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Thriving Blind ACADEMY pillar program: PARENTING

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.

cover of thriving blind beginnings

From the Best Selling Author of Thriving Blind:

Thriving Blind Beginnings: A Blueprint for Families Raising Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Imagine sitting with a few good friends to chat after receiving a diagnosis of blindness/low vision and actually getting good, experienced advice for your next right steps. That is what this book is. Thriving Blind Beginnings is your next right step to not feeling alone or overwhelmed, but instead, empowered and motivated! Coming Summer 2024!

Be First to Know When the Book is Released!

the statistics that have been in existence for decades regarding children that are blind/low vision:


of high school


of college

90% Denied Literacy

only 10% of children that need Braille receive access to it

With Thriving Blind Academy's THRIVER Formula Curriculum, we change those statistics. 

The Empowering Elements our Participants Learn:

  • Tools: Access elements of literacy, independence and a thriving mindset. 

  • HandiCAPABLE: Guide children to be capable and thrive in all facets of life.

  • Responsibility: Empower children to take responsibility for their own thriving.

  • Inter/Independence: Foster a collaborative and self-reliant approach to thriving.

  • Value: Know the value children that are blind bring to the world.

  • Emotion: Guide children to develop resilience in emotional challenges.

  • Risk Taking: Know the importance of children navigating risks for personal growth.

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The Impact of Parenting with a THRIVER Mindset:

In Kindergarten, the IEP team expected Michael to achieve at only 70% of the other students in the public school he attended. Michael's Mom used the THRIVER formula.


 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 

Cmpbell Rutherford with long curly blond hair, smiling

In elementary school, Campbell Rutherford was not getting the level of services and access to education that she deserved. Her Mom had a THRIVER mindset and decided to homeschool Campbell.


•Campbell took mostly Advanced Placement courses

•In addition, she had time to pursue hobbies like piano 

•Campbell had a thriving social life

•She is currently thriving on campus at Harvard

•Campbell and her Mom, Liza, discussed their journey in the 2023 Succeed Without SIght Summit "Homeschool to Harvard" session.

Meet the TBA Program Leaders

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

    Kristin Smedley headsh

    Kristin Smedley

    Co-Founder, Thriving Blind Academy

    CEO, Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation

    Kristin Smedley is a TEDx speaker and author of the best selling book Thriving Blind:Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and NEW children's book, What I Can Be Is Up To Me. Kristin is Co-Founder of Thriving Blind Academy. She has two sons that are blind due to CRB1-LCA and a sighted daughter. All three of her children are thriving - and out of the house at college and the workforce!

    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.

    Headshot Cori Andrews

    Cori Andrews

    Consultant, Thriving Blind Academy

    Cori Andrews is a seasoned education professional who has dedicated 28 years to making a profound impact on the lives of visually impaired students. Serving as an Itinerant Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) in a public school district north of Houston, Cori has guided hundreds of students through the intricate stages of the K-12 education system. Her unique perspective from the educator's side offers unparalleled insights into the secrets of success and the common pitfalls to avoid. Cori will provide a wealth of practical knowledge, equipping parents and educators with the tools they need to navigate the educational journey of blind and low vision children with confidence and excellence.

    Headshot suzette may

    Suzette May

    Assistant, Thriving Blind Academy

    Suzette May is a passionate advocate and workshop speaker dedicated to making workplaces, clinical trials, and pedestrian areas accessible for the blind. As an entrepreneur and student at Arizona State University, she's pursuing undergraduate studies in Disability Studies and a graduate degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Legally blind herself, Suzette has a Seeing Eye Dog and advocates for disability and pedestrian accessibility, braille literacy, and early vision screening.

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]