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

In 2019, I moved to Merced with my retired husband Bill, and our younger son Gavin. Our older son Lucas lives in NYC. We have a Russian land tortoise named Gilbert. She loves to roam the yard in the hot weather.

A retired RN, I worked in Oncology, Hospice, Labor & Delivery, NICU, PAR and Outpatient Surgery for over twenty years.

We were foster parents for nine medically fragile infants, and ended up adopting one of them, Gavin!

Twice I’ve survived breast cancer, in 2005 & 2017. I crochet two hours a day to keep the lymphedema in my right arm under control. (Think of me for all your crochet needs)!

In 2020, I had three corneal transplants done at UCSF, 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 well.

 

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!

 

Osvaldo – Assistive Technology

Osvaldo Martinez was born on April 26th 2000. His eye condition is unknown. Osvaldo was brought to the United States when he was one year old. He grew up in Merced California. For most of his childhood Osvaldo went to public schools. It was not until the first grade that he started to learn Braille. Braille began to become a big part of Osvaldo’s life. With it he could read and write, and complete tasks just like the normal sighted students could. It did take him a bit longer, However.

Osvaldo developed a passion for reading and writing, and won many reading awards in his elementary school days. When he attended middle school, he was introduced to Jaws. A computer screen reader. With this new skill he was able to start using the computer. Jaws also became a big part of Osvaldo’s life. Allowing him to complete online tasks, such as research papers.

In high school he continued to hone his skills in Jaws. Osvaldo graduated high school in 2019. By that time, he had lost the rest of his vision. Determined, Osvaldo continued his education in Merced college. He was then offered a Job at the Center of Vision Enhancement. There he began to teach clients his skills in Braille and Jaws. He also did a little bit of office assistance to his coworkers. Osvaldo currently still works there, and he enjoys it very much. Helping people is what he love to do most.

 

 

 


Center of Vision Enhancement
1901 G Street
Merced, CA 95340

209-722-8118

email:
info@covemerced.org

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Mon - Fri:  9am - 3pm
For additional hours please call:
209-722-8118

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