Resource Center for Blindness & Low Vision
“We may lack sight, but we have vision.”

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STAFF

Margaret - Executive Director

A native Californian, Margaret was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from the University of California, Riverside. Margaret attained her Teaching credential at San José State University. She attained her Master’s Degree in Teacher Education as a Fellow at Sacramento State University. She later attained her Administrative Credential at Fresno-Pacific University.

In 1999, an unknown disease caused Margaret to loose most of her eyesight. She then became involved with the local blindness community. In 2007, Margaret was a founding Member of Center of Vision Enhancement (COVE) and later became the Executive Director. Prior to becoming involved with COVE, Margaret was and educator, teacher trainer, and administrator in Merced County Schools. Her prior experience as a Project Director has served her well in her current position at COVE where those with vision loss can learn to maintain a fulfilling and independent lifestyle.

 

Dana – Assistive Technology Trainer

Growing up in the Bay Area, Dana was exposed to cutting edge technology from an early age. With the aid of high-tech computer software and magnification and talking devices, she had little trouble keeping up with academics, hobbies, and work.

Dana became a client of COVE when she moved to the central valley and discovered that the economics were rather different from the Bay Area. She had a difficult time finding work in her field of expertise, but with the assistance of COVE and DOR, she was able to attend college and discover another career path. Dana began working at COVE in 2018. She enjoys teaching clients to use assistive technology to improve and enrich their lives.

 

Allen – Assistive Technology Trainer

I am an assistive technology specialist amongst other things with in COVE. I was introduced to COVE in 2009 by a strong supporter of COVE and their beliefs. One of my favourite things to experience is a happy client who returns with a smile on their face because my classes made a positive impact in that person’s life.

Some of the technology that I train includes, Jaws For Windows, Microsoft office products, typing, iPhone training with Voice Over, orientation of the Victor Reader, along with other useful devices, programs, and apps that help the visually impaired to accomplish daily tasks independently.

I am originally from South Carolina. One of the reasons I moved to this community was due to the more abundant opportunities for a fuller independent life. My wife and I enjoy the accessibility to transportation so we can take our three children to family gatherings, as well as community events. Some of my hobbies include, being a ham radio operator, listening to music, and learning and testing new technology, also Reading books. My eye condition is unknown. I have ben blind sense birth.

 

Seema – Orientation and Mobility Trainer

I have credential for visually Impaired and also Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I have completed my Masters in visual Impairment from San Francisco State University, I have 14 years’ experience in special Education field. I have done my student teaching in Orientation Center for the Blind and this has really helped me to work with blind and visually impaired adults.

 

Liliana – Independent Living Skills Trainer

I was born In Portugal, Azores on the island of Terceira. I came to America when I was 3 years old with my parents. I was wearing glasses by the age of 6 months and my parents came to America to see what can be done for my eyesight. I have struggled through school knowing my eyesight was bad enough that I would never be able to drive. Despite this I learned to adapt with what vision I did have and reached out for resources. The Department of Rehabilitation connected me to C.O.V.E. in which I was a client and took classes as well as continuing my education at Merced college where I obtained my Associates degree in Psychology and Behavioral Science. Throughout the training I received I was diagnosed with Ocular Albinism. The retina in the back of my eye lacks pigmentation which makes my eyes sensitive to sunlight. I also have Nystagmus and Astigmatism meaning it takes my eyes a while to adjust to things and I am not able to see fine detail due to my extreme nearsightedness. I see 20/80 as of now with the best corrected vision. I am now pursuing my Bachelors in Psychology at Stanislaus State University. Despite my visual challenges I do not let that get me down. I use public transportation and love to travel when I get the chance. I am now an employee at C.O.V.E. and look forward to helping individuals gain independent living skills so they can feel more confident and know that they are not alone as well as have the skills necessary to live a more independent life despite their vision loss.

 

Cynthia – Office Assistant

I moved to Merced in 2019, with my retired husband Bill, and our son Gavin. Our older son, Lucas, lives in Brooklyn NY. He's a cartoonist and works at publishing comics with NYRC. We have a Russian land tortoise, Gilbert. She loves roaming the yard in warm weather. Monterey was too cold for her, and me!

I'm a retired RN, I've worked in Oncology, Hospice, Labor & Delivery, NICU, PAR, Outpatient Surgery.

I was a foster parent for nine medically fragile infants, ending up adopting one of them (Gavin is 22 now).

I am a two-time breast cancer survivor, 2005 & 2017, two different cancers. I crochet two hours a day to keep the lymphedema in my right arm and hand under control. (Think of me for all your crochet needs)!

I had three corneal transplants done at UCSF this year, for Fuchs Dystrophy. I was losing sight rapidly, and was about to lose my driver's license. I am profoundly grateful that both eyes are now doing very well.

 

Diana – Office Assistant

I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I came to California after graduating High School.

I am retired after working 20 years for Merced County Office of Education. My Skills range from maintaining Benefits packages, Payroll, PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) and knowledge of many different computer programs.

I have a passion for people with Special Needs, I love to cook, I love to travel, and I love being out in Nature.

 

Gayle – Independent Living Skills Trainer

I have attended Merced Junior College and Fresno State University majoring in Early Childhood Education and Animal Science. I was a teacher for about twelve years as swell as holding other positions in the education field. I am also a Certified Yoga Instructor receiving my 200 hours training through YogaFit.

My visual impairment was diagnosed at an early age and progressively brought me to the point of a visual acuity of 20/400. Through my training at COVE I have been introduced to new skills and technology that enable me to meet the challenges of vision loss.

I have worked for COVE for approximately 8 years. I provide Independent Living Skills training through the Department of Rehabilitation program and the Older Individuals Who Are Blind program. Through COVE I also provide a yoga class for blind and visually impaired persons.

 

Sonja - PVSA Trainer COVE

Sonja helps guide clients to see their own potential by teaching them how to help themselves. She holds an Associate of Science in Computers and Networking from Merced Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Management from Grand Canyon University, and she is working on her Master's Degree in Education.

Sonja teaches at both Merced College in the Business division in the administrative office management and virtual office courses, and she also teaches at MCOE as a special education teacher. She is contracted through UC Merced’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) as a social media marketing consultant for local small businesses. Finally, Sonja is the Personal, Vocational, and Social Adjustment (PVSA) trainer here at COVE!

 

 

 


Center of Vision Enhancement
1901 G Street
Merced, CA 95340

209-722-8118

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Hours:

Mon - Fri
9am - 3pm

For additional hours please call:
209-722-8118

email:
cove4u@gmail.com

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