NEWTON, Mass. — Call it a labor of love for 17-year-old Ryan Sutliff.
The senior at the Boston Latin School helped make the campus at the Carroll Center For The Blind in Newton more accessible for individuals dealing with the adjustment to vision loss.
As part of his final community service project to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts, Sutliff installed nearly a dozen solar-powered light posts along the center’s driveway.
“There were 6-foot 4-by-4′s, so they were 12 feet and we cut them in half. Then we dug two-feet into the ground so they are a little over four-feet above the ground, including the light post on the top,” he explained.
According to the non-profit organization, the solar light posts will help clients with usable vision navigate the campus more easily.
“Eye conditions affect people’s visual field differently and so depending on somebody’s level of vision, high contrast can make wayfinding much more accessible for them. So just navigating up and down our campus will make it much easier,” said Jason Laffer, marketing and communication manager for the Carroll Center.
The project hit close to home for Sutliff. Both his grandfather and uncle have retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited eye disease that causes progressive vision loss that can lead to complete blindness.
“The Carroll Center was really instrumental in helping them adapt to life with blindness, so it was kind of a personal draw for me to go to the Carroll Center,” Sutliff said.
Sutliff expects to earn his Eagle Scout rank in the next few weeks. He hopes to become an ophthalmologist.
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