While boarding a crowded bus on his way to meet up with NWABA, Prateek seizes the opportunity. He’s decked out in snow gear, with a snowboard in one hand and his white cane in another.
“Without saying a single word, I am being an advocate. It makes people curious.”
After years of recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally, Prateek continues to challenge himself and take advantage of every moment…even the ride to and from NWABA programs.
He realizes that he has an opportunity to have an impact beyond himself. His vision is not a barrier for him, but rather has become a platform to become an advocate for others who have visual impairments. He strives to influence and challenge his community now.
Recently Prateek has joined other sports organizations in addition to NWABA. He notes that these groups – some elite and exclusive – have been designed for individuals who are sighted. But he shows up with confidence and commitment to push beyond perceived barriers and to be an example of what is possible.
“…some of these people never even interacted with a blind person much less guided a blind person on technical terrains. I know these people are watching me, and I’m expanding their horizons.”
Prateek feels that we can all learn something from each other. He believes we can all learn to think outside of the box more, and to challenge our own beliefs. By connecting with many people from different backgrounds and experiences, he learns from them and fosters a stronger community.
“I have all kinds of exciting stories to share, and sharing of stories and experiences builds intimacy in the larger community.”
Even after a long day in the mountains, Prateek strives to connect with the each individual he meets. Whether he’s on the ride home sitting next to a volunteer, or passes a neighbor as he walks up to his home.
“Interacting with other human beings…really contributes, it’s an essential element in my journey of personal growth and awareness… NWABA continues to be quite instrumental in meeting really neat people who I want to be around more.”
Because of NWABA, Prateek has gained his community back through supportive relationships and accessible, adaptive sports. He reminds us to continue pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, to grow and to learn – and that anything is possible.
Prateek is paving a path towards a future where everyone is included and has access to opportunities. A world where individuals feel empowered regardless of age, ability, or background; where communities thrive on healthy habits and shared experiences; where every person has access to the opportunities to lead fulfilling and high quality livelihoods.
Like Prateek, you can make a difference, too. Your gift today empowers individuals who are blind and visually impaired to be independent, confident, and active. You provide the chance to build community and gain the skills that offer a better quality of life for our athletes.