Your Business Tagline

LEARN MORE

My Blog

Lee Castillo, COMS/TVI Intern

by Sonja Biggs: Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2014 11:10 PM

Click Here to Add a Title

Sometimes people come into your life for just a short time. I had the privilege of working with Lee Castillo for the past year. Lee was an Orientation & Mobility Specialist and TVI Intern working with me at the San Benito County Office of Education. His students loved him very much as I did, too. He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed sharing his music with others. Lee passed away January 13, 2014. He will be missed by all who knew him. He brought joy into our lives and I would like to honor Lee here on my blog. A memorial fund has been set up in his name with the Community Foundation for San Benito County. 

Click Here to Add a Title

Donations can be sent made out to the Community Foundation for San Benito County with Lee Castillo Memorial Fund written in the Memo line of your check. You can mail your donation to: Community Foundation for San Benito County, 829 San Benito Street, Hollister, CA 95023. All proceeds will go to benefit the blind children in San Benito County, as Lee would have wanted if he were still with us in body. We carry his spirit in our hearts. He was a great man and I am proud to have known and worked with him.

Brandon's Dream

Sonja Biggs: Posted on Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:43 PM

Click this text to start editing. This block is a basic combination of a title and a paragraph. Use it to welcome visitors to your website, or explain a product or service without using an image. Try keeping the paragraph short and breaking off the text-only areas of your page to keep your website interesting to visitors.

Click Here to Add a Title

Our family just read your book and saw all the photos, 

what a compelling story! –Texas

Have been meaning to say the beautiful book arrived. It’s quite inspirational and the photos and text are great!–Washington

Click Here to Add a Title

Blind Cinderella Boy Becomes a Prince

Gilroy, California – April 28, 2013 – New children’s picture book inspires others through the story of a blind young man achieving his dream to be an actor and opera singer.

Brandon’s Dream tells the compelling story of a blind boy who has a dream of acting and singing on stage and how he achieves his dream through hard work, perseverance, and the full support of his family. The beautiful photos by Atom Biggs reveal the life of a young boy born blind who grows up with hopes and dreams just like every other little boy and who is achieving his dreams one step at a time.

A native of Washington State, Brandon was born in Spokane, WA and grew up in the Walla Walla Valley where he attended Dixie Elementary, Walla Walla High School, and was homeschooled. His grandparents are Dick and Shirl Phillips, active members of the Walla Walla community through their volunteer service to Ft. Walla Walla Museum, the Rose Society, and 4-H. Brandon began his acting career in middle school when he debuted in The Frog Prince and won awards for his monologues in speech contests. He received his first role in community theater through the Touchet Valley Arts Council’s “Oliver” where he was cast as Noah Claypole, the cowardly teenage bully. He was cast in TVAC’s “Beauty and the Beast” as the Prince and in WWCC Foundation’s “Cinderella” as a guard. Since then, Brandon has had numerous roles in musical theater throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Rolf in the Sound of Music, the Bishop in Les Miserables, and Ron Taylor in Bat Boy the Musical. Brandon has performed in two operas and one operetta, as well as numerous private vocal performances where he has delighted audiences with his beautiful bass-baritone voice. Brandon is currently pursuing a B.A. in Music with honors from California State University in Hayward, CA where he is studying vocal performance in opera. To find out more about Brandon you can visit www.brandonkeithbiggs.com and like his Facebook music page Brandon Keith Biggs.

Brandon’s mother, Sonja Biggs, is a native of Walla Walla graduating from Walla Walla High School in 1977. Sonja authored this delightful children’s picture book so others can be inspired by Brandon’s life and achievements in spite of the challenges he faces every day as a blind performer. “He is my inspiration and has pushed me to achieve in my own life,” says Mrs. Biggs. Sonja teaches other children who are blind and does independent evaluations throughout the state of California. You can find out more about Sonja at www.sonjabiggs.net or follow her blog at www.visionteachersonja.com. Brandon’s father, Atom Biggs, is a B.S.N Registered Nurse and professional photographer. While living in the Walla Walla Valley, he worked at Walla Walla General Hospital. His photographs in the San Francisco Bay Area show the action and beauty of the musical theater performances and provide quality headshots to the actors in the area. His photos can be viewed at www.atomsportraits.com. Joshua Biggs, Brandon’s younger brother, attended Dixie Elementary and Pioneer Middle School, as well as being homeschooled. He recently completed high school in his Junior year and has been accepted at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA where he is excited to return to Washington to pursue a B.A. in Game Design.

Brandon Biggs was born with a rare retinal blindness called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). There are 18 known gene mutations that are affected and Brandon’s gene is the CRB-1 gene. Brandon’s parents, together with other parents whose children have CRB-1 blindness, have joined together to create a foundation that raises money to find a cure for LCA-CRB-1. The Cure Retinal Blindness Foundation (www.crb1.org) consists of several families that are hosting a variety of fundraisers and the dollars raised are given to organizations doing the research into finding a cure for this particular blindness. All the proceeds from this book are donated for this purpose.

To purchase a hardbound, autographed copy of Brandon’s Dream, please send a check for $38.00 to Sonja Biggs, 7483 Dornoch Ct., Gilroy, CA 95020. Shipping is already included.

Sonja Biggs, MA, TVI, O&M: Posted on Friday, August 02, 2013 5:52 PM

Click Here to Add a Title

Sonja Phillips Biggs: Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2012 7:54 AM


What an amazing honor! I am so humbled by the support of my colleagues in the field of blindness. I work with an incredible team of people and without them nothing would be accomplished for children with visual impairments. It really does take a team to make a difference in the life of a child and we all have to work together. I am reminded of this daily as I work with the wonderful children who have visual impairments in California. Thank you, NCAER, and all of my colleagues.


Another surprise came when I was invited to the San Benito County Office of Education Board of Directors meeting. I thought I was just going to show them my NCAER award, but they surprised me with a special recognition award of their own for my service to the children in San Benito County who have visual impairments. Their affirming comments and attitude of gratefulness brought tears to my eyes. Again, I am reminded that it takes a team working together to make a difference and without the wonderful administrators, special education directors, parents, teachers, and para-educators, I would not be able to do the work I do. I love the people I work with and the students I work for! Thank you, San Benito County Office of Education!