Friday, June 19, 2009
Columbia, SC, Mission Outreach and Children's Chaplaincy
Slim (my long, white cane) and I are pictured here with Nancy Moore and her guide dog Luna to my left, and Audrey Gunter with her guide dog Zack to my right. They serve respectively as President and Immediate Past President of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users.
Yesterday, Music by Laurel Jean was honored to appear with Dixie Land Guide Dog Users at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind Summer Teen Program, held at the Ellen Beach Mack Center for the Blind in Colombia, SC. Eleven teens, along with Commission faculty and staff (both blind and sighted) shared an afternoon of music, entertainment and lively conversation.
We listened as our younger blind brothers and sisters shared their goals with us. Some expressed interest in radio broadcasting and communication; one young man looks forward to being a groundskeeper; one young lady hopes to be a fashion designer; and another dreams of flying for the first time on a commercial airplane.
We discussed some of the challenges we face as members of the blindness community, and laughed at the silly things that some sighted folks have said to us.
We encouraged the kids to use whatever mobility tool each chooses (a long, white cane; a guide dog; or a sighted “human guide”) competently and confidently. My fellow Dixie Landers and I believe that the key to educating the sighted community is a more active presence of the blindness community in the community-at-large.
Thanks to my technical assistant, Arleigh Baker, for his help with the creation of accessible handouts for the kids.
All of us are looking forward to making more visits such as these in an effort to encourage our blind brothers and sisters of all ages!
Thank you, for your ongoing prayers and support!
God bless you, and keep His Song in your heart!
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A Little About Me
- Laurel Jean
- God continues to bless me with a busy and fulfilling life. Even after thirty-plus years, my music and ministry keep going and growing. Blind from birth, I am n avid user of Braille and the long, white cane, in addition to a variety of mainstream and access technology. While my blindness does not define me, I consider it to be a unique gift from God. With this gift comes my opportunity to serve as an advocate on behalf of my fellow members of the Blindness community, living and serving among blind and sighted folks of all ages, on all walks of life. To learn more about my music, ministry and outreach, please visit my Web site, and be sure to stay tuned to my Blog!