Sunday, August 9, 2009

I am a Federationist Forever !!!

In the last five weeks, I have been to the National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Detroit, MI; participated in the 3rd Annual March for Independence which officially kicks off the National Convention; was a mentor at Youth Slam 2009 on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, MD as well as the Youth March for Independence on our nation's capital in Washington D.C. which was proceeded by a rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

I have been a member of the National Federation of the Blind since 1996 when I attended the Colorado Cente for the Blind in Denver, CO.

Up until the last year or two, I freely admit I was a casual member. However, after personal experiences of discrimination and seeing my own children struggle in their efforts to achieve a quality education, I am now more determined than ever to help my children and others have a brighter future and opportunities I never had!

I am and forever will be proud to call myself a true Federationist!!! Who are we? NFB!!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Science Without Sight is Exciting !!!

Yesterday, Saturday, May 16, 2009 I had the unique opportunity, privilege and honor to be a mentor for an event hosted by the National Federation of the Blind of Utah and the Utah Organization of Parents of Blind Children held at the University of Utah.

I worked with three awesome fifth graders from Ogden, Utah, McKenna, Jade and David. We had a blast !!!

In the morning we worked with the Museum of Natural History and got to explore skulls from various animals and probed for clues as to their identity. We discussed differences in their teeth structure and what we thought their type of preferred prey was or the food they ate. We then played with tools for wood carving and drilling. It was difficult to get the hang of drilling in the wood blocks we were given but it was certainly fun. David sure got a quick grasp of that particular skill.

After a nice lunch, we worked with the Biology department and I must say for myself, the best part of the day. Although I was a tad scared, I got to hold a baby alligator for the very first time. The gator I got to know was so relaxed on my leg and in my arms, it reminded me of petting my small dog and he/she falling asleep on me feeling so relaxed. We also got to hold a hen. We learned some very unique tidbits about these creatures.

All in all, it was a most rewarding and awesome experience I will be talking about for a VERY long time !!!

Now, in less than 45 days it is off to Motown, Detroit Motor City baby for the National Federation of the Blind national convention and March for Independence !!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Well, it has been a couple days since my first post. I first want to wish all my friends and family that may read my blog, a very special, safe and most Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
I hope the New Year brings you happiness, joy, hope and most of all, a fresh start to make 2009 one of the best years of your lives..

In this post I am going to touch briefly about my beginnings and why 2008 was one of the most difficult years in recent memory for me.

I was born in Oklahoma City, OK in 1973. My family and I lived in Oklahoma for a few years during my formative years and was primarily raised in St. Louis, MO. I miss St, Louis. I have only been back home twice in the last 7 years. Ask anyone that truly knows me, I am still devoted to my St. Louis sports teams. So much, it sometimes drives my wife nuts. Now after a few moves over the years, we live in Salt Lake City, UT. My parents, however, still live in St. Louis.

The reason I named my blog "My Eyes are Wide Open" is due to the fact that I am blind. I do have some usable sight left, but do not know for how long. I have had visual limitations since birth and they have deteriorated over the years. I currently only have one actual living eye, which is on my left side. That is why to people's dismay, I do have a tendancy to run in to chairs, walls, even people wherever I go including in my workplace. Most people have no clue. They know I have somewhat obvious visual restraints but most likely do not know to what extent.

Therefore, the purpose of my blog is simple: To educate and inform the world that blind people are a part of society and we can do almost anything that a person without any sight impairments can, just with some minor alterations. I like the show, 'Little People, Big World". It is on TLC and showcases a family that lives with dwarfism. In the opening, they say they can do anything, just in a different way. That is my sentiment exactly.

In my daily life, to get wherever I need to go, I use a white cane and sometimes a guide dog. my guide dog's name is Tyson. In my workplace, I am on the compouter for 98% of my day. Therefore, because the computer is difficult to see, I use a screen magnification program and enlarged settings to assist me see things. For printed materials, I rely a great deal on audio and a handheld magnifier. Reading for any extended amount of time is very tedious and sometimes, very painful for me. I suffer from extreme headaches and have and have a severe sensitivity to light.

Now, earlier I mentioned that 2008 was a rough year for me.

My headaches have gotten worse and I am continuing to lose more sight on a daily basis. There are days I don't even want to get out of bed. In addition to all the mess with my eyes, I lost my best friend in the whole world. This past March, we lost my Uncle John to cancer. He was 50 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2007. Less than three months later, he was gone. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him or hear a song that we both loved. it has been very difficult for me to to cope with his loss. He wasn't just my uncle. He was a best friend, a role model, mentor and big brother. So, now I have come to do what I can to live my life to the fullest and not take anything for granted. It may take me another ten years to graduate with my degree, but I will do it. I know John is still by my side and will always be watching over me.

For he walks with the angels !!! We love you Uncle John and miss you !!! We will be together again !

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Have Arrived !!!

Ok, ok, ok. I get it already. I needed to join the blogging atmosphere. Now look folks, don't get used to this. I can guarantee you one and only one thing. I will update my newfound blog as much as possible but it may not be very often.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kevin. I am 35 years old (yes, some days I feel much much older) and I live with my wife and four adorable, crazy at times and mostly wild boys, ranging in ages from 7 down to 2. We live in the Sugarhouse surburban area of Salt Lake City, Utah.

I currently work in the hospitality industry and have worked in this field off and on for the last eleven years.

I am also a part-time college student working towards a degree in Accounting and Finance. However, my thoughts and ideas fluctuate toward different aspirations on a daily basis.

I don't want to say too much about myself at this point because my goal is to leave you yearning for more so that you will want to come back often.

Happy reading and we will see you on the flipside. Until this time, next time, may you and yours "Live long and prosper!"