Erin Fernandes spent nine years as a fundraiser for major nonprofit organizations until a stroke left her legally blind.
Three years later Erin, 34, can see and read a little, but typing is slow because she has difficulty targeting letters on the keyboard. With Easter Seals at her side, though, this very determined woman is learning new ways to use her computer and is on the way to reaching her goals – getting back to work and public speaking on how to overcome obstacles.
Easter Seals Assistive Technology Specialist Jean Des Roches has been working with Erin at her home in New Bedford.
With Jean’s assistance, Erin has been learning to use voice recognition software that gives her voice control over her computer. She’s about to tackle other software that will read whatever appears on her screen.
These tools are helping Erin live an active social life and build her skills for future employment.
To thank Easter Seals, Erin joined the Walk With Me event in Bridgewater and has offered to lend a hand at other fundraising events. Being a Walk participant was a unique experience for her.
“I was on the other side,” she said. “Usually [as a fundraiser] I’m the one giving out the awards and cheering people on.”
“I’m so impressed with Easter Seals. And Jean is great. She’s such a good person,” Erin added. “I had heard about Easter Seals when I was a fundraiser but I didn’t know about all the things Easter Seals does to help people rejoin the workforce.”