DALLAS (February 28, 2019)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has awarded the Julia Sweeney Fund to a pair of outstanding women who are blind or visually impaired. The fund is named after the long-time Center on Vision Loss (CVL) board member, donor, and prominent Dallas-area columnist who focused on women’s issues and empowerment. The 2019 awardees are Jennifer Bennet and Melva Henderson.

Ms. Bennett has had limited vision her entire life. Following her participation in the Employment Services Program at East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in 2016, she was employed at Centene Corporation in Tyler, Texas, where she currently serves as an Advanced Claims Analyst.

Ms. Bennet holds master’s degrees in both History and Library Science. In addition to her professional work, her other interests include reading, crochet, knitting, music, church activities, and spending time with family, friends, and her wonderful animal companions.

Ms. Henderson works as a Program Specialist at the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, where she advocates, educates, and refers blind and visually impaired clients to services and programs which can help them live more independent and rewarding lives. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and a strong proponent of the association’s values, principals, and standards.

Ms. Henderson is a 2016 graduate of Texas A&M University of Commerce with a master’s degree in Social Work. She is currently enrolled in National Industries for the Blind’s Business Management Training Program and is excited to combine her passion for helping others with her growing business acumen. In addition to her professional development activities, Ms. Henderson enjoys audio books, traveling, and baking for her family.

As Julia Sweeney Fund recipients, Ms. Bennet and Ms. Henderson were guests at the 2019 AFB Leadership Conference in Arlington, Virginia.