Blind Abilities Teen Correspondent, Simon Bonenfant, chats with Cheryl Cummings and Ruth Kahn, representing an after school and career exploration program in Boston for middle and high school students who are blind or low vision. the Our Space Our Place program takes advantage of a variety of activities to promote social interaction and networking among the students, including the arts, theatre, dance, poetry and many more.
The founder and Director is Cheryl Cummings, who shares her story about how she came to start this meaningful program. Cheryl went Blind at age 13 as a result of encephalitis from a mosquito bite, but adapted, finished high school and went on to Princeton University in New Jersey. She explains why she went there and how she had to get out from under the loving, but very protective hold of her family in Chicago.
Not only did she graduate from this distinguished Ivey League school, but she went on to graduate school in Boston. What happened then?
Just as Cheryl had her future in focus and had so much going for her, she returned to Washington, DC to begin a job search in her field of choice, International Relations, but her efforts were in vein.
“no one would hire me” says Cheryl, who eventually applied for, and only after persistent bugging of their employment office, was hired by the Peace Corps, and embarked on a two year assignment in the Dominican Republic. Impressive? Yes! The end of the story? No.
When she returned to the states, she met her soon to be husband, moved back to Boston and began working for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. And it was there that she realized she needed to start an after school and career exploration program. As Cheryl thought about how difficult it was to get a job in her chosen field, she said to herself, “What can we do to make this not happen to other blind people?” and the Our Space Our Place program concept was born.
Following his discussion with Cheryl, Simon chats with Ruth Kahn, a professional audio describer, who speaks about her experience in the field. Ruth also informs us of an upcoming special event, in which she will describe the actions on and around the stage of a live performance of the Urban Nutcracker Ballet. The session will be dynamic and interactive, and will also involve Ruth guiding the students in describing themselves and the activities as well.
Be sure to listen in as Simon delves into the startup of this after-school program and how Cheryl led the organization through applying for 501(c)(3) status, securing space and getting up and running.
Check out this fascinating event, slated for the afternoons of April 20 -23. The ballet will be available for viewing on Zoom to any Blind or low vision individuals anywhere in the World.
You can find out more about this event, and about the Our Space Our Place program on the web.
or you can send an email to President@OurSpaceOurPlace.Org.
or you can call 617-459-4084
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group