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Hadley learning helps Donna Brooker better serve visually impaired clients

Clarice Cocco

Donna Brooker's career in the visual impairment field started after she married her husband, Jim, in 2017. The couple lives in Naples, FL and Donna would frequently accompany Jim, who is legally blind, when he used services at the Lighthouse of Collier. Donna started volunteering at the Lighthouse as a yoga teacher and then jumped at the opportunity to join the staff to teach Recreation and Leisure classes.

Donna has a background in physical and occupational therapy and certifications in swimming instruction and hydrotherapy, which she has applied throughout her career to teach and help people with a range of serious injuries and conditions. Once starting at the Lighthouse, she wanted to learn more about vision loss in order to best support her clients. She searched online for resources and found Hadley.

"Thanks to Hadley and its abundance of information, I was able to study and learn as much as I possibly could. I am doing my best to ingest any and every morsel of knowledge from the Hadley site. I listen to the podcasts, read articles and watch technical videos,” she says. This learning has been very valuable to Donna and her clients. “Working at the Lighthouse of Collier, I am much more confident," and she shares, "Now, when I listen to people’s stories, I have a deeper understanding."

Hadley's distance learning model works well for Donna. She likes the convenience of being able to study at her own pace, at any hour of the day—and appreciates the support of Hadley’s learning experts. She is also sharing her love for Hadley with others, “I always refer my clients to your site. It’s not enough that I teach them to use their talking book, on campus. Clients need to practice and explore on their own. Hadley’s site is the perfect source of knowledge, easy to understand and navigate. I recommend it to everyone.”

Hadley has been a valuable resource for Donna but she credits her husband as her “greatest teacher,” expressing, “Every day is a blessing with him. I observe how he deals, manages and succeeds with his extremely low vision. If we stumble on to a challenge, we find a way to resolve it together.” An extremely active couple they are “constantly on the move, trying our best to make people smile.” Jim is a gifted guitar player and they perform for a variety of audiences, and they also love riding their tandem trike and kayaking. In addition, they volunteer for several organizations and will soon be raising a puppy for the Southeastern Guide Dogs, the birthplace of Jim’s guide dog, Keebler.

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