Mark Tadder has been hired as the Blindness Advocacy Resource Officer by the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living (NNCIL). In this role, Tadder works with blind people or those with vision disabilities to give them information and resources to help them live more independent lives.
“Losing your vision can really affect your confidence and what you do,” he says. “Our program is designed to not only give people resources, but also peers they can spend time with and learn from.”
Tadder was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease as a child, so he knew to prepare for it. In the meantime, he accelerated his activities to include rock climbing, skiing and filmmaking. After graduating from high school, he started college, but then decided to spend a year backpacking throughout Australia and other south Pacific countries instead.
He eventually earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, and then went to work for Enterprise Rent-A-Car where he became an expert in airport operations. During that time, he also married his wife, Stephanie and welcomed daughter Amber to the family.
As his vision was progressively growing worse, he started an in-home web consulting company and became primary caregiver to their new son, Ryan. Tadder lost his vision completely in 2014.
In researching solutions for himself, he received Mobility, Braille and Computer screen reader training from the State of Nevada’s Rehabilitation Division. And after attending his first National Federation for the Blind convention in 2015, he fully realized the value of the organization and its rejection of society’s often low expectations for the blind, so he joined the Nevada chapter. He is currently serving as the president of the Northern Nevada chapter and recently started his first term as the Nevada Affiliate Vice-President in 2018. He also led the creation of the Sierra Nevada Transportation Coalition to research and create transportation programs for people with disabilities, seniors and people living in poverty in Northern Nevada.
Tadder is excited about sharing the skills he has learned with others, so that blindness and vision disabilities do not stop them from living the lives they want. The NNCIL Blind Resources program includes social, recreation, career, technology and other areas that will be determined by the participants themselves. “We’re here for them,” Tadder says. “When they bring up a need, we’ll see what we can do to address it.”
For more information on NNCIL’s Blind Resource program, visit nncil.org/vision-life-skills or call 775-353-3599.