WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A light, a constant, and a woman with a heart for children. That’s how some describe Teresa Houston, the director of the Child Development Center at Envision.

“Teresa is kind of like the backbone to Envision,” said Envision Director of Community Programs Hannah Christenson. “Consistency and love and compassion are so important for growing and developing kids. She’s a rock.”

Houston began her career at Envision, a nonprofit that improves the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, about 13 years ago after she was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri and started to lose her vision.

Teresa Houston works with students at Envision’s Child Development Center (KSN Photo)

“From the age of 15 to 40, I had central vision and no peripheral vision, so I had like tunnel vision, and from 40 to 50, I lost all of my vision,” Houston explained. “It was a tough transition, but Envision made it easier because I didn’t have to explain what I needed.”

Houston has gone on to accomplish great things in her time at Envision. She earned her master’s degree. She manages 16 people. She is also a public policy advocate, representing the organization on Capitol Hill. However, the role she loves most is supporting those at the Child Development Center.

“Most parents struggle with grieving the loss of vision, and so I have to walk them through showing them we can do anything,” Houston said. “We have no boundaries. Our level of independence starts now with ages zero to five, and it goes all from birth to earth with us.”

Houston credits Envision for giving her the tools to live an independent life in addition to opening doors and learning opportunities she thought would otherwise have been shut.

“I feel like while I work here, I am giving back to what they gave me,” Houston said. “I want everyone to understand, regardless if you see a cane, a wheelchair, a walker, anything that we are people too, and we want to be included.”