KGUN 9NewsNational NewsTwo Americas


Navigating life blind: Tucson program provides hope and opportunity

SAAVI Services for the Blind
Posted at 7:05 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-06 16:45:20-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 29-year-old Rogelio Garcia dreams of going to college, getting a job and being independent.

"Two years ago I found out I had glaucoma. I was losing my eyesight. I was completely blind in one eye," said Garcia.

Doctors told Garcia he would eventually go completely blind, but a unique program has provided him with hope ever since.

"We provide comprehensive services to people who are blind. The purpose of the program is to provide people with the tools and techniques to go and live the lives that they want," said SAAVI Services for the Blind Chief Operations Officer, Amy Porterfield.

SAAVI Services for the Blind has been in Tucson since 1964. Their programs transform the lives of nearly 2,000 blind people in Arizona each year.

"There are thousands of blind people living in Arizona and Tucson. We want to make sure that nobody is hindered by what they believe they cannot do," said Porterfield.

Exercising, cooking, reading, writing and using technology are all skills their students now know how to do. Thanks to generous donors and grants, the program is free.

"Those skills will let me do what other people do, but I'll do it my way," said Garcia.

Garcia is making progress every day. He is living proof that blindness is not a barrier.

"We are just like you. We just have a cane," said Garcia.