Jeff Balek was born blind, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing one of his favorite past-times – teaching children who can see how to read.

With no transportation of his own, getting to the program is a labor of love, but Balek says volunteering through the YMCA in Charlotte, NC to help children overcome their reading barriers has enriched his life in ways he never imagined.

Balek is a reading buddy in the Y Readers Program, designed to help children in grades K-3 who currently read below grade level to improve their literacy skills and self-confidence.

Each week, Jeff follows the readers along in braille. For the kids, he’s living proof that any obstacle can be overcome.

He’s one of 500,000 YMCA volunteers across the country – of all ages and backgrounds – who are working with Ys in their communities to help people learn, grow and thrive.

(WATCH this special reading buddy below)


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