Meet Mariela Mendez | Envision Stories

Meet Mariela Mendez

At age 11, Mariela lost her sight from an auto accident that permanently damaged her optic nerve. For the next 15 days, she was in intensive care and wasn’t expected to walk again. Mariela fought to regain her mobility and sought out ways to be independent without relying on her eyesight. As a teenager, she joined a summer program at Envision Dallas to help her advance her independent living skills and make new friends who could relate to her vision loss.

A few years later, as an adult and mother of two, Mariela turned to Envision Dallas again, this time for professional development skills through our assistive technology (AT) training. AT classes focus on preparing people who are blind or visually impaired for successful careers by teaching them how to use screen reading programs on the computer, various mobile applications and more.

As a native Spanish speaker, Mariela was pleased to learn the services’ team includes two bilingual instructors, Al Rodriguez and Amando Ortiz. To this day, Al and Amando work with Mariela often and are thrilled with her progress. “We accomplished something unique for the first time with Mariela; Amando and I were able to expand the use of JAWS (text-to-speech software) in Spanish,” Al said. “Now Mariela can listen to JAWS in English or Spanish. She is doing fantastic.”

Eventually, Mariela became interested in working at Envision Dallas and has been a sewing machine operator in the manufacturing department for the last two years. Mariela is grateful for the lifelong support from Envision Dallas. 

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Mariela at the sewing machine at Envision Dallas

“I know that I will accomplish more in life with the knowledge I’ve gained through assistive technology training and my employment with Envision Dallas.” 

- Mariela Mendez

Mariela and Al in the assistive technology at envision dallas