People and Places with Pierce: The Blind Center Gift Shoppe

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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – “It’s just a real boost,” said Doc Webster about The Blind Center’s Wednesday basket weaving class. “I got interested in it, found out I could do it, and how pleasing and satisfying to be able to accomplish something.”

The feeling of accomplishment has been a true life saver for Doc Webster.

“It installs confidence in me and gives me the willingness to continue on living,” said Webster.

Webster’s will to live was hard to come by after a life changing diagnosis.

“In a regular eye exam, my doctor discovered what he thought was the development of macular degeneration,” recalled Webster. “I can’t recognize faces anymore. I was declared legally blind in 2006. When the doctor told me that I was legally blind, he suggested the blind center.”

The Blind Center in Washington is the only center of its kind in the East.

“About 35 years ago, it was the vision of a state social worker,” said Liz Liles, executive director of The Blind Center about its start. “There was a need for those who are blind and low vision to have a place where they could come together.”

“I can’t praise this Washington Blind Center enough,” added Webster.

“We try to encompass health and wellness, assistive technology, as well as crafting and recreation,” said Liles.

One of the great things about the center is the fact that items that are created end up in a gift shoppe. All the proceeds go right back to helping the center.

“Some people are totally blind and make some of the most fantastic things that you can imagine,” explained Webster.

“One of my favorite items are our baskets and when you pick up that basket and you flip to the bottom of it, you can actually see the name of the person who created that,” added Liles. “With the Christmas season, we have an opportunity of how we invest our money. We can support people where it directly impacts those who are being serviced.”

“Maybe it’s something like the true meaning of Christmas,” said Webster.

“You’re not only bringing home an item or giving an item that is made by the blind right here, local people, who have overcome these amazing challenges in their life to be able to create this item, but you’re also directly impacting a non-profit,” said Liles.

“I’ve just been learning to live with what I’ve got,” said Webster. “Don’t stop. Keep her going. And that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

For more information on The Blind Center, including gift shoppe hours, click here.

Pierce is always looking for interesting and unique people and places to visit. If you have an idea, send him an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter.

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