The Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired celebrates the graduation of Angelica Rios from the American Massage & Bodywork Institute on Friday, March 17. Angelica has had an incredible journey from her birth in Peru to graduation day.  At the age of 27, Rios was a victim of a terrorist attack that claimed the life of her son and caused major physical injury to herself, including the loss of vision.  

Through the years that followed, Angelica continued to live and raise a family.  It wasn’t until 2016 that she chose to chase her dream of independence and a career of her own.  She reached out to the American Massage & Bodywork Institute and spoke with Scott Deidun, Co-owner, President, and CEO about the type of support she could receive.  “Upon meeting Angelica, she told me about her history, and it made me want to help her more and more. Having a disabled niece, I knew that all you want is for people to treat you normally and to give you a chance. Angelica told me that she wanted to be more independent, and to be able to provide for herself, but that the only job she has had in the states was folding silverware in cloth napkins at a restaurant for minimum wage,” stated Deidun.  “In front of me was a person on a mission for a better life because she knew she was capable of more. English wasn’t Angelica’s first language, and she can’t see anything, but her heart is as big as a basketball, and she had such a strong desire to help others, and be a role model for the visually impaired community.” 

After their meeting, Deidun contacted the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to find out what support could be provided to Rios within their program. Through their collaboration, Rios is graduating from the 7-month program to become a licensed massage therapist in the Northern Virginia area.  The ceremony will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on March 17 at the American Massage & Bodywork Institute, 1593 Spring Hill Rd, Suite 210 (East Concourse), Vienna, VA 22182. 

The Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired is committed to provide quality services to assist Virginians who are blind, deafblind or vision impaired in achieving their maximum level of employment, education, and personal independence. The department provides an array of specialized services to blind and visually impaired Virginians of all ages to assist them in attaining the skills, confidence and positive outlook that are critical to independence.

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