How do you bring Wayfinder Family Services’ mission to life?
My staff is dedicated to being mentors in and out of workshops… to lending an ear when one is needed… and to connecting students to the resources we can’t provide. We are meeting the needs that will lead students to their own self-determination.
What does being a Wayfinder mean to you?
Until I was 3 years old, when the Education for All Handicapped Children Act passed in 1975, I wasn’t guaranteed an education because I had a disability. My parents insisted the local elementary school enroll me in kindergarten then, even though I was only 3. It was a three-year process for me to get into the Peace Corps because I needed medical clearances related to my disability. Having pushed ahead into new things, and now working with young people with vision loss, reminds me of a quote from Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Can you share one of your favorite Wayfinder moments?
To me, a Wayfinder moment is when tenacity and resilience triumph over tough odds. I had a Wayfinder moment when I was in the Peace Corps in Belize. We couldn’t distribute the policy and procedures manual we had written for special education because the cost of paper was so high. And you could never assume a principal had Internet access. The solution was the underground market in DVDs. We convinced the largest bootlegger in the country to help the kids. He burned copies of the special education manual and other important files and forms onto CDs and gave us the envelopes for free to distribute the manual around the country.
October 3, 2018