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Beaumont Rise Center wins award from Governor
BEAUMONT-By: Leslie Rangel
You may not have heard of the Rise Center in Beaumont, but Gov. Rick Perry has.
The center helps people with disabilities get back on their feet and into the work force.
Friday, Perry will present the center with a special award at a ceremony in Waco.
Gracie Jackson prefers to work with dim lighting.
She's an expert with computers. She's also blind.
"I use a guide dog, a seeing eye dog. My dog's name is Cricket, and we've been together for two years," Jackson said.
She lost her sight about five years ago.
"I cried and I cried because I thought people were going to say, 'Oh, she's blind,'" Jackson said. "They're going to know you're blind, and I was not ready for that."
But Jackson soon made the decision to revamp her life, and she did it with the help of the Rise Center.
The center is the first nonprofit in Beaumont to receive the Lex Frieden Award.
The award recognizes the efforts of employers to hire and keep employees with disabilities.
"It is our mission to be able to provide employment ot those with disabilities in our organization," Jim Brocato, executive director of the center said.
With help from the people here, Gracie Jackson and others like her began a new journey.
"About 85 percent of the individuals on the staff here at Rise are dealing with some kind of disability," Brocato said.
Jackson was even hired to help others also deal with their disabilities.
"I teach computer training, I teach independent living skills. It depends on what individuals are wanting to learn," Jackson said. "I'm not Superwoman, I'm not super hero, I'm just another individual that's trying to live my life in the best way that I can and enjoying it while I'm doing it."