Originally published in the Queens Gazette on May 17, 2017
Yuet Yuen Chao (aka “Charlie”) is legally blind. Born in China in 1933, he spent his early adulthood in Cuba and then lived briefly in Miami in 1961 before relocating to California and then settling in New York. While he was in Miami, he suffered retinal detachment that ultimately caused him to become legally blind. He has undergone multiple surgeries, however he remains legally blind.
Now a resident of Queens Village, Charlie has been employed since 2005 by the former New York City Industries for the blind (NYCIB, now called Alphapointe NY). Alphapointe (www.alphapointeny.org) is a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization focused on providing job opportunities for individuals who are legally blind. Like Charlie, many of these individuals work in Alphapointe’s own operations, which include manufacturing, contract sewing, product assembly, warehousing and fulfillment, and call center operations. Others are assisted by Alphapointe in training for and securing positions in other organizations. Charlie has worked as a packer and sealer in Alphapointe’s needlecraft department. A dedicated employee, he wakes up at 4 a.m. to take a series of buses and subways to arrive at work on time every day. His fluency in both Chinese and Spanish and his working knowledge of English have helped him establish strong relationships with his coworkers (nearly half of Alphapointe’s workers speak Chinese or Spanish), and a lengthy career at Alphapointe. That success was recently acknowledged when Charlie received the “I Make It Happen Award,” a peer- and supervisor-nominated award that recognizes performance, teamwork and personal development and is presented quarterly to an individual who displays a positive attitude, supports Alphapointe and its mission and acts as a role model to all employees.
Charlie’s supervisors describe him as a model employee and vital part of the Alphapointe family, and say he does a great job maintaining a good work flow in his assembly activities and is always willing to help others whether they be from within or outside of his department. He always maintains a positive attitude and is an extremely reliable, dependable and punctual person.
Today, Charlie is married and the proud father of three sons and grandfather of four grandsons. He enjoys dancing, especially the cha-cha, playing the flute and playing mahjongg. He says he is very happy to be working at Alphapointe and is always willing to help co-workers.
Read full article from the Queens Gazette