Today was a wonderful, fantastic day! Since the November New Employee Orientation was held on my second day of work, it was decided that I would wait until the December Orientation. Today was the day for that event. With about a dozen other people, I spent the day learning more about ABVI-Goodwill and hearing from directors and vice presidents and human resources personnel. As always happens when I learn about ABVI-Goodwill, I was so very, very impressed with the organization and thrilled to be a part of such a great mission.
Part of the Orientation included a tour of the ABVI-Goodwill facilities on Clinton Ave. This is where I work every day, so I thought I was fairly familiar with the plant. As we were touring, I kept being amazed at all the wonderful aspects of ABVI-Goodwill that are occurring in those buildings. There is manufacturing – sticky notes, memo pads, air force and coast guard clothing, and cleaning products. There is a beautiful, state of the art Contact Center – where our employees take calls and web-chat about all sorts of topics for the New York State and Federal Government and other contractors. There is a fulfillment center where requested information on various topics is mailed out to people all over the world. There is a food service area which feeds our employees, as well as supplying food to programs for children and the elderly. I learned a lot about the retail aspect of our organization – our Goodwill stores and how they help fulfill the mission. As we were touring, it began to seem like every nook and cranny of our building contains some fabulous place where people are working. And many, many, many of these people who are working are people who are blind or visually impaired.
As a person who, a year ago, was wondering if deteriorating vision would mean the end of any career I might have hoped for, the tour filled me with hope and excitement. Because of ABVI-Goodwill, I no longer have to fear that I will end up being unable to work. This fantastic organization, for which I am lucky enough to work, has so much to offer to people who are visually impaired and even people who are totally blind. I know in my mind and heart that I am in the best place for me to work. While touring ABVI-Goodwill today, I felt, once again, that I am living out the mission of the organization:
To prepare and empower people who are blind and visually impaired to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities.
I felt empowered today. I felt blessed. I feel like I have been given a great gift and now I want to work hard to give this gift to others. I want everyone to know that visual impairment does not have to be the end of the world, or the end of meaningful work, or the end of being able to make a contribution. There is life after vision loss, and it can be a really great life.