Employees of the Year
With These Hands
Hands are an integral part of the work-life of the blind and vision impaired. Get to know our employees and learn how the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind & Vision Impaired has affected their lives.
Name of Employee: Melissa Padron Job Title: Blind Children’s Program Coordinator
Melissa was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas.
Needless to say, growing up with Albinism in a predominantly Hispanic part of town had its own challenges. Early on in her life, the teasing and harassment from other kids made it hard for her to accept her blindness. However, spending some time at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin changed her perspective. Here she learned how to get around with a cane, read Braille and accept her blindness. This empowered her to graduate from Harlandale High School in the top ten percent of her class.
After high school, Melissa was accepted to Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology she learned how to be fully independent. She joined the student organization Insightful Connections, where she did community presentations and became an advocate for the visually impaired. In her senior year, she was the president of the organization.
In December of 2012, over New Years, Melissa flew out San Rafael, California to meet, Cameo, her guide dog in training at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Cameo is a beautiful companion who has her led her through many “interesting” experiences. The duo has been together for four years. As a matter of fact, Cameo is also a fighting Texas Aggie. She walked the stage with Melissa during graduation in her own cap and gown.
After college, Melissa went to work at the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living in Bryan, TX as an Independent Living Facilitator. She returned home to work on her teaching certification and to help visually impaired children. In September of 2014, she came to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind to apply for volunteer work. She was immediately offered a position in the children’s program. In the children’s program she:
- has helped increase student/parent participation with the children’s program
- creates all of the fliers for events
- has been the main instructor for technology camp and cooking camp as well as assisting in all the other camps presented
- participates in evening and weekend events
- keeps track of grants and expenditures
- is an exceptional role model and advocate for visually impaired people in everyday life
- is a source of inspiration for families with Albinism
Nominee: Roberta Perales Position: Machine Operator
Employee of the Year – Peter J. Salmon Award
She’s been a fighter since she came into this world prematurely at 2lbs 10oz. That same spirit helped her to graduate from John Jay High School in 1984.
After high school, Roberta worked as a Teacher’s Assistant for several local elementary schools and she also ran her own daycare facility. Her passion has always been to work and care for children but with her eventual vision loss, it wasn’t possible.
In 2007, Roberta came to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind. She had an immediate and positive impact on her supervisors and co-workers alike. She accepts tasks and work duties with a smile on her face, never complains and gets along well with everybody.
In her spare time, Roberta sings in the SALB Choir, likes to crochet, loves to dance and walks various 5K events. She is always up for a good challenge and enjoys learning new things.