What to Know
- With hard work, Jacko got the job as executive director and surpassed it – not allowing limits to define her or anybody else.
The sense of touch is vivid for some of the blind or visually impaired students at Miami’s Lighthouse for the Blind, where CEO Virginia Jacko drops in with her guide dog Eva to visit.
“I conceived the idea to have a fully inclusive pre-k in which today we have 60 children, half are role model sighted children and half are blind,” said Jacko.
Empathy found all throughout the hallways, where adults can also benefit from various services and programs connecting through creativity.
In 14 years running the nonprofit organization, Jacko is credited with growing its membership from 500 people to more than 23,000 people. But she began as a client and volunteer who happened to have previous experience as a financial officer at a top university.
“As I walked around as a client, I said to myself if only they ran this place like a university it could be so much,” she told NBC 6’s Arlene Borenstein. “I learned they didn’t have grant proposals to speak of.”
When an opportunity came along, there was some doubt in her ability.
“The executive director for 24 years, who was a totally sighted man, was retiring when I said to someone I was going to apply for his job, I’m going to put my name in and that person said ‘Oh Virginia you forgot you are totally blind,” she said.
With hard work, Jacko got the job as executive director and surpassed it – not allowing limits to define her or anybody else.
“I believe if people focused on how we are similar rather than how we are different, there is a common bond with everyone and it will be a better society if we focused on inclusion and if we look at the best in everyone,” Jacko said.