Q. What is your professional or volunteer job and what’s your favorite part of it?
A. I am the executive director of the Lighthouse of Broward. We teach people who are blind or visually impaired the skills they need to live more independently. My involvement in this field has always made me happy because of the life-changing results I witness. People who relied on vision for a whole lifetime come to the Lighthouse and learn how to manage at home, cross the street and do a whole host of other every day activities – without normal sight.
Q. Who has had the greatest impact on your life and/or career?
A. A woman I met in 1975 when she was in her late 60s. She was deaf and blind and had moved to a small single room efficiency in Miami Beach. I was supposed to teach her safe travel skills using the long cane. She taught me by her example of spirit, determination, the power of laughter and preserving dignity under very difficult circumstances. Her personal story is very powerful. She lived to be 93.
Q. Most rewarding aspect of a volunteer?
A. A volunteer does things purely for the love of doing them. At the Lighthouse, volunteers show people who are newly visually impaired that they are important and that their hard work to learn new ways of doing everything is worth it. Our volunteers are such a wonderful and credible source of support for our clients because they know the volunteer is there just for them, not for a paycheck.
Q. What makes a lasting impression?
A. Simple sincerity.
Q. Favorite community groups and charities?
A. In addition to the Lighthouse of Broward, of course, my favorite community group is the South Middle River Community Association where I live. And Why? My east Fort Lauderdale neighborhood is very diverse. It also is the friendliest neighborhood I have ever experienced. I just moved there a few months ago.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. I am proud of the things my parents taught me.
Q. Most fun at a charity event?
A. I have discovered the fun of live auctions. We have an art auction in February, where the bidding is very exciting.
Q. What makes county special?
A. Broward County leaders have demonstrated a commitment to diversity, which also means valuing access for all to our beautiful community resources. Ultimately, this commitment translates into opportunity for people with disabilities.
Q. What community project are you currently working on?
A. I am in class XXV of Leadership Broward and it is a tremendous experience.
Q. What’s a perfect day for you?
A. I like to linger over the newspaper with a cup of coffee and then do some kind of project around the house or yard. It’s rewarding to look back at the end of the day and see the actual results of my efforts.
Contact Dr. Elly du Pré at 954-463-4217.