Mid-South Heroes: Woman teaches the blind and visually impaired in Memphis

Updated: May. 30, 2019 at 4:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This month’s Mid-South Hero is more than a mom and teacher. Stephanie Jones is a guiding light for the blind and visually impaired in Memphis.

In 2006, Jones' life changed forever.

“After the birth of my third child, when she was eight weeks old, I lost my sight,” said Jones.

A condition Jones has had since she was a teenager reared its ugly head.

“It took a couple of trips to the doctor. By the time they realized what happened, it was just too late for my eyes. My optic nerves had been crushed,” said Jones.

For months, Jones searched for resources for the blind and visually impaired.

It would take a wrong number in the phone book to lead her to Clovernook.

“And I found a company called Blind USA and I called. I figured this is where all the blind and visually impaired people are in Memphis. And the lady was so sweet and she told me that they were a window treatment company, but she said I have the number for the rehab facility here in Memphis and that's how I got connected to Clovernook,” said Jones.

Clovernook works with men, women and children who have suffered vision loss at some point in life. It would also become Jones' saving grace.

“Learned how to get my life back. Learned how to be independent. How to be productive as a blind and visually impaired adult,” said Jones.

After adjusting to her new normal, Jones wanted to teach others with visual impairments how to lead a life of independence as well.

“For me, it's important to empower others like myself. I don't want anybody sitting on their couch for three months, losing their mind like I did,” said Jones.

Students like Susan Hiller.

“Her number one character trait is she is patient. I mean patient,” said Hiller.

Jones teaches her students how to read braille, walk with a cane and navigate their physical and digital spaces using Apple Technology.

Her teachings reached beyond the doors of Clovernook on April 19, with Memphis' first public Easter Egg Hunt for the blind and visually impaired.

“We partnered with the Shelby county bomb squad and they made eggs that beeped so that the blind and visually impaired could find the eggs,” said Jones.

It's projects like these that make Clovernook Program director Lynn Tune proud to have Jones on her team.

“The people that she touches everyday know that she's a special person and a special inspiration in their lives,” said Tune.

Stephanie Jones, thanks to your mission to empower the blind and visually impaired, you are this month’s Mid-South Hero.

“She deserves it. She does so much for us,” said Hiller.

If you know someone deserving of Mid-South Hero, nominate them here.

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