It's My Job Podcast Episode 24
Music Audio description: First slide introduction of interviewer and interviewee. MUSIC Jose: Welcome, to episode number 24 of the It's My Job podcast this is Jose I am a transition student Jose: from Colorado and my teacher Mrs. Christine DaLee is the podcast facilitator the It's my job Jose: podcast features students interviewing adults who are blind or visually impaired Jose: asking important questions like how they use technology and how they connect with Jose: other people stay tuned after the podcast to hear how to get involved and please Jose: share with your friends and teachers so they can listen too now for the interview I'm interviewing Jose: Penn Street an outreach director from the audio information net of Colorado also Jose: a host of a weekly interview show called after sight. Let's listen to the interview Audio description: New slide with Penn's picture. Jose: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Penn: Absolutely I work as the development and outreach director for audio information network of Colorado and I have been Penn: there now about six months before that I had my dream career I was the outreach director for no Penn: barriers USA which is a non-profit that Eric Weimer started uh 20 years ago I think and Penn: Eric was the first blind person to summit mount Everest but besides work I love to downhill ski Penn: I've already been a couple times this this winter I love love love to listen to books I love to hike Penn: I'm very outdoorsy type of person I am the ninth of 10 children I have seven older brothers Penn: an older sister and a younger sister so I was I've basically been a tomboy since Penn: before I was born with seven older brothers I kind of I didn't have a choice in that matter so Penn: I come from a big family and yeah I just I really like being around people covid was Penn: very difficult for me because of that and also I lost my job during covid so um but I think just Penn: with my attitude and I kept busy where I could you know still getting through that awesome at Jose: What age did you start losing your sight and what caused you to lose your sight? Penn: So, it's not a fun story but when I was nine I was bit by a western diamondback rattlesnake and the between the venom Penn: the anti-venom the venom the medications they gave me to save my life it triggered a syndrome Penn: called Stevens Johnson syndrome the acronym was SJS and at that time the fatality rate was 75 Penn: and they basically told my parents I would not make it so the next morning and if I did it wasn't Penn: from anything that they did and 75 of my body was covered in second and third degree burns Penn: I was treated in a burn unit and little did they know my tomboy spirit I stopped you know I tought Penn: and I obviously survived all of my soft tissue was affected and compromised and so my eyes are the Penn: the most obvious my eyes don't look like other people's eyes but it's most it's and actually Penn: I think of my disability is not my visual disability it's my it's my heart and my lungs and all the Penn: soft tissue my body my joints and things like that so but I've outlived every every time they told me Penn: you know my heart was gonna give out or you know I would have to be on oxygen for the rest of Penn: my life or a feeding tube on the rest of my life and those kinds of things but so far knock on wood Penn: I've you know and I think I've gotten through that and it was a big transition for me because I was a Penn: tomboy I was always out climbing trees and playing baseball and doing gymnastics and super active my Penn: mom had to you know pretty much sit on me to put a dress on me because I prefer to have my Penn: my boots and my jeans on and it was a big transition losing my vision but with just a Penn: lot of amazing incredible people just like your your teacher there that's sitting with you Jose Penn: wonderful people come into our lives and you know open doors for us and we have to make the Penn: choice to walk through them or not but I did you know and and I chose to embrace my new life as Penn: somebody who had a lot of medical issues but definitely the vision issue you know it took Penn: me a long time before I was allowed to go back to school and going from you know print reading Penn: you know student making straight a's to learning braille and trying to learn to use my residual Penn: vision it was it was hard it was really hard but I did it and I'm thankful that I stuck with it Penn: and it actually you know made me who I am today. Jose: How did you adapt to this change? Penn: I guess it was just my tenacity I really like I remember this when I was in still in the Penn: hospital I was finally released from ICU but I was in a you know still the sort of the trauma Penn: area of the hospital and the nurses ask my mom you know that I was going to have to go through Penn: these you know huge transitions learn to use a cane and learn different new skills and what Penn: would be something that they could do to kind of help trent do some onboarding and transition while Penn: was still in the hospital and my mom said the biggest thing was going to be reading because I Penn: read everything I could get my hands on loved reading checked out all the books I could in the Penn: library you know as one of those little brainy kids the nurses on their own went out and got a Penn: cassette player that was tactile probably through I was in Arkansas at the time so it was probably Penn: like the Arkansas talking book library or one of those and they brought me in an audible book and Penn: it was a little house in the big woods by Laura Ingalls wilder I listened to that cassette Penn: over and over and over again and really realized that you know things are going to be different Penn: and like I said you know I just had just really incredible people like those nurses you know I Penn: had really awesome teachers and coaches and things like that and I'm a lot older than you Jose so Penn: they didn't have a lot of the awesome technology things they have now you know it was very old Penn: school you know the slate and stylus which I don't even know students even use that anymore I learned Penn: the advocates you know just things like that but I think that that really helped with the building Penn: blocks that helped me later to learn other things that adaptive equipment and things like that yeah Penn: I wish I had learned with braille but I was sort of in that transition of braille readers to more Penn: audio I didn't have anybody that really pushed me into sticking I know braille but if I Penn: had to order off a menu at a restaurant I'd probably starve to death before I could figure it out but I know Penn: enough that I can function but I wish I had stuck with it so that I was I could read a book Penn: or even I do a lot of public speaking and to be able to read my notes fast enough that Penn: I actually that it was more useful for me. Jose: What kind of education do you need to perform your job?
