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Thriving Blind ACADEMY pillar program

Thriving Blind Academy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to ending the literacy, employment and financial crisis in the blind community. This is not a support group - it is a success strategies community that empowers individuals and families to thrive in school, work, and life.

High School To College/Workforce Cohort 1

Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Information Event COMING June, 2024

the statistics that have been in existence for decades:


rate of blind/low vision

high school students


rate of blind/low vision 

college students

70% Unemployed

rate in the blind/low vision community due to employer AND SELF bias

With Thriving Blind Academy's THRIVER Formula for Success we change those statistics. 

Our Participants are Empowered with our Unique, Signature Combination of the THRIVER Formula and Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC):

  • Tools: Educate students on the multiple tools available for literacy, independence and mindset to access all aspects of thriving life by design.

  • HandiCAPABLE: Guide students to realize their capabilities and empower them with strategies for success.

  • Responsibility: Encourage students to take control of their own destinies, instilling the belief that their future success is within their own hands.

  • Inter/Independence: Build self-confidence and self-esteem in students, equipping them with the self-assurance needed to face challenges head-on.

  • Value: Develop knowledge of the unique value each student brings to the world and communicate that value confidently.

  • Emotion: Equip students to develop resilience in managing challenging emotions in navigate the world with blindness/low vision.

  • Risk Taking: Empower students with confidence to face fears, take risks and get comfortable with failure.

CLICK to Support This Project
Get INFO on the Bucks County Event!

The Impact of the THRIVER Mindset:

•Michael graduated from a public high school with top honors, National Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa Society, Student Council executive (4 years) and was named Commencement Speaker

•Graduated Penn State University summa cum laude, BFA degrees in Telecommunications and Theater Sound Design, achieved top 0.5% of 10,000+ Penn State graduates, named Commencement Marshall

•Michael now works full time for Disney Live Entertainment in Orlando, Florida 

kaleigh with long blonde hair smiling wearing a tan blazer and dark pants holding her white cane

•During COVID-19 lockdowns, blind students were denied access to Braille versions of the AP exams.

•TBA guided Kaleigh Brendle, a high school senior* to lead a group of college bound blind students to advocate for access to AP exams in hard copy Braille

•Kaleigh's advocacy video to get public and media support had over 1M impressions on Twitter alone, and achieved headline news features in New York Post, CNN and more

•Collaborated with legal team at National Federation of the Blind

•RESULT: College Board reversed their decision and supplied exams in Braille format

Meet the TBA Program Leaders

Stay tuned for additional Program Leaders, Mentors, and Business Partners!

    Kristin Smedley headsh

    Kristin Smedley

    Co-Founder, Thriving Blind Academy

    CEO, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation

    Kristin Smedley is a renowned figure in the world of clinical research, with over a decade of experience in ophthalmology. Kristin is an award winning patient organization leader and testified at the FDA for the first-ever gene therapy to treat an inherited disease. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Association for Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

    Kristin's unique perspective on diversity and inclusion within the realm of clinical research make her an in demand speaker/consultant for organizations and teams. Kristin's transformative approach will inspire and equip workshop attendees with the tools they need for a more inclusive and successful future in clinical research and clinical trials.

    Charlie COllins headsh

    Charlie Collins

    Co-Founder, Thriving Blind Academy

    Certified Success Principles Trainer

    Charlie Collins is a dynamic force in the world of success coaching and business leadership, with a unique perspective as a legally blind certified Success Principles trainer and a thriving business owner. With a keen focus on empowering professionals to unlock their fullest potential, Charlie's expertise has transformed countless lives.

    As a featured speaker in our upcoming workshop, Charlie will share invaluable insights on the competitive edge that clinical research and teams gain when including individuals who are blind. He will unveil the number one success principle that lays the foundation for transforming mindsets and achieving remarkable outcomes in the field.

Thriving Blind Academy is a 501c3 non profit corporation.  All donations fund programs for families and individuals impacted by blindness to thrive in school, work and life.

Contact Us at [email protected]