When asked how Lighthouse Guild has impacted her life, Shanell Matos shares, “Who I am today is not who I was before I lost my vision. And that’s entirely thanks to the hard work of everyone at Lighthouse Guild. Some of the pieces I’ve lost I’ve managed to regain. But, I’ve also gained new ones. Sure, I’ve lost some as well, but I don’t miss them the way I thought I would. I have learned to find peace with who I have become through this metamorphosis of blindness.”
She had always been visually impaired but had so much usable vision it typically did not affect her very much. For the most part, she says, “it just meant I wasn’t going to be able to drive, and occasionally it took me a little longer to notice things. I was told at a very early age I would eventually go blind. But, like most young people, I believed I had more than enough time ahead of me. And, if I’m being honest, I prioritized other life difficulties ahead of future eventualities.”
However, by January 2016, her vision was gone. Shanell says “I went from being able to see nearly everything to seeing only light.” One day in a desperate attempt to make a change, she started googling low vision resources in New York City. Completely by accident, she clicked on something and that led her to Lighthouse Guild. “That was the single best thing to ever happen to me. I got set up with Lighthouse Guild’s Vision Rehabilitation services,” she says. Shanell is now a stay at home mom and is working towards learning the skills needed to go back to school and finish her degree in psychology.