World Services for the Blind staff is always delighted to hear about the successes and career journeys of former clients, because ultimately, it’s the reason that we are all here doing what we do. Recently, one of our alumni, Desmond West, wrote a letter to our case manager Terry Stevenson about what he’s been doing since graduating from the Assistive Technology Instructor program at WSB, and he’s been very successful. But before we share his letter of success some background on Desmond’s journey to WSB is needed.
At the end of his training in March 2013 at CVI, Desmond’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor along with other VR Counselors agreed he needed additional training and recommended WSB. There was some hesitation about traveling to an unknown city with a visual impairment, but after talking it over with some of the staff members of New View, Desmond decided to attend and enter the ATI Program. He was excited but this is when the real challenges began. He was given 48 hours to leave for Little Rock for the next 9-months. Then Greyhound lost his luggage with all his clothes except what he was currently wearing at the time. He also lost all his medications that were inside the lost luggage and no pharmacy took his insurance. While taking classes at WSB he struggled with his diet and as a result his vision fluctuated; causing him to switch technology from screen magnification to screen readers. If that wasn’t enough he spent a week in the hospital suffering from mini strokes which was occurring about 6 times a day. He believes that thanks to God’s grace and mercy he was able to finish the program at WSB.
Towards the end of the ATI program he learned through networking there was a position open at CVI for an Assistive Technology Assistant Instructor. He submitted his resume and contacted his Vocational Rehab Counselor to enquire about the possibility of working as an intern. The first of January 2015 he was hired on as an intern and became full time 2 months later.
Now that you have the background on Desmond’s journey, here’s his letter that he sent to Terry, published with his permission:
“It's been 4 1/2 months now [since graduating] and I'm still here at CVI as the Assistive Technology Assistant Instructor. Things are going really well. On average I have about 7 students in PC at a time. It can be challenging at times, but the training I gained from WSB really prepared me for the position I am currently working in. In the classroom, the students are taught the basics of MS Word, Excel, Outlook, Internet and File management. The courses taught by Rachel, Rebecca, Alice and later Dean were the key to a smooth transition from the classroom setting into my position. The most important part of the training I received was learning how to teach others. That lesson has played a very important role in my field. I am so grateful that I hung in there and finished the race. Not only am I the PC assistant instructor, I am also the head IOS training instructor. The class consists of a small group of IPhone or iPad user numbering from 1 to 4 students at a time. I am really enjoying what I am doing and looking forward to returning to college for a degree to further my opportunities. I will be going to a senior citizens facility in a few weeks to give a presentation on the use of the IPhone/IPad.”
We are so happy for Desmond and wish him all the best as he continues to pursue his passion for teaching blind and visually impaired clients. The Mission of World Services for the Blind is empowering adults who are blind or visually impaired in the United States and around the world to achieve sustainable independence.
Editor’s note: a portion of this blog post was reprinted with permission from the WSB Insider Newsletter August 10, 2015 edition.