A young Jack Duffy-Protentis kayaking while attending a Carroll Center summer program.Diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease at eight years old, Jack and his family were unsure how to set Jack up for success, but soon learned about the Carroll Center for the Blind’s summer programs for blind and visually impaired children. Before coming to the Carroll Center Jack had never met anyone else with a visual impairment. As he prepared for his week at Carroll Kids, Jack was nervous about being away from home and meeting others with low vision or blindness, but this anxiety quickly disappeared once he arrived on campus.

For the very first time, Jack met children and adult staff members who also had visual impairments. He had never previously considered the wide scope of vision loss and how each individual’s journey is unique. Jack spent the next months telling friends and family about his new friends as well as kayaking and all the other magical moments that were part of this incredible week. Jack excitedly returned for several summers to attend Carroll Kids and later Carroll Teens.

Jack Duffy-Protentis and Adonis, his white lab guide dog, receive his diploma at WPI commencement 2021

Today, Jack is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is CEO of an engineering firm that he created. The comradery of his Carroll Kids friends continues today. Jack spends time with many of them exchanging experiences and challenges of being visually impaired in a sighted world. When reflecting on his summers at the Carroll Center, Jack shares: “My experience at Carroll Kids and Carroll Teens contributed to my ability to succeed and flourish, providing me with confidence in myself and advocacy skills that were critical in school and beyond. I am forever grateful to the instructors who worked so closely with me when I was very new to vision loss.”