Rebecca Bridges juggles multiple roles: she is a professional, a wife and mother. Her husband, Eric, is the Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind. She speaks to us about how ACB is making a real impact on the everyday lives of American families.
After a long day at work, Rebecca Bridges enjoys watching TV with her family. “Some of our favorite shows are Modern Family and Blue Bloods,” she said. Although she can’t see what’s on the screen, the action is described audibly, thanks to the work of the American Council of the Blind. With the passage of new telecommunications legislation, she explained, “even more programs are required to be audio described, and all cable companies must provide equipment that makes it possible for people like me to access the menus and guides, and the DVR.” That’s great news for individuals with visual impairments.
And it’s great news for families. Rebecca watches Daniel Tiger in the morning with her 2-year-old son, Tyler. “In-between the dialog a voice says, ‘Daniel looks at us!’ ‘Daniel imagines and remembers!’ It’s a more enjoyable experience when I can follow the action.”
But that’s only one of the many ways ACB has figured prominently in Rebecca’s life. Growing up, when she transferred from a school for the blind to a public school, she learned a lot about the work that still needs to be done to support students who are blind. “I finally went to my parents and said, ‘I’m not getting the books I need in braille. This school won’t let me participate in sports. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ I felt like I was fighting my own battles at age 12. I planned to go to college and I didn’t want to waste my time or fall behind.”
“The experiences you have in life shape you, but they don’t have to define you,” she continued. “We have choices in life — how we carry ourselves, how we react to situations we find ourselves in.” In her case, those early experiences made her want to change the world for people who are blind or visually impaired.
She joined the ACB affiliate in Indiana, and attended ACB conventions. She was inspired by the speakers, and impressed by the advocacy work and resources available. She interned at the national office in Washington, D.C., and received an educational scholarship.
“ACB was life-changing for me. I saw first-hand how the organization really helps people. I made so many lasting friendships. Those led me to opportunities that matched my interests. At ACB, I honed my skills and built my resume. And that’s also where I met my husband…”
After getting her master’s degree, she began working as a consultant in organizational development. “I want to help businesses transform, and you do that through their people. I work every day with government leaders and executives. And though I’m not working with people who are blind, my membership in ACB allows me to address problems I feel passionate about.”
One of those problems is changing the way people view blindness. “People are living longer, and more and more people are going to be dealing with losing their vision. I want them to know they don’t have to fear vision loss; they just need to adjust to it. There is life beyond losing your vision!”
Passionate advocate, successful businesswoman, capable wife and loving mother, Rebecca Bridges models that truth every day.