- Sophia Hutton, Senior
- Atlanta Girls’ School
Sophia Hutton demonstrates her commitment to tolerance through service with the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI).
“Working with the visually impaired is important to me because I seek to change society’s perception of individuals with disabilities,” Sophia said. “Too often, people perceive those who are different as being helpless and even unrelatable.”
She assists blind students with their schoolwork and helps teach social and listening skills, mobility, and independent living skills classes that show her students how to better cope with their disabilities. So far, she has completed more than 480 hours of service at the center, and she says the downtown facility has become a significant part of her life.
“I choose to continue volunteering there because I am fortunate to get to witness firsthand the difference I have made in these amazing individual’s lives,” Sophia said. “I have watched timid students who arrived at CVI uncomfortable with their visual impairments and uneager to participate in classes grow to be confident and proud leaders ready to take on the world.”
Sophia explains that her students are inspirational and that she takes away as much as she is giving through her service with the center. “My students inspire me daily to face the challenges in my life head-on and never let self-doubt deter me from following my dreams or trying something new,” Sophia said.
She explains that she sees the world differently now as a result of her work at the center.
“I have come to appreciate that which cannot be seen. I no longer allow myself to judge a book by its cover and base my opinions of things off of a quick first glance,” she said. “Working with people who base their opinions of me off of who I am and not what I look like has helped me come to realize that aesthetics are irrelevant in defining what type of person someone is.”
Sophia has a broader vision of acceptance and inclusion that fuels her service with the center. She seeks to disprove the belief that people with disabilities are “helpless and unrelatable.”
“Every person on this Earth is unique and special in their own way and deserves to be treated with respect and compassion regardless of whether or not they have a physical, emotional, or cognitive disability or impairment,” Sophia said.
This attitude translates to her school activities as well. She is co-president of Atlanta Girls’ School’s Teens Against Prejudice Club. She takes the position seriously, believing that “acceptance and tolerance are two most important gifts you can offer someone.”
Sophia is deciding between the University of San Diego and the University of Redlands, both in California. She intends to pursue Special Education and become either a vision teacher for blind teenagers or a counselor for older adolescents who are autistic.
“I am most passionate about promoting tolerance and acceptance,” she said. “For that, I believe, is the key to creating a better world. I will continue my mission in college and in the future by becoming a Special Education teacher not only teaching students with disabilities, but teaching the rest of society about my students’ disabilities so that they may exist in a world more understanding and accepting of their impairments.”
– Megan Ernst