14151 Farmington Road
Livonia, MI 48154
Jared Stofflett grew up reading books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children. Now he is a board member at Seedlings, which he credits for helping to give him the literacy skills he needed to become a software developer for Compuware.
Stofflett was born blind. His mother learned about Seedlings from the teacher of the visually impaired assigned to Jared when he was 7 months old. By the time he was 4, he was already reading braille.
As an elementary student, Jared read an estimated 75 to 100 books from Seedlings. His mother liked buying Jared books from Seedlings because they were affordable.
Seedlings also supplied braille books to the libraries of the schools Jared attended so he could check out books just like his sighted classmates. "As a parent, this was important to us," his mother said. "Seedlings provides an opportunity for literacy in a sighted world."
When Jared was in middle school, his teachers insisted he continue reading braille exclusively even though he could have used audio books for some subjects. He's glad they did. Without knowing how to read and write - skills impossible to learn by just listening to speech - Jared said he never would have been able to graduate from Michigan State University with a telecommunications degree.
On the job now, he uses braille to send emails and read and write documents. "I couldn't do my job without it," he said.