Things have been in quiet in my neck of the woods lately. Okay, okay, maybe quiet isn’t the right word, but as I’ve been transitioning into my new office and role, things have appeared quiet on the blog front. But today I was inspired, and it’s my hope, this post will leave you inspired, too!
As a reminder, I’m a promotions director for WYXB and WIBC in Indianapolis; you can catch up on that announcement here. Today I had the opportunity to attend my first client visit at Bosma Enterprises in Indianapolis.
Bosma has been a client of WIBC’s since before my time, and through my return, I’ve quickly been charged with coordinating promotions for their three part business luncheon series. While booking rentals, creating registration/events pages, and drafting press announcements, I’ve gained a shallow knowledge about Bosma. It was today at the on-site meeting that I realized how much Bosma’s services benefit the community, and how much potential they have to benefit me personally.
If you haven’t clicked on their website above yet, let me reiterate what their homepage says, “Creating opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.”
I won’t do their organization justice, so click on the link and get educated! But in a very succinct statement, Bosma supports the blind and low-vision community by providing training and guidance to help those affected gain confidence and succeed in work and in life. Now that I’ve given you a snapshot of Bosma, let me explain my personal connection to this cause.
Science Kid Caiden was born at 25 weeks gestation, so for the people who are terrible with numbers (no judgement from me, I use a calculator for everything!), he was 15 weeks early when he was born. Coming in at a whopping 2 lbs. 2 oz., he fought for life. Infants born that prematurely often run into various complications, that being the case for us. One of the complications we ran into after 1 month in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), was that Caiden’s retinas were detaching, aka Retinopathy of Prematurity. Inaction to keep his retinas attached would have resulted in total blindness, so the decision was made to undergo laser surgery. In our instance, we were quite blessed. Caiden, at 11 years old, can see and is functioning in high ability classes at his school. That said, his vision is quite poor with glasses, and we don’t anticipate any corrective surgeries will resolve that in the future.
Now, we’re also lucky to live in an amazing community with a phenomenal school district. Caiden loves school and learning, and has a team of teachers around him that are able to optimize supportive services to ensure that his vision doesn’t limit his understanding or educational experience. Through magnifiers, software that enlarges computer text and an iPad, he is able to enlarge books, lessons on the board and anything he’s looking at to a size where he can comfortably see and process the material. Trust me when I say we don’t take these resources for granted. Not every school system is as well-versed in technology, nor does every school system have technology as an accessible resource.
Now, back to today. While walking around before the meeting started, I noticed the sidewalks had stairs, ramps and trip hazards all on the same path. It wasn’t until I looked up and started reading the signs that I realized this was intentionally designed as a way to train those with visual impairments/total blindness in navigating their surroundings. As this meeting progressed, I continued to be more and more in awe of this organization when I learned of their STEP program, Student Training and Employment Program.
This application-based program invites high school students who are blind or visually impaired to explore career paths and develop a portfolio, despite any visual limitations. While you can read more about the program on their website, as a parent, I can’t tell you what this kind of program means. It’s a tough realization when life reminds you that you won’t always be able to fight your children’s battles for them, and when it comes to his visual limitations, my son knows a reality I simply don’t. While I wish I could trade place with him, in our house we believe that God creates people and situations as he sees fit. We trust that we are who we are, perfectly imperfect, for a reason. But organizations like Bosma that advocate on behalf of equal opportunity and empowerment of disenfranchised factions truly change lives. Their STEP program would help train my son and prepare him for entry into the post high school world where mom isn’t always around to help him navigate his surroundings. It would build his confidence and awareness, and furthermore, it would do so in an environment where he’s surrounded by others who have a firsthand understanding of his situation.
I don’t know if this cause means anything to you, but if it does, get involved! There are a few ways to do that, some more expensive than others, so here are a few options:
- Join me, alongside WIBC and Bosma Enterprises for the Business Leadership Luncheon on Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Emmis Communications. It’s free to attend, FREE to attend, and limited to the first 100 people. Hurry in!
- Attend an event! Bosma hosts a few different events, some more expensive than others, but all for a great cause. I’m especially looking forward to attending their Dining in the Dark event this April, themed Roaring Twenties! Check out their upcoming events, here.
- Lastly, find a way to learn more. Knowledge is power, and I can tell you that even as a mom to a visual impaired little guy, I still don’t always understand the world through his eyes. Visit their website and consider how you may be able to support such a wonderful organization.
For the few that stuck with me through this long post, thank you! I know it was a long one, but I can’t shake the wonderful feeling of work colliding with passion and impact. Here’s to finding creative ways to get involved and make the world a better place for those around us!