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Leading the Way: Jonesti Steele excels at E. H. Gentry Facility.

 Jonesti Steele walks down a sidewalk between buildings using a phone and white cane to navigate. It’s been said that true and admirable character is best shown in times of adversity. For Jonesti Steele, this couldn’t be more true! 

After losing her sight in February 2021, Steele spent 6 months adjusting to the immense change. She then began working on vocational rehabilitation before touring Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind’s (AIDB) Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind and AIDB’s E. H. Gentry Facility. 

Steele eventually enrolled at E. H. Gentry Facility at the end of November and took classes in Assistive Technology, Orientation & Mobility, and Independent Living Skills. She also became a Peer Mentor in the Assistive Technology Department where she supports and teaches her fellow students. 

“E. H. Gentry Facility is great,” said Steele. “It has helped me develop the courage to get back out there. It has helped me view blindness as another way to navigate the world. What we can accomplish (as people who are blind) is limitless.” 

While at E. H. Gentry Facility, Steele returned to The University of Alabama to continue her degree in Human Environmental Sciences and is scheduled to graduate in December of 2023. She has also been motivated to begin traveling again. While at E. H. Gentry Facility, Steele has traveled to the National Federation of the Blind Conference in New Orleans, the AIDB Waves of Opportunity Conference in Orange Beach, and to Washington, D. C. 

“What amazes me about Jonesti is her tenacity and willingness to learn new things,” said LaTonya Chatman, Student Services Supervisor, E. H. Gentry Facility. “She has never let anything get in her way of accomplishing her goals. She has truly emerged as a leader during her time at E. H. Gentry Facility.” 

After completing her program at E. H. Gentry Facility, Steele plans to continue to help those who are blind. She plans to earn a certification and eventually a Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling or in Education and become a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. 

“I want to give back,” said Steele. “Helping and teaching others is where I want to be; it’s what I want to do.”