I recently had 2 weeks with electronic glasses. Glasses that had the potential to change my view on the world, and myself. As is typical for me, I thought the process through, deliberated on the pros and cons, hesitated, and then jumped in with both feet, despite not being able to see where I might land. I may not have known where I would end up, but I knew what I wanted to see along the way. I had a list written out on bold lined paper with my black marker. This list included fun things such as seeing the city of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower, playing video and board games and going to a museum. It included practical things like grocery shopping, reading menus, and using a computer. It also included sentimental things like watching my guide dog play in the park, seeing friend’s faces, and looking at photographs. The list I could not write up was what I would learn along the way.
I have been employed in the non-profit sector for the past twenty years. I worked in the employment field, helping job seekers with barriers to prepare for, find and keep employment. My current position with Volunteer Ottawa involves assisting our member organizations to recruit volunteers. I also manage a group of volunteer public speakers who represent V.O. in the community. Occasionally, I facilitate workshops for people looking for volunteer opportunities.
I was born with limited vision. Thankfully adaptive technology, education and a strong support system have helped me to conquer the barriers that visual impairment imposes. As I have some sight, my visual impairment creates very few limitations at work.
As a teenager, I felt excluded as many of my peers were already working and I was not. A wise high school guidance counselor suggested that volunteering would be a good alternative. Her sage advice helped me to develop the skills, experience, references and above all, the confidence that I needed to eventually take my own place in the world of work. Continue reading