Born legally blind, Alicia Betancourt regularly rode a 6:45 a.m. Greyhound bus from Daytona Beach to Orlando and then took city buses to reach UCF’s main campus. She did her homework on the bus using a special Braille device that she also used to take notes in class.
Featured in Saturday’s Daytona Beach News-Journal, Betancourt earned a Master of Social Work degree this summer, three years after she received a bachelor’s degree in English from UCF. Today, her story motivates clients at Volusia County’s Center for the Visually Impaired, where she is interning. She is looking for a full-time job.
Below is an excerpt from the News-Journal story.
Sometimes she didn’t get back to Daytona Beach until midnight and then had to get to another internship the next morning. She also stayed in a hotel one night a week in Orlando.
“It was pretty rough,” she said, adding that at the time she used a white cane, though she now has a service dog, Krystal.
She believes she gets her determination from “wanting to be on the same footing as sighted people.”
“It can be done if you want it bad enough,” said Betancourt, who previously received a bachelor’s from the University of Central Florida in 2008 and an associate’s from Daytona State College.
If someone tells her she can’t do something, she turns around and proves them wrong.
“A lot of times I’ve done things to prove to people who have 20/20 (vision) that we can do more than factory jobs,” she said.