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Mary Willows
Fremont, California

August 27, 2009

Dear President Obama:

When I was thirteen years old, I was asked to watch a second-grade class room while the teacher was out of the room. I loved the experience of being a teacher; I knew that education would be my goal when I got to college. While I was in high school, I was involved in a horrific automobile accident. As a result I became totally blind. Catholic Charities in Chicago sent a home teacher to my house while I was recovering to teach me Braille. However, I had no role models to show me the value of being able to read and write Braille.

When I entered college, the reality hit me. If I could not read or write, I could not be a teacher. I floundered around for a couple of years before I met members of the National Federation of the Blind. They were all different in personality, education, occupation, and race. They all had one thing in common--they could read and write Braille. So I knew what I had to do to become competitive and employable. I read Braille every day and learned to use a note-taking device called a slate and stylus.

Braille has made it possible for me to finish college with a master’s degree and two teaching credentials. Today I am a teacher, which has fulfilled my dream. Now I take every opportunity possible to pass along the gift I have been given with Braille. Please help us to teach blind children how to read and write Braille so they can be successful too.

Mary Willows