Blind Abilities Teen correspondent Simon Bonenfant sat down with Daria Zawadzki during his recent visit to New York City. Daria works for the Lighthouse Guildand facilitates Tele-Support Groups for Blind and Visually Impaired teens and parents of teens as well. And you can find out more about the Tele-Support on the web.
Daria talks about her` experiences as a Blind student, mother and her acceptance of her blindness and most of all, her passion facilitating the Telesupport group for teens who happened to be blind.
Daria Zawadzki attended New World High School of the Arts in Miami, FL, as a piano major, and then went on to receive her BA from Harvard University, graduating cum laude with a degree in Psychology in 1996. She completed her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1998, and is a licensed clinical social worker. In addition, Daria graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 2001, and is licensed to practice law in the state of NY. She was an elementary school counselor for many years and has been running support groups for the Lighthouse Guild for over a decade. She is a mother to two teenagers, ages 13 (Jack Milo) and 15 (Dune Rose), and married to her college sweetheart, Joe Zawadzki, a pioneer in the ad tech industry and Founder/CEO of “MediaMath.”
In 1992 at the age of 17 Daria was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare, recessive, progressive disease of the retina that leads to blindness. Two of her three siblings were also diagnosed, despite no family history or knowledge about the disease. Daria’s family founded Hope for Vision, which raised millions of dollars for medical and scientific research for over 25 years. Hope for Vision was made up of family, friends, and colleagues who tirelessly volunteered their time, and poured their hearts into helping the Lidsky family, and many others affected by these blinding diseases. Hope for Vision was recently wound down, but Daria and her family remain very active in funding ground breaking medical research that will one day lead to treatments and cures for many blinding diseases.
Join Daria and Simon in this interview that is packed with a lifetime of experiences family and friends and learn how gratitude along with friendship has made her success possible.
You may feel like your vision loss or blindness will make your adjustment to an independent life difficult. But teenagers all over the country have gone through that same adjustment successfully, and we can help you connect with them. You will have the opportunity to talk about common social, emotional, academic and practical concerns related to having vision loss.
Our free teen support network is for high school students in grades 10, 11 and 12 who have vision loss. Every week the group meets by phone to share experiences and ask questions.
You can remain anonymous, just listen, or share things you’ve learned that may help others. The choice is yours. Enroll in our Teen Tele-Support group
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, the Job Insights Support Groupand the Assistive Technology Community for the Blind and Visually Impaired.