Founded in June 2003, Blind Ambitions Groups, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, assists blind and visually impaired persons to develop their abilities by:
- Teaching blind and visually impaired people to advocate for themselves in getting what they need to facilitate a better quality of life.
- Job Readiness Training (JRT) to help the blind and visually impaired prepare for the skills needed to go to, or back to, work.
- Assisting the blind and visually impaired with job placement.
- Assisting sighted family members of recently blinded persons with their own adjustments to make the transition smoother for the entire family.
- Educating and informing blind people and their families about available resources
- Networking with others and learning about products available that might make their lives easier.
- Educating blind and sighted people alike about the capabilities of blind people by providing opportunities to participate in group events, as well as finding ideas for effectively participating in events in their local areas, as well as community support group meetings held monthly which have their own page.
- Cooperating with public and private institutions and organizations concerned with blind services, including fundraising opportunities to generate means to fund our Mission Statement, our Purpose and our Goals.
Blind Ambitions Groups Mission Statement
The mission of Blind Ambitions Groups is to educate the blind and visually impaired, and their families, about available resources, and to encourage each individual to move to the next step, whatever it may be.
Board Members and Staff
Founder of Blind Ambitions Groups
My name is Mark Marvel and I am the Founder and the President and CEO of Blind Ambitions Groups. I was born in Salisbury, Maryland, and lived in Georgetown, Delaware, for the first twenty five years of my life. I moved to the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex of Texas in January of 1993. I moved back to Newark, Delaware, in September of 2011. I lost my sight on April 1, 2001, due to Diabetic Retinopathy. I received a kidney transplant on September 20, 2003. I have five children, Brittany 22, Patrick 21, Sarah 20, Andrew 17, and Haley 15. I married my wife Nancy in September 2012. I have been a Disc Jockey, firefighter, Fire Instructor, Salesman, Tanning Salon Manager and district manager. I have been a part of Blind Ambitions Groups since its inception in June of 2003. I am the Job Developer and Job Placement Specialist for BAG. I host two radio shows for the blind and visually impaired. I enjoy all types of music, cooking great meals, listening to described movies, staying in contact with old friends and classmates, meeting new people, attending my church, and spending time with my family. It has been a very rewarding time serving the blind, visually impaired, and their families for the past ten years, and I look forward to doing this for a long time to come. Mark Marvel passed away on March 27, 2013 due to complications from diabetes; the world is a sadder, quieter place without him.
President and CEO Blind Ambitions Groups
Editor in Chief of Blind Ambitions Magazine
Hello, my name is Nancy O’Donnell and I will be leading Blind Ambitions as the President and Editor In Chief of Blind Ambitions Magazine. My background consists of a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, a paralegal certificate, and a Masters of Arts degree in Holocaust & Genocide Studies. For over a decade, I taught English, reading, and multiple disciplines within the Social Sciences. Currently, I am an accounting supervisor for a major East Coast business. A few of my favorite joys in life include traveling, listening to all genres of music, cooking, reading, watching movies, working with great causes and people, and most of all, spending time with friends and family. I am very excited to join Blind Ambitions Groups and look forward to the many exciting opportunities the organization has planned in the near future. Together we can share, learn, teach, and bring change. Although Mark can never be replaced, I will do my best to guide Blind Ambitions as we move forward.
Vice President and Treasurer
My name is Pam O’Donnell and I joined the Board of Blind Ambitions Groups as the Treasurer in 2012. Blind Ambitions is a family business-created by my son-in-law, Mark Marvel and operated by Mark and his wife, Nancy, my daughter. Now our family carries on Mark’s legacy and his dream continuing with the networking groups, training the blind in computer and job skills, providing job placement, and re-introducing Blind Ambitions Magazine. I am a nurse with 40+ years’ experience, and I look forward to working with members of the blind and visually impaired community.
Robert Touchton Jr.
My name is Robert Touchton and I am joining Blind Ambitions to make Mark Marvel’s dreams and goals for this company become a reality. Mark was my brother in law and he was family. He was the most positive person I ever met and he overcame challenges most of us couldn’t even imagine. My background is that of an EMT, and like Mark, a fireman. Our immediate family and our extended family will make Blind Ambitions a success because we will never give up, just as Mark never did.
Assistive Technology Trainer for Blind Ambitions Groups
My name is Walter Harper. I was born in Milford, Delaware, in 1983. I am totally blind since birth due to retinopathy of prematurity.
I was educated in the Sussex County Resource Room for the Visually Impaired through the sixth grade and later graduated from the Milford High School. I continued on to Lions World Services for the Blind, in Little Rock, Arkansas, where I received a certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist. I am presently employed by Blind Ambitions Groups as a Technology Trainer.
In my spare time, I enjoy playing music for local churches, enjoy eating out with friends, and learning about innovative assistive technology.
Richard and Sharon Davis
Directors of Networking/Support Groups-Plano
Richard and Sharon have been with Blind Ambitions Groups for many years facilitating the networking and support group meetings in Plano, Texas. Richard and Sharon have been married for over 25 years. Sharon offers a wealth of knowledge including 20+ years of medical office experience.
Richard was blinded in the left eye by an accident at age ten and in the right eye by glaucoma at age fifteen. He attended the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped (now known as the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired) and graduated salutatorian of his class. Richard then earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science at New Mexico State University. He worked for seven years at Braniff Airlines and for fifteen years at American Airlines as a programmer analyst in their reservation systems. He also spent six months fulfilling a contract to develop an internet web page for a private company. Richard will be working as a trainer helping other blind and visually impaired individuals learn to use personal computers and their associated software (and hopefully helping them to miss the pitfalls for the blind hidden in the new technology) thus freeing them to enjoy its benefits and participate in the world wide web and the growing economy based on it.
Director of Networking/Support Groups-Delaware
In the fall of 2008, I was going to the optometrists for my annual check-up. As the check-up was nearing the end, I started to ask a few questions. I was told that everything was fine. About a month later, I started having severe headaches and vision problems. After a few days of the problems, I ended up having to have surgery on my right eye. Come to find out I had to get a tube shunt in my eye. It took about 2 months for my recovery.
Three months later, I started to have the same symptoms all over again. But this time it was much worse than before. I had to go through 4 more surgeries and was not able to go back to work.
The doctor explained that there was a chance that I could go blind and that I should try to prepare myself for the changes that were going to happen. Knowing there was going to be some drastic changes in store for me, I signed myself into a facility that could help me with the depression that was going to set in. With most of my family and friends not knowing how to deal with my situation, they found it easier to stay away and not deal with it. I had to learn that there are things and people available
My goal is to bring awareness to sighted and visually impaired people to let them know that your life does not have to end because of the set back of losing your sight. There are plenty of organizations that we can use to help us function in society, but also allow us to be the individuals who we are. The only time I consider myself disabled is when I need to get a good parking spot at the mall or market.
Director of Social Media
Elizabeth is joining Blind Ambitions Groups as the Director of Social Media. Elizabeth is very familiar with social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. After serving her country proudly as United States Marine, Elizabeth is looking forward to continuing her career in the public sector.
Research Manager for Blind Ambitions Groups and Advertising and Subscription Sales for Blind Ambitions Magazine
As head of this department, I personally handle both research and development for Blind Ambitions Groups. This includes, but is not limited to, research on various organizations, articles, and any other information beneficial to the publication. I also seek to encourage both new subscribers and advertisers to take interest and part in the magazine.