Getting Ready for the Future
Eugene Soyfer is working toward opening his own business as most people his age are thinking about retiring. But until he found Bosma, he had no idea working again was even a possibility.
Eugene was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age 40 after a routine trip to the eye doctor ended up with the life-changing diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa. "I really had no idea how serious it was. They told me nothing could be done to fix it and my vision would continue to get worse, but I refused to believe it,” Eugene said.
He continued to work over the next 20 years, even though his peripheral vision was steadily diminishing. In his job as a conveyor technician at a recycling center, he began to realize he was not only a hazard to himself but also to others on his team. He was frustrated and angry but knew it was time to leave.
Shortly afterward, he saw a specialist who told him he was legally blind.
“I didn’t know what to do next. I went on disability but couldn’t stand sitting around all the time. My wife, who is a nurse practitioner, told me I should go see a vocational therapist and try to find a way I could work again. That’s where I learned about Bosma,” he explained.
At age 64, Eugene began Bosma’s in-home, Community Based program and then moved into the four-month, onsite Rehabilitation Program. "From the beginning, they were teaching me how to survive when you have a visual limitation. They supported me when I told them I wanted to get a job and be like a 'normal' person again," he said.
He learned about assistive apps on his phone and computer, orientation and mobility, personal management, and techniques for operating safely in his kitchen and home – all things he thought he would never be able to do again.
“Eugene has such a positive energy. He is always excited about new technology and talking about his future. I know he will be successful no matter what he does. He is focused on working his way back to an independent lifestyle,” said Bosma counselor Connie Michaels.
Eugene’s goal is to get back to work. He recently tested for Bosma’s Business Enterprise Program and is hoping to be accepted and learn how to run his own small business through the Randolph-Sheppard Act, which provides people who are blind with access to rewarding and profitable entrepreneurial ventures.
“I know my vision is getting worse and I could lose it all any day. But with Bosma’s help, I’m excited for the future and all the possibilities it holds!” he said.
Bosma’s always thinking about your future and how to make it better.
- Eugene Soyfer