Executive Director and Founder, Blind
Ms. Lapp lost her sight at age 14 as the result of an automobile accident. “I cried for 5 minutes and then it was over.” Originally from Circleville, OH, she graduated from Ft. Pierce High School with honors and a 4.0 GPA. She went on to earn an A.S. in Psychology from Valencia State College. She has worked with children from pre-school through middle school on reading, spelling, math, language skills as well as learning skills for the handicapped and visually impaired and blind. She helped organize seven chapters of the National Federation of the Blind in Florida and was President of two of them. Ms. Lapp served as vice chair on several committees at the state level. Along with her husband Bill, who is also visually impaired, Ms. Lapp created Florida Outreach Center for the Blind in 2003 because she felt the area of Palm Beach and surrounding counties needed a place where visually impaired people could go to be taught the skills that were necessary for success and independence. It is Ms. Lapp’s belief that students can benefit from the perspective and insight of a blind person and will respond well and more rapidly to someone who knows first-hand what they are experiencing and has successfully met the challenge. Ms. Lapp directs all phases of the operation of FOCB, at the direction of the Board. All staff reports directly to her.
Carolyn, who lost her sight at age fourteen, realized that although there were services available for blind and visually impaired people, there were simply not enough direct services to go around in Palm Beach and surrounding counties.
Bookkeeper and Instructor, Visually Impaired
Mr. Pacius comes to FOCB with skills in accounting and computer information systems. He completed his undergraduate at Mercer County College and Rider University in New Jersey and obtained his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is fluent in French and Spanish. He is proficient in many forms of business software and use of the internet. Prior to joining FOCB, he held auditing and financially related positions with Holiday Inn, Copeland Companies and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In addition to his duties as bookkeeper, he also provides instruction in various skills to visually impaired students for whom English is not their primary language.
Computer Technology Specialist, Blind
Mr. Goldfield is a specialist in computer software applications as well as in customer and vendor relations. He received his A.S. Degree in Computer Information Systems from Palm Beach State College. While at PBSC, he taught students in the use of desktop software applications. He then worked as a Customer Service Resolution Specialist for Office Depot and advanced to Account Manager. At FOCB, Mr. Goldfield instructs students in all phases of computer technology for the visually impaired and blind.
Maria (Luz) Norris
Instructor, Braille & Independent Living Skills, Blind
Ms. Norris is known as “Luz” to her friends and family. She was born with myopia, has glaucoma in her left eye and a detached retina in both eyes. She has been totally blind since 1987 due to a surgical procedure to attach her retinas. She has a degree in education from Caldas University in Columbia and has supplemented that degree with courses at Palm Beach State College and the Hadley School for the Blind. Prior to becoming employed with FOCB as an instructor in Braille and Independent Livings Skills, she taught those subjects at Lighthouse for the Blind as a volunteer.
Sight Aids and Volunteer, Visually Impaired
Mr. Lapp has done it all. From working as a merchant marine on the Great Lakes to a three month hiking journey on the Appalachian Trail. From captain of a cross-country skiing team to hitchhiking across America. From landscaping to working at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. And all the while being severely visually impaired. Originally from upstate New York, he finally settled down in Florida more than 3o years ago when he met his wife, Carolyn. Mr. Lapp assists Carolyn in operating FOCB. In addition, he is a representative for Magnifying America, a company that provides low vision aids and is an authorized vendor for the Veterans Administration and the Florida Division of Blind Services. Through a special arrangement, FOCB displays a variety of low vision aids for purchase.