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Cambridge family to be honored with Family Volunteer Award from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Cambridge family to be honored with Family Volunteer Award from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Posted on 04/12/2016

Contact: Brian Klotz, Marketing Coordinator, 617.732.0264, bklotz@mabcommunity.org

MABOOn April 17th, Cambridge residents Nathaniel (Nat) Adamian and his mother Lynne Carvalho Adamian will be honored with the annual Family Volunteer Award from the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI). Nat and his mother have been volunteering with MABVI for four years, offering their sight to help individuals with visual impairment.

“Nat and Lynne’s dedication, generosity, and selflessness make them an exemplary Family Volunteer,” says Kyle Robidoux, MABVI’s Director of Volunteer and Support Group Services, “and we are honored to present them with this award for all that they do.”

Nat, a 16-year-old sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, is the big brother to two siblings, Louie and Eleanor. The younger of the two, Eleanor, is a happy, personable, and engaged 11-year-old, and the reason Nat and his mother became interested in volunteering for the blind in the first place; Eleanor has a rare neurological disorder called Incontinentia Pigmenti which leads to complex vision issues among other challenges. She is a student at Perkins School for the Blind and relies upon a pediatric wheelchair for longer distances and a white cane for mobility.

A devoted, caring older brother, Nat was motivated to volunteer with MABVI because he wants to help others facing the same challenges as his sister.

“Because of that experience I've always been acutely aware of the difficulties that visual impairment can cause,” he says, “and I've been interested in helping people affected by such impairments.”

Trying to find such an opportunity, however, proved difficult for the then-12 year old Nat.

“We found that due to his young age at that time many organizations were turning him away,” explains Lynne. MABVI’s Family Volunteer Program proved to be the perfect fit, since it allows individuals younger than 18 to volunteer alongside an adult.

“We became a team in our volunteerism,” says Lynne. “It is something meaningful that we are doing together as mother and son, and for both of us this allows us to feel connected to our greater humanity.”

Initially, Nat and his mother were matched with one individual for about two years, ending only when she moved away. Soon after, they were matched with Cambridge resident Sean, an accomplished 33-year-old academic currently doing work for a Boston-based NGO that expands opportunities for individuals with visual impairment internationally. 

They hit it off right away. While Nat and Lynne helped Sean by lending their eyesight to common tasks such as doing paperwork, reading and sorting mail, and going on errands, they found themselves benefitting from the volunteer match as well.

“Sean is a really fantastic role model for a teenage boy,” notes Lynne, “He can relate to Nat very readily. It is because of Sean’s upbeat, quick witted and caring nature that the time we are all together is so enjoyable.”

“Working with Sean has been fantastic,” says Nat. “He's a very friendly and intelligent person and we get along well.”

And the feeling is mutual.

“Nat is a very bright young man,” says Sean. “They are both extremely nice people who are a joy to spend time with and easy to work with. They both manage to offer me assistance with specific things that I ask for while recognizing me for and treating me like the capable adult that I am. 

“Lynne invited me to their home for dinner one night, where I met the whole family. They are very welcoming, and Lynne is a fantastic cook!”

Adds Nat: “My sister was very excited because he had a cane just like her.”

Currently Sean is spending time working overseas for his NGO, and the Adamian family, demonstrating the dedication that earned them the Family Volunteer Award, requested to be matched with another local individual in the meantime.

Nat and Lynne will receive the Family Volunteer Award at a Volunteer Appreciation Brunch on April 17th at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

MABVI is always in need of new volunteers to offer their sight to individuals with visual impairment in their local community. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can apply online or call 617.972.9119. Individuals under 18 may volunteer alongside a parent as part of MABVI’s Family Volunteer Program.

ABOUT MABVI
The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been creating opportunities for people with vision loss since 1903. Our experience allows us to forge strong community partnerships to meet the pressing need for high quality services and transform lives. Learn more >>