Joey DelVecchio, a graduate of the Lighthouse Child Development Center, didn’t allow ocular albinism to deter his dreams.
Joey DelVecchio has made a habit of defying the odds. When Joey was born with ocular albinism, an inherited condition that results in reduced visual acuity, he was told by one of his doctors that he would always be partially blind. That didn’t stop the DelVecchio family from encouraging their son to live a full life. “They never told me I couldn’t do something,” Joey says. “They treated me as normal as possible. I think that prepared me for life.”
Above: Joey DelVecchio speaking at the 2010 CDC Graduation
Lighthouse International was also there to help. In 1987, Joey graduated from the Lighthouse Child Development Center, which helps visually impaired children learn alongside their sighted peers. This experience helped prepare Joey for public school. Unfortunately, not everyone believed Joey was ready to be mainstreamed. The principal at his school did not want a disabled child in her classroom. “She fought us every step of the way,” he says.
Through his mother’s persistence, Joey enrolled in the school and excelled as a student. With a stellar academic record, he even won over his biggest detractor – his principal. “I can’t count the number of times she apologized to me,” he says.
Since his formative years, Joey hasn’t stopped flourishing. In 2004, he graduated from Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Currently, he is completing his graduate degree at Fordham in elections and campaign management with the hopes of pursing a career in New York City politics. “My dream is to be mayor,” he says.
From an early age, Joey DelVecchio has met many challenges. His hard work stands as an inspiration for anyone with a visual impairment. There will be those who say his goal of being mayor is too ambitious. Don’t bet against him, though. His accomplishments have taught us to never doubt his desire to succeed.
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