Independence Now Honors Word Sight Day with A Reflection on Lighting Your Path by Rochelle Harrod, Independence Now’s Independent Living Specialist for Prince George’s County.
Lighting Your Path began on April 10, 2019. It was birthed out of our consumers who are Blind and Visually Impaired expressing the need for a peer group that could address the unique needs of the blind and visually impaired community. The group was designed to be peer-run, co-facilitated by Independence Now staff. Anjeanette, Barbara, and Angela are consumers that facilitate with me.
Anjeanette feels that Lighting Your Path has helped her to grow by giving access to new opportunities and services. Being a part of it makes her happy because she “gets to come out of [her] shell and practice public speaking, as well as make new friends.” Angela believes, “It has been a wonderful experience being a part of the Lighting our Path support group. Having a chance to fellowship with the members has enlightened my day every month that we get together. There is always new information to share. In the time of the new norm, I have found solace in our meeting place. Some persons would not have companionship if it were not for our group. I applaud Rochelle Harrod and Independence NOW for starting this wonderful enlightening treasure.”
All topics addressed are necessities that members have expressed interest in. Barbara states, “In the beginning when we were able to meet face to face, I found it to be an informative and wonderful experience. Since the pandemic and we’re doing everything through Zoom and dial-up, I found that it has not lost its touch. We still have guest speakers, informative dialogue, and more participation.”
So, we are very grateful for community stakeholders and service providers that have come out to present and share information about their services. We have had wonderful workshops and informational sessions done by Maryland Technology Assistance Program, the American Council of the Blind, Metropolitan Washington Ear, and National Federation of the Blind. We would also like to give a special thank you to Sharon Payne of Able Services and Lift Vision Services for her excellent service and expertise. She always keeps us in the know with orientation and mobility training.
In keeping with that foundation, we are honored to have the Office of Blind and Visual Impairment Services of Maryland DORS present on October 14 at 1pm in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month. Join us as we openly discuss the benefits and challenges of Employment as people with visual impairments.