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Everything a blind girl needs.

For scholarships, apps, assistive technology, sun hats, and foundation that won't make you look like an orange, Legally Blonde & Blind has you covered!

Marissa riding on the back of a tandem bike crossing the finish line.
Marissa posing in front of the waves on the beach and wearing a turquoise bikini
Marissa posing with the founder of Together Achieving Dreams at their inaugural gala
Marissa posing with Smalls in front of the Empire State Building
Marissa riding a canoe on the Potomac River

Organizations, products, and statistics are hyperlinked so you can learn more!

Blind Scholarships

Approximately only 15% of people who are “blind, or have difficulty seeing even with glasses” have a college degree. Fortunately, there are several organizations seeking to remove some of the barriers in higher education through scholarships for blind and visually-impaired students. Most of these applications will require your primary care doctor or optometrist to certify that you are legally blind. 

Lighthouse guild scholarship instagram post for Marissa
  • The Lighthouse Guild offers 20 scholarships ($8,500) for college-bound high school seniors and at least one scholarship ($2,500) for qualifying graduate students. Typically, several students with albinism win the scholarship each year. Applications are due March 31st.

  • The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) offers 30 merit-based scholarships to blind college students ranging from $3,000-12,000. Winners are expected to attend the NFB national convention in July and will receive prizes from their corporate sponsors, such as a Chromebook or an additional cash prize from Google. Many state affiliates also offer scholarships. Applications close on March 31st.

  • Team See Possibilities gives 18 $5,000 scholarships to blind students each year. Winners can join monthly mentorship calls with leaders in the blind community. Applications typically close at the beginning of May. 

  • NOAH’s McGowan Leadership Scholarship ($1,000) is awarded to one college student with albinism each year. The selection committee heavily prioritizes involvement with NOAH. Applications are due on May 1st. 

  • The American Council of the Blind (ACB) provides scholarships ranging from $2,000-$7,000 for those entering technical, undergraduate, or graduate school. Scholarship winners are expected to attend the ACB national convention in July (but I am not sure if it is required). Check to see if your state division also offers scholarships. Applications typically close in the middle of February.

  • The #RAREis Scholarship Fund awards $5,000 scholarships to several college students with rare diseases, and albinism counts (I take issue with characterizing albinism as a “disease” but hey, it’s a scholarship). Applications typically close at the end of April. 

  • Lime Connect offers several scholarships for disabled students, including the Pathways scholarships for high school seniors attending college or the Google Lime Scholarship for students studying computer science/engineering. Applications for the Pathways scholarship close at the beginning of June. 

App Recommendations

Smartphones are one of the most powerful tools a blind or visually-impaired person can carry in their pocket. Whether it be for scanning a document, finding a restaurant, or identifying dollar bills, here are some apps I find incredibly useful:

Notability app logo
Google Maps app logo
  • Notability is my favorite note taking app because you can seamlessly write and type notes on a black page or uploaded PDF. You can zoom in, increase the font size, or change the text/background color. 

  • Google Maps is my favorite navigation app for walking and public transportation directions. You can use audio directions or an “arrow” that represents the direction you are traveling in real time. (P.S. Did you know that people with disabilities use the GPS on smartphones 30% more frequently than the general population?)

  • Bookshare is a subscription service that provides large-print and audio books to people with disabilities for a flat yearly rate of $50 per year. You must certify that you are legally blind and/or have a learning disability to receive a membership. You can download Dolphin EasyReader to read and download content from Bookshare on mobile devices.

  • Adobe Scan allows users to scan and create PDFs of documents using a smartphone’s camera. This free app is great for those who read print and prefer to complete schoolwork electronically. 

  • Seeing AI is a free app developed by Microsoft that can recognize currency, product barcodes, short snippets of text, and text on documents.

  • Oko can recognize pedestrian traffic signals and identify crosswalks using an iPhone’s camera. 

  • Aira is a subscription service that provides on-demand visual interpretation from trained agents. They can describe surroundings, find dropped items, or help you navigate an airport. The first five-minutes of an Aira call are free. Be My Eyes is a free, volunteer-based version of this concept but generally is not as reliable.  

