2017 Winner - Carolena Garrison

One of the things Carolena Garrison enjoys most about her job as a restaurant hostess in Northern Virginia is the people – the regular customers, coworkers and managers she gets to work with each week. But now, thanks to a cutting-edge piece of technology provided by The Eric Fund, Carolena, who is legally blind, will be able to greet her family, friends, regular customers and coworkers before they even speak a word.

The Eric Fund purchased for Carolena an Orcam MyEye, a special camera device that mounts on glasses and acts as a visual aid for people with low vision. The MyEye’s facial recognition software can be programmed to recognize a number of people. When the camera sees a familiar face, it will speak the person’s identity into an earpiece Carolena wears. The MyEye also translates images and writing through the earpiece, allowing Carolena to read printed words on anything from forms to menus. Currently, Carolena requires assistance to read the restaurant’s table map to seat customers. “With the technology, I can run the floor plan and help my customers,” says Carolena. “(The MyEye) will make my job a lot easier for me. It will me give me more independence.” The Eric Fund is honored to provide this important piece of equipment to advance Carolena’s independence at home, work and in the community.