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Challenges Inspire Growth

Outlook Associate Alex Curtis rests his elbows on the table. “Sure, I have been through a lot,” he said. “But I have always found a way to make things work.”

Alex was born with cataracts. At just two months old, both eye lenses were removed. After that, he had no vision in his left eye and was legally blind in his right. “The vision in my right eye was never great, but it was enough for me to get by,” said Alex. “I was never able to drive, but I could get around without a cane.”

Things changed in 1990 when the retina in Alex’s right eye detached. “It took me a few years to accept the fact that I could not do things like I used to and that I needed to get on with my life,” he said.

He teamed up with his mother and grandfather and purchased three rental properties. He took the bus, got rides when he could, and got creative when it came to maintaining the rental properties. “I even helped put a roof on one of the houses,” Alex said.

In 2008, the market crash made Alex and his family sell the rental properties. It was then that he decided that he needed to improve his skills to figure out his next move. “Someone asked me if I was tired of constantly looking at the ground because I could barely see where I was going,” Alex said. “I was getting by, but my confidence was not very high. And I knew something needed to change.”

Alex spent nine months in training at the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Lincoln. He learned computer and daily living skills and was given a cane for the first time. “I realized I could do so much more with the cane,” he said. “Now, it goes everywhere with me.”

After Alex completed his training, Outlook Nebraska had a temporary position available on the production floor. Not long after this position ended, he accepted full-time employment. “I loved it at Outlook right away. I received another job offer and chose this one because of the people and the programs,” Alex said.

Alex has made professional development a priority during his employment at Outlook. He can now use Microsoft Office products and the iPhone because of the adaptive technology training program. He has taken several business classes through the Hadley School for the Blind. “I feel like I am truly a part of something here. Outlook took a chance on me, and I will be forever grateful for everything I have gained here,” he said.

Last year, Alex added his own business to his daily responsibilities by joining the Nebraska Business Enterprise Program. This program grew out of federal legislation known as the Randolph-Sheppard Act passed in 1936. This law gives licensed blind vendors like Alex priority opportunities to provide work time snacks and refreshments to people traveling across the state.

Alex started YV Vending with five snack machines. He now has 21 machines across multiple buildings in Omaha. “I enjoyed being a landlord, and I wanted another business of my own,” said Alex. “I get to live for today and plan for tomorrow. Both jobs allow me to give back through redefining vision and showing others like me that they can live the life they want.”

JOB OPENING: Machine Operator 1, 2

JOB OPENING: Machine Operator 1, 2

JOB OPENING: Finisher 1, 2, 3

JOB OPENING: Finisher 1, 2, 3

Brian Becomes a Key Team Player in Production Facility, on Goalball Court

Brian Becomes a Key Team Player in Production Facility, on Goalball Court

James Harvey hits his stride at Outlook Nebraska

James Harvey hits his stride at Outlook Nebraska

KETV: Blind man gets job, gives back through Outlook Nebraska

KETV: Blind man gets job, gives back through Outlook Nebraska

Five Visually Impaired Associates Promoted at Outlook Nebraska

Five Visually Impaired Associates Promoted at Outlook Nebraska

Lindsey Theis shares the story of Outlook Nebraska with KMTV

Lindsey Theis shares the story of Outlook Nebraska with KMTV

Youth Emergency Services and Heartland Family Service were Victorious in the First-Ever Outlook Nebraska TP Bowl

Youth Emergency Services and Heartland Family Service were Victorious in the First-Ever Outlook Nebraska TP Bowl

Visually Impaired Teens Overcome Barriers on the Ski Slopes

Visually Impaired Teens Overcome Barriers on the Ski Slopes

Outlook Nebraska Associates Get Their Game On During Goalball League

Outlook Nebraska Associates Get Their Game On During Goalball League

Outlook Nebraska Completes First Step of Expansion Project

Outlook Nebraska Completes First Step of Expansion Project

People Who are Blind and Visually Impaired Benefit from Outlook Nebraska’s Vision Beyond Sight Banquet

People Who are Blind and Visually Impaired Benefit from Outlook Nebraska’s Vision Beyond Sight Banquet

Find Just The Right Gift for Your Visually Impaired Loved One

Seeing Beyond Disability in the Workplace

Seeing Beyond Disability in the Workplace

‘Please Touch the Art’ exhibit aims to make art more accessible to blind, visually impaired

‘Please Touch the Art’ exhibit aims to make art more accessible to blind, visually impaired

Man’s Best Friend is Most Reliable Too: Guide Dogs Offer Independence, Companionship to Blind Owners

Man’s Best Friend is Most Reliable Too: Guide Dogs Offer Independence, Companionship to Blind Owners

Blind Teen Discovers Additional Talents through ONI Programs

Blind Teen Discovers Additional Talents through ONI Programs

Outlook Nebraska Launches Major Expansion

Outlook Nebraska Launches Major Expansion

Steven Knapp to Lead Outlook Nebraska’s Board of Directors; Ralph Dovali Named Treasurer

Steven Knapp to Lead Outlook Nebraska’s Board of Directors; Ralph Dovali Named Treasurer

Waltermeyer, Thalken and Wichman Join Outlook Nebraska

Waltermeyer, Thalken and Wichman Join Outlook Nebraska

Tee It Up Fore Sight Raises Money for Blind Teens

Tee It Up Fore Sight Raises Money for Blind Teens

Mike Wells Joins Outlook Nebraska as Commercial Account Representative

Mike Wells Joins Outlook Nebraska as Commercial Account Representative

Joe Schaffner Joins ONI Board of Directors

Joe Schaffner Joins ONI Board of Directors

Outlook Nebraska Youth Program Encourages Blind Teens to Try New Adventures

Outlook Nebraska Youth Program Encourages Blind Teens to Try New Adventures

Outlook Nebraska Hosts First Community Resource Fair for Those Dealing with Vision Loss

Outlook Nebraska Hosts First Community Resource Fair for Those Dealing with Vision Loss

Eric Stueckrath, CEO, Appointed President of National Blind Employment Advocacy Group

Eric Stueckrath, CEO, Appointed President of National Blind Employment Advocacy Group

Uber Eases Transportation Challenges

Uber Eases Transportation Challenges

ONI Receives 2014 Innovator of the Year Award

ONI Receives 2014 Innovator of the Year Award

Following a Dream: ONI’s Jason McKown

Following a Dream: ONI’s Jason McKown

Outlook Nebraska, Inc. Promotes Plutschak to Human Resource Director

Outlook Nebraska, Inc. Promotes Plutschak to Human Resource Director

Outlook Nebraska

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