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For parents whose children are affected by vision loss, the road ahead can be frightening or impossible to envision. Christina, a longtime CVI mom, remembers these concerns all too well. Eleven years ago, her daughter, Ayanna, was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. “As a young, single mother, hearing a diagnosis about your first and only child is a terrifying moment,” she recalls. For the care and resources that her family needed, Christina turned to CVI’s Early Childhood Services.

The support that she and her daughter received from the program’s teachers, counselors, and fellow parents helped alleviate her fears, and allowed her to develop a sense of confidence and community. “The people at CVI were there every step of the way,” she says. “They gave me the information I needed to raise a child with a visual impairment. They gave me the support of other parents and professionals to hold my hand along the way as I lead my child. I do not know where I would be as a mom without them.”

Over a decade later, Christina and Ayanna are still a part of the CVI community. Ayanna returned to CVI in 2019 to join our Youth Services Program, where she takes part in debate classes, self-advocacy training, yoga, and summer camp, among other activities. Christina is proud to see how her daughter has thrived through her participation in the program. “The Youth Services Program gave Ayanna a sense of belonging,” Christina says. “She has blossomed in her friendships and has become an advocate in her school for inclusion and compassion.”

Christina credits CVI with giving her and Ayanna both the confidence to succeed on this journey. From her initial fear of the diagnosis to her joy in watching Ayanna learn and grow, Christina is thankful she could turn to CVI for guidance and support. “I could not imagine our world without CVI,” Christina says. “They gave me the tools to be a more confident and prepared parent. Their programs change lives.”

To learn more about the Youth Services Program, visit https://cviga.org/stars-youth-services/ or email Greg Aikens at gaikens@cviga.org.

You can lift up more incredible moms like Christina and ensure Mothers raising families while living with vision loss receive the vital services they need with a gift to CVI’s Mother’s Day Campaign. Your gift will give these women hope while honoring your mom and the impact of all Mothers. To make your Mother’s Day gift, click here. Thank you!