn’t want to quit. However, I decided I could no longer continue working the way I was. I played “where is Waldo” on my computer. I have been attending SAAVI for 19 months. I am becoming proficient at Braille, cane travel, computer skills and independent living all non-visually. My goal is to get back into the insurance business after completing my classes. SAAVI is where it’s at!”

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Sherry Boduo

“Hello, my name is Sherry Boduo, I am from West Africa Liberia, I started my training services at Saavi in 2015. Before I came to Saavi I was always angry, angry at my blindness. But when I started, I made friends and I saw everything we were learning and I changed. It felt like I made a new family here. By coming to Saavi I got to learn English, I completed my GED, I learned how to use a cane and how to get a job. It’s been a long process but I’ve graduated and I now work at Amazon. I must say though, my training is never over, I’m still working on my tech skills and practicing using my cane everyday so that one day I can become a teacher, but for now, I am very happy.”

Learn more about our Education, ESL, and Employment Services
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Jaime Gonzalez

Hello. My name is Jaime Gonzalez. I am a 35-year-old student at the Northern Arizona University Social Work Program in Yuma, Arizona. I will be receiving my bachelor’s degree this May 2022 and will continue to a master’s degree certification at Arizona State University’s Advanced Social Work Generalist Program. I have been living in Yuma, Arizona since 1990 and graduated from Saavi’s Comprehensive Day Program in 2019. With Saavi’s aid I will be graduating this May with a 4.0 Grade Point Average, as the most distinguished senior of the NAU Yuma branch, and as the outstanding student of the Department of Art and Sciences at NAU. Once I receive my master’s degree, I plan to work in the field of higher education as an advisor or in the fields of substance abuse and mental health.

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Jacob Risley

Hi! I’m Jacob Risley and I’m part of the Youth program. I’ve been coming to Saavi since 2015 when I was 7 years old. I started as a camper in the summer BELL Academy, then I attended their all-year-round events and kept coming back every year. When I got to middle school I was part of BELL X, that’s when I learned more about how to be a mentor to the younger campers. Now that I’m in high school I’m able to come back and help out at events that I did when I was younger. We did so many things over the years and my favorite activities were always learning how to work around the kitchen to make things with no vision and going camping up in the mountains during BELL, where we hiked and got to go fishing. When I grow up I want to be a fireman or construction worker and I think coming here helped me really learn how to advocate for myself. It feels like I’ve been coming here my whole life and I keep coming back because I know it’s something fun I want to do every year.

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Lynn Evans

My name is Lynn Evans and I’m 70 years old. I have a great life. I’ve traveled most of the world. I have a wonderful profession that has filled my spirit and hopefully helped others, of being a therapist. I love to connect and I love to serve. And finding Saavi has enabled me to continue to do those things. It has given me a vehicle, tools, skills, resources, to be able to continue the person that I feel I am and who I always wanted to be to others. Anybody who is needing a leg up and support realized, through saavi, if you connect with them, you will find independence that you never imagined that you could have. I’ve always said, “Find a Way” that’s my little slogan. Find a way, because there’s always a way. And Saavi, Saavi is thee resource, the vehicle, for me that has helped empower me and has helped me find that way.

Watch Lynn Evans Full Interview

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