Submitted by Empish Thomas, Public Education Coordinator
On Thursday, July 18th, CVI was abuzz with 12 school-age children spending the day with their parents, step-parents, and extended family members. CVI celebrated Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This program was launched nationally 20 years ago to expose children to their parent’s careers and place of employment. Ixora Becerra, CVI’s Human Resources Director, planned a jammed-pack day of activities for the children to enjoy.
The Day started off with watching a video about CVI and touring the facility. The children got to learn about all of our services and programs. One of the most “coolest” stops along the tour was visiting the VisAbility Store. Lisa Pope, Director of Retail Operations, showed the children the various toys and games that visually impaired children can play with. “Ms. Lisa showed us all the cool toys in the store and gave us CVI bears,” said Yisrael Becerra, Ixora’s son. During the morning, they also met with Anisio Correia, VP of Programs, and his guide dog Olly. “My niece, Shannon Lyons, said that she learned that it was important not to touch or speak to a service dog when their harness is on,” said Heather Ferro, Employment Specialist.
Before having a great lunch at Chick fil-A, in the AT&T building next door, the children visited the STARS Program. Lorenzo Powell, STARS Counselor, shared how visually impaired children are very similar to sighted children. “Thanks to my uncle Lorenzo for choosing me to be the family member he wanted to tour,” Said Lauryn Newman, Lorenzo’s niece. “It was great and I hope to come back to volunteer and help with the kids.”
After learning about school-age visually impaired children the group was off to the New View Rehabilitation Program. Ernest Burton, Orientation & Mobility Instructor, demonstrated how to use a white cane and used simulator goggles so that the children could understand various levels of vision loss. “I was so happy to bring my daughter, Sage to CVI with me. She received great exposure to visual impairments that she would never have gotten elsewhere and that’s valuable,” said Alyssa Reiss, Accounting Assistant.
Later in the afternoon the children sang songs with Jacque Howard, BEGIN teacher and music therapist. “Mrs. Jacque taught us things about sounds and music,” said Eva Becerra, Ixorra's daughter. “You taught me that people who are blind are not so different from people that have sight.”
At the end of the day, the children left CVI with a better understanding of not only what their parents and relatives do for a living but also about people with visual impairments. “Thank you so much for the tour today. It was very interesting and amazing. I learned about different things and found out that visually impaired people can do things just as good as or better than people with regular/normal eye sight,” said Lauryn Newman, Lorenzo’s niece.