When you watch 4-year-old Oliver Clark negotiate the halls of the Foundation for Blind Children, you are truly watching a miracle. The Phoenix boy has come a long way from the crib in China where his forever family found him two years ago.
Born with albinism, he has no pigment anywhere, including his eyes, which is why he’s visually impaired.
The Foundation for Blind Children is taking care of more children than ever in its new, modern Phoenix facility with circular windows and bright colors. This where Oliver now spends his mornings.
Oliver’s mom Indi Clark can’t get over his progress. “He came from a severely neglectful orphanage, so I don’t think he’d ever really seen the outside of his crib.”
When he started school, Oliver would simply stand in a corner. Today the white-haired boy wearing tiny sunglasses runs through the halls with his white cane and a joyful smile. It’s been a long road, but Clark explains, “He looks forward to coming here in the morning. He will actually say the words — for as few words as he uses, he says, “Go school!” And he’s happy here.”
There are many success stories at the Foundation for Blind Children, which the nonprofit Board of Visitors has chosen to support this year and next through its annual Care Card program. The cards provide shoppers a 20 percent discount at hundreds of Valley shops and restaurants from Oct. 20-29. As Arizona’s oldest women’s charitable organization, the Board of Visitors works to serve the healthcare needs of women, children and the elderly.
Care Card proceeds will buy blind children their first white canes and pay for many of the services the Foundation for Blind Children provides. Alexis Dion, strategic educational advisor at FBC, explains what the support means.
“We can focus on where we are experts, where we are skilled, and we don’t have to worry about how it’s all supposed to come together,” Dion says. “So, when the community supports us this way (through the Care Card sales) and through other fundraisers we do, it just lets us be free to do what we do well.”
Oliver’s mother agrees. “I think as people are supporting FBC through those Care Cards, they’re supporting so many more children,” Clark says. “It just opens up the world for them. It supports all these children that potentially don’t have the resources that the FBC provides.”
How to get a Care Card
To purchase a $60 Care Card, visit boardofvisitors.org/care-card/ or seeitourway.org/carecard or buy the card at select participating businesses. Cardholders get a 20 percent discount at more than 500 restaurants and retailers on Oct. 20-29.
Participating shops and restaurants include: Kidstop Toys, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, The Container Store, West Elm, Joyride Taco House, Sauce Pizza and Wine, Zinburger, Federal Pizza, Pita Jungle, Postino Winecafe, Shake Shack and more.