Dolphin EasyReader app logo
Adobe Scanner app logo
Seeing AI app logo
Oko app icon
Aira app icon

Guide Dogs

Working with assistance animals is a massive commitment, and the resources below helped me reach my decision to apply for a guide dog!


Looking to find a community, join a support group, or push for meaningful change? These wonderful blind organizations are a great place to start!

  • The National Organization of Albinism & Hypopigmentation hosts semi-annual conventions that will greatly boost the confidence of any insecure albino teen (trust me). They also have several support groups (Ex. Young Adults with Albinism), information bulletins, and research grants. 

  • The National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest organization led by blind people in the United States. This massive organization has many subgroups (Ex. National Association of Blind Students) as well as training centers, conventions, research programs, and advocacy initiatives. My favorite part about the NFB is that all officers and board members must be blind. 

  • The Lighthouse Guild provides healthcare, rehabilitation, and support services for people experiencing vision loss. They offer Orientation & Mobility lessons, assistive technology training, and tele-support groups. 

  • Under the Same Sun seeks to help people with albinism, especially those in developing countries, “overcome often deadly discrimination through education and advocacy.” 

  • The American Foundation for the Blind publishes peer-reviewed research in the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. They also help businesses design more accessible websites, products, and services for disabled users.

  • The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington is a vision care nonprofit that provides vision screening, affordable eyeglass clinics, rehabilitation services, and support groups for residents in the DMV area. Sean Curry, the Assistant Director of programs, appears in Episode 17 of Legally Blonde & Blind.

  • Standing Voice is an international non-governmental organization based in Malawi, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom that advocates for the human rights of people with albinism in Africa. Tess Ballis, who appeared on Episode 23, is a Standing Voice representative and shared her experiences in an interview.

  • TechOWL (Technology for our Whole Lives) is an organization within Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities that helps people find tools to increase their independence. They have an assistive technology lending library, a used equipment program, and amazing demonstrations on Tiktok. I am an assistive technology champion for TechOWL and will be creating social media content for them over the next several months. 

  • TAD (Together Achieving Dreams) is a foundation seeking to increase blind employment through mentorship, family programming, and corporate partnerships. Kathryn Webster, the President and Co-Founder, appears in Episode 26 of Legally Blonde & Blind. 

  • The U.S Association of Blind Athletes offers sports and recreation opportunities such as goalball, beep basketball, tandem cycling, and winter sports. Most metropolitan areas have a regional chapter. 

  • Achilles International offers athletic programming for disabled athletes, including those with visual impairments. They operate in 19 countries and several US cities have a chapter. 

NOAH Organization logo
National Federation of the Blind  logo
Lighthouse Guild logo
Under the Same Sun logo
American Foundation for the Blind logo
Prevention of Blindness Society logo
Standing Voice logo
USABA logo
Achilles International

Fashion & Beauty

Hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen don’t only have to be practical - they can also be fashionable (and not smell like chemicals)! 

  • SunBum is my favorite brand of sunscreen! They offer sprays, face creams, sticks, and hair mist that go up to SPF 70. For those who dislike the typical smell or feel of sunscreen, SunBum might be a better option since it has a smooth texture and a coconut scent. If I am going for a walk or spending time outside, I will use spray sunscreen and reapply every 90-minutes. (P.S. Some experts argue that sunscreens above SPF 50 only offer marginally better protection and that they are not worth buying, but as someone with extremely sensitive skin, I think it is worth it invest in high-quality sunscreens).

  • Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation Shade 85 Ivore Neutral  is my favorite liquid foundation. Lancôme foundations are rather pricey, but they offer excellent shade range and coverage (you can easily use it as a concealer with a thicker coat). I definitely recommend going to a Sephora and trying out multiple products to see what works best for you, but keep in mind that they may not have the palest shades in stock.

  • Ray Bans are the best sunglasses for anyone with light sensitivity (or as my dad would say, vampires!). Many pairs have thick frames and polarized lenses, which reduce glare and eye strain. A pair of Ray Bans is definitely an investment, but it makes me much more comfortable outside! 

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