MIAMI – In spirit of the holiday season, Miami Dolphins player TJ McDonald, staff and FOOTBALL UNITES™ community partners visited the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind to deliver four wearable artificial intelligence devices to selected recipients on Monday, Nov. 26. Purchased by the Israeli Consulate in Miami, the OrCam Technologies are designed to improve the lives of individuals who are blind, visually impaired and have reading difficulties.
"These OrCam devices help these children who are having trouble seeing, it helps them read, helps them recognize faces and it will help level the playing field for them," Miami Dolphins Safety TJ McDonald said. "Talking to them, they all had similar interests as me growing up. I think that it will be able to eliminate some of the challenges they might have and be able to keep pushing forward and achieve their goals. It feels awesome, it's exciting to be able to see the looks on their faces it definitely makes me feel good and I am excited for their futures."
"Because of the Miami Dolphins and Israeli Consulate in Miami, Miami Lighthouse is having a transformational day for our blind and visually impaired students who can succeed successfully academically because of the OrCam device," President and CEO of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Virginia Jacko added.
The individuals selected to receive the artificial intelligence devices include:
· Emily Bejerano – A freshman at Coral Park High School who wants to become a teacher for the visually impaired when she grows up. She has hearing and visual impairments. Emily enjoys dancing in her spare time and is currently learning braille.
· Diandre Incera – A student in his last year at Fienberg Fisher K-8 center middle school and is blind. His goal is to become a lawyer. In his free time, Diandre likes to study law and even knows all the bill of rights by heart.
· Marnel Jean – A senior at Michael Krop Senior High School who would like to pursue a law degree. He plays the trombone and is part of the Miami Youth Orchestra. He comes from a single parent home.
· Sebastian Torres – A transgendered client who lost his vision due to diabetic retinopathy. He is a trained cello player and wants to pursue music training once he competes his rehabilitation.
"I was shocked when I first heard that I am going to get an OrCam," Incera said. "I feel like it's an honor. I think it is going to help me pursue my career in law because if there is an assignment or a test that I need to take I think this OrCam is going to be extremely useful. I thank the Dolphins and everyone involved. I thank them for being here and for giving us this gift because it is honestly one of the best gifts I've ever received. It is literally life changing."
"We want to help level the playing field for these students so that they may have just as much of an opportunity not only in the classroom but in life," Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs Jason Jenkins said. "Our goal with FOOTBALL UNITES™ is to be inclusive and aware of the diversity that make up South Florida by uniting groups of different races, genders, sexual orientations, identities
and disabilities through power of football and I think we did that here today."