With the NOMC (National Orientation and Mobility Certification) letters behind his name and a cane in his hand, Antonio works daily teaching students how to travel independently all over the world.
Serving as the Lead Cane Travel Instructor for our Independence Training and Rehabilitation CORE Program, Antonio has been a member of our BISM team since 2016.
Get to know Antonio a little more as he shares his passion for music, let’s us in on some of his hobbies, and reflects on the things that inspires him.
What was your first paying Job?
My first unofficial job was raking up leaves in my family’s yard. Eventually my little business grew to the point where I would rake the yards of extended family and my neighbors. I would also wash cars. During my sophomore year of high school, I got hired to work my first official job at Burger King. I started out working on the grill making Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, etc. I worked there for about seven months leading up to when I lost my vision. For several years, I could not eat Burger King because I spent so much time there. I couldn’t stand it. The smell alone repulsed me. It wasn’t until five years later that I stepped foot into another Burger King.
What kind of music do you like?
I truly like all kinds of music. I like 90’s Hip Hop and R&B/Soul; I like Soul from the 60’s and 80’s. I enjoy soft rock, southern gospel, and even blues. My music choice is all over the place.
Who is one of your favorite musical artists?
My favorite artist is someone who doesn’t get enough recognition. Tina Marie. I could listen to her all day. She has a really unique voice. She was hitting those high notes before Mariah Carey.
What was the best concert you ever attended?
I went to a Houdini concert. That was my very first concert. I had to be around ten or eleven. My uncle took me. I just remember being fascinated by how he would come out in the big tall hat and open vest. I may have lost it a little bit when he came out on stage.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Watching the people that I work with progress through their training. Watching their confidence and self-esteem rise. From the time I meet them and they tell me they won’t be able to travel to the moment when they can travel independently is a great feeling.
Who are your favorite sports teams?
For college football, the Florida Gators. For the NBA, the Lakers of course. College basketball, North Carolina Tar hills and the NFL Philadelphia Eagles.
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
I love to read books and write. I love to write fantasy fiction. I have entered writing contest in the past. The highest level I have placed was second. One of my pieces was on track to being published, but there were some obstacles in the way during that time. My hope is to one day have one of my writings published.
What is your biggest fear?
Failing in the eyes of my peers and people closest to me. This fear pushes me, but sometimes it hinders me as well. I try to use this fear as motivation, but there are times when it tries to hold me back. When I feel that fear holding me back, I take a moment to reflect on my growth and use that growth to keep pushing forward and taking risks.
Who inspires you?
People. People inspire me. The spirit of people, especially during times of tragedy shows a side of people that inspires me to do my best.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Understanding that just because the students that I work with are all Blind, that they do not all learn the same. Being able to adapt and meet individual students where they are is important. This can sometimes be frustrating, but at the end of the day, it helps to make me a much better instructor.