By Sr. Betty
Seems a bit early in the year to get an invite for graduation, but this is a very special invite. The truth is that after teaching 8th grade for 10 years and then being a principal for 20 years I have been to more than my fair share of graduations. Yet, I am honored, privileged, and even excited to be invited to this graduation, of our client Ana*. Ana and I met in spring of 2017. She was recommended to Taller de Jose from a nearby clinic.
Ana recently arrived in Chicago from Kansas. Ana was a victim of a crime that left her 90% blind at age 30. Accompanying her to doctor’s appointments and other engagements was and is a challenge. As a former principal and current Compañera I am pretty exposed to a variety of people in this wonderful city of Chicago, but working with clients who are blind is a very heartfelt, sensitive, and difficult concern personally.
In March 2018 Ana was accepted as a student at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind. As she explained it, the program is a yearlong program. She is currently studying braille, industrial arts, orientation and mobility, ADL – activities of daily living, and technology.
This coming March, will be the big graduation. It is time to move along and get a job. I asked her, what is your job going to be? She told me, I’ll open my own barber shop in Kansas! My response: Oh! How is that going to work? Yes, she will run the shop and hire fantastic barbers! Yes, her dream will come true! Ana has adjusted to so much in her life and moved forward in spite of impossible difficulties.
I am honored to walk with Ana to appointments. It is an honor to be able to attend her graduation – as she has no family in Chicago. I will try to communicate with her family and congratulate them on this momentous occasion for their daughter! Ana is the best! Also, I thank Ana for helping me to accept the challenge to become a better Compañera! Gracias!
*client name and details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.