I know some of my colleagues stated that they felt their turn came round rather quickly. I on the other hand feel as if it has been months since my last entry, that’s probably because I have had some career defining changes over the last few weeks or so. To cut a very long story short, since my last entry I'm now no longer an intern, but a project co-ordinator collaboration directorate for Thomas Pocklington Trust, working in the collaboration team.
The last 2 weeks have been incredibly busy for me, all of which have been valuable and no doubt will stand me in good stead, in improving and gaining useful skills needed to be successful in this post.
Over the last 4 months it has been an honour to work alongside some inspirational people in organising the East London Vision Sight and Information Day, which I'm now pleased to report went smoothly and rather successfully. Although, I was shall we say, a little frustrated in the lack of donations we received from shops and well-known companies. I approached about 60 shops and organisations. Sadly many of them refused us on the basis that they were aiding other charities. Though Boots in Wood Green were fantastic, the Entertainer and Nandos in Westfield Stratford were also extremely generous, to name a few. Lloyd's banking Group who volunteered at the event itself and match funded us up to £500 have been tremendously generous and a pleasure to work with.
At the East London Vision table I had the opportunity of demonstrating the iPhone, which I sincerely hope people found useful. I even managed to get a few tweets out there, not to mention to do a bit of networking. One of my colleagues has something special coming up in regards to the Sight and Information Day, so I shall leave the rest to her, but can I just add, the cakes on the day were to die for and our sincere thanks to everyone who donated.
Thirty nine children with differing disabilities, who attend 6 mainstream schools in East London, gathered at Marion Richardson School, to take part in a day of multiple sporting activities and to celebrate sporting accomplishments.
I had the honour of talking to year 6 and year 5 students. I must admit I was a little frightened, as I felt I may not have their full attention and they may choose not to listen. However, they were so engrossed and genuinely interested in every word I uttered, which was rather pleasant. Predictably I spoke glowingly about sports and in particular Blind cricket and how it changed my life for the better. I then spoke and demonstrated the importance of Braille and education, displaying medication boxes and books, which were written in Braille. The Year 6 students had the unique opportunity of receiving some vital tips on how to guide Vision Impaired people.
The presentation ended with an half an hour Q&A session, surprisingly I had a bucketful of questions to answer and later on at lunch time, the same children had further enquiries and questions for me. I believe, they wanted to know more about how to guide and in general how to communicate with a Vision Impaired person. I did explain that ELVis offer such a service and it would be our pleasure to offer VI Awareness training to Year 5 and year 6 students in the future free of charge. We’d be happy to deliver such a session to any School and I know Schools tend to have Non- Uniform days or sports days where they raise funds for activities and charities. I suggested to the teachers, to perhaps use one of these days, to raise funds for ELVis in return for our Vision Impairment Awareness Training. I know the staff certainly supported this idea and I do hope Schools take this offer up!
The day ended with a medal ceremony, where I was required to give a short speech, in which I spoke about dealing with sight loss, breaking barriers in order to achieve my goals and my experiences of playing for the England Blind Cricket Team. I also underlined the importance of having aspirations and that anyone, regardless of their disability can achieve their dreams, as long as they work hard for it. Finally I had the absolute privilege of handing out medals to all participants and to children who had volunteered on the day. I deem this visit to be successful, as I had the chance to do a little bit of networking during the lunch break, which will allow me to visit other Schools in the upcoming months.
I'm passionate about visiting the local communities in East London, in order to speak to Children, parents/Guardians, teachers and schools to discover and encourage Vision Impaired Children to register with ELVis and Metro Blind Sport. Through my work for Change Foundation, formally known as Cricket For Change, I had the opportunity to visit mainstream schools that contain VI Units. And it was so sad to learn that during PE lessons Vision Impaired children sat on the side-line whilst their peers played sports and got the benefits of physical exercise. In my personal opinion, I would have had a better standard of education at a mainstream School, but the lack of sports and social activities may have had a negative effect on me and for this reason alone I’m pleased that I attended a specialist school, where I was given the opportunity to study, learn living skills and take part in sporting and physical activities.
I believe with the help of Thomas Pocklington Trust and Metro Blind Sport, we will be able to reach out to younger VI people in order to involve them in sporting - social activities and consequently improve the quality of life for them.
Until next time, kind regards