Jacqueline H

At the Tri County Association for the Blind, I worked with members of the blind community, along with people that have a slight mental disability. Before I started my work with the Tri County Association for the Blind, I had never directly worked with someone who was blind. The person that I worked with most of the time was totally blind and had cerebral palsy; his name was John. Obviously, if you are blind, normal tasks that people with sight can do are ten times harder to do without your vision. Going into my service learning I knew that most, if not all, of the people that I was going to be working with were blind, however I took for granted the simple everyday tasks that I can do because I can see. The jobs that we were given to do seemed so simple and mundane to do, however if someone who could not see was given the task, it may be very difficult or near impossible to do.
Tri County has a few different benefits that they offered their members. First, it gave then a place where they could meet and befriend other people with the same disability. It is also a place where everyone is tolerant of people’s disability and they do not have to worry about people treating them differently; every member of the community is given the same opportunities. Thirdly because being blind is such a life changing disability, from my experience talking to make people at Tri County, it seems hard for many people with this disability to find a good job. Tri County gives people with a disability an opportunity to work and make money. Lastly, Tri County gives students and members of the community the opportunity to work at Tri County and interact with people that have a disability.
I feel that it I was given more of an opportunity to work the people at Tri County, then I could have contributed more. However with the little time I did get to spend with John at Tri County, I think that we both tough each other something. I think that I showed John that there are many people that want to learn about people with a disability and want to help. Also before I came to Tri County, John was not every talkative, so I think that I somewhat brought him out of his shell. When I was there but working on different jobs, I could see that John was talking to the people around him. It is great to know that I helped John in some way.
Because people that are blind do not look like they have a disability, I do not think that they face the same problems that other people with disabilities do; however they do have their own problems. I think one of the largest problems that people without sight face are the lack of jobs they are offered. Because being able to see if such a large factor in people’s lives, it thusly effects what tasks they can and can not perform. Directly relating to the type of job they can hold. Also I think that getting around every day is a huge problem for people that are blind. Without the sense of sight, many different every day things like tying your shoe, driving a car, or cooking is almost impossible to do without help from someone else. Along that idea, another problem they face is the fact that they are dependent on someone else to do certain things for them. Being dependent on someone every day can be very trying on both the person helping and the person being helped. That situation can be very hard on people.
I think that my service learning has helped me understand my reading in class more. Without the overall experience, talking to people with a disability, and interacting with people with a disability; the experience that characters in stories we read in class to go though, for example Lionel in Motherless Brooklyn or Oly in Geek Love, do not seem as real or make as much sense. After going to Tri County and seeing the people that worked there and being part of the community, the characters in many of the stories make more sense. I was able to understand what the character with a disability goes through more and also how the character with out the disability feels in the situation as well. This service learning experience was very helpful to me and I wish that I was able to do more with the people at Tri County.

When Alicia, Amanda, and I got to Tri County Danette wasn’t there again and another women took us back to the mailroom. I fed papers into a folding machine, Alicia took the folded papers out if the machine, and Amanda folded papers into thirds. That took about an hour. The rest of the time we stuffed the papers into envelops.
My whole visit this week was very pointless. We had no interaction with anyone. I was very upset and disappointed. The whole point of service learning is to be able to interact with people and basically every time we go it is just Alicia, Amanda, and I together.
Because we did not have any interaction, I can’t relate this to anything we learned. I think that overall I haven’t learned anything from this experience because I haven’t really had an experience like the other groups.

When we first got there Danette was waiting for us at the door. She gave us the Tri County Association news letter to put into envelops and stamp so that they could be sent out. Once we finished with that Bob came over and gave us a few options for our last 15 minutes there. I went back to working with John. This time we were making yellow highlighters.

For most of our time at Tri County this week Amanda, Alicia and I were working together and not interacting with anyone else. A few people came over and said hi, however that was it. It wasn’t until our last 15 minutes that we were able to have some interaction. Having worked with John before, I knew some things about him. For basically those 15 minutes we talked about music and about his trip he is taking to Texas in two weeks. Whenever John talked about music he always gets very excited and tries to tell you everything he can about it. I think that it is awesome that he loves music that much. He says that he can feel the music and the vibrations that the speakers give off when he listens to it. It really makes me think what my life would be like without having my sights and relaying so much on my other senses.

Due to the fact that we didn’t have that much interaction with anyone, there isn’t really much that I can relate to my readings. However, I do think that it is somewhat demeaning the way the Danette speaks to the people there and interacts with them. She came on once and was talking about how she had an extra ticket to a speaker about how children learn. There was one man that was showing interested and she completely shut him down because he didn’t have any children. This is a perfect example of how people treat people with disabilities. Just because he doesn’t have children doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be able to go. I think that it is very rude the way she treated him.

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