Penn: the job I have now it's actually ongoing education I take classes online I do a lot of conferences Penn: as a development and outreach director I also have to do a lot of public speaking Penn: everything from things like this over zoom to before the pandemic I talked in front of crowds of Penn: you know a thousand plus people I have to talk to donors that I'm hoping to get you know money from Penn: to help support the organizations that I work with so as far as education goes I actually Penn: went to school and got my degree in early education and special education I wanted to Penn: become a teacher and just things happened and I ended up working in the non-profit world you know Penn: I did teach independent living skills for seniors that were 55 and older I would go into their homes Penn: and teach them independent living skills so I did use some of my you know actual schooling Penn: for my career um but really what I do now and have been doing for the past you know couple of decades Penn: is that community outreach and development but everything that I've learned up to this point like Penn: is they I really do believe that all of those things I learned help impact and help me make Penn: so you know make me successful now but things like you know you I need to have really good Penn: people skills I need to know math is very important I deal with a lot of budgets I need to Penn: know a lot of adaptive skills on the computer so that I can research a donor before I go out Penn: and interview them I do a lot of event planning all those kinds of things are different skills Penn: writing skills language skills so even though you even if you do end up going to college for Penn: something and you don't necessarily go directly into that field I feel that the act of learning Penn: and absorbing that information and being around other people that are in a you know you're all Penn: learning and trying to get into adulthood and become independent I think all of those things Penn: even if you end up in a different field all of those things are really important. what made you Jose: What made you choose this career and what is your favorite part about your job? Penn: I chose this career because Jose I'm sure you've heard the statistics 75 I think it's somewhere Penn: around 75 percent of blind and visually impaired adults are either unemployed or underemployed Penn: and so when I was desperately looking for a job I knew somebody who knew somebody and there was Penn: an opening they gave me a chance even though it you know my background was not in working with Penn: seniors teaching them independent living skills I taught kids preschoolers you know kind skills and Penn: things like that but I never worked with senior citizens but they gave me a shot they offered me Penn: the job and I fell in love with it and I felt also fell in love with working in the non-profit Penn: world and then when I lost that job because of the I was in a grant program and once the grant Penn: ran out I had to look for another job and again I just you know somebody I knew somebody who knew Penn: somebody and they offered me a job in a very similar field and then I met Eric Weimeier. Eric Penn: totally changed my life he's just an incredible guy and but he really showed me that Penn: you know just because you don't have to settle and I did love my job and I loved my career and I Penn: loved what I was doing but I something was missing and so Eric got me involved with no barriers as a Penn: volunteer so I was still working full-time and then I was volunteering and I kept working Penn: more and more hours for Eric they ended up making me an incredible offer for a job and that's when Penn: I got into more of the development and outreach which is what I what I've been doing for the past Penn: 15 years that was if you'd have told me when I was your age that I would be doing public speaking Penn: and um bringing in you know money for these non-profits like what I'm doing now I never Penn: would have believed you because I just didn't I thought I was going to be you know an elementary Penn: school teacher um working with special ed kiddos and that was going to be my life that would have Penn: been awesome that's what I wanted to do and then so when I met Eric I got to do amazing Penn: things you know I did a lot of climbing I rafted the Grand Canyon I took a group of high Penn: school students that were blind and visually impaired we rafted the entire Grand Canyon and Penn: so that working for no bears just opened a door I never even knew existed I absolutely loved it and Penn: I thought I was going to be there until I retired but coveted hit and um you know again you know my Penn: path transitioned and I freaked out again you know I was like oh my gosh I'm a blind person you Penn: know the whole world is looking for a job you know it was it was who I knew the executive director Penn: reached out to me and I found out about this position was open with Audio Information network Penn: of Colorado I interviewed and interviewed again I think there was four interviews total Penn: and I made it to the final round got interviewed by the staff and and they chose me and it's it's Penn: just been an incredible incredible la you know the last six months working with them has been Penn: wonderful so what do I like I love everything about it I it's I feel honored and I do feel Penn: privileged that I actually do have a job you know as because so many of us don't. Jose: Tell us a Jose: little bit about your podcast and what hard and soft technology do you use to edit your podcasts? Penn: the my podcast is called after site and it's all one word a-f-t-e-r-s-i-g-h-t and it's on all of Penn: the platforms like spotify apple and I know that I think that's on google but you can also listen Penn: to it through audio information network of Colorado on your smart speaker or on their Penn: website so after site I was at actually asked to do it and again this is something if somebody Penn: would have told me that I had my own podcast a few months ago I never would have believed it because Penn: it wasn't something that was even on my radar but AINC asked me if I would do it because they Penn: really wanted test the waters about new ways that people get information because it's not just the Penn: sighted people that aren't you know they're not reading newspapers anymore that's why a lot of the Penn: newspapers are going under and don't exist anymore AINC wants to remain relevant and so and I listen Penn: to podcasts I love listening to podcasts so they ask me and and I have a lot of connections with Penn: um the community with the blind and visually impaired community and so they asked me if I Penn: would do it and I said yes and we threw around a lot of different names and some of them were Penn: pretty goofy and we they kind of landed on after sight I interview people in the community that Penn: have stories to share or they have a career that is unusual for somebody who's blind and visually Penn: impaired or I've interviewed people that are you know activists for and advocates for people Penn: who are blind and visually impaired I interviewed Gail Hamilton who is a blind opera singer so it's Penn: a huge range of people and and I love it you know I get to do the easy part I get to do what you're Penn: doing Jose is you get to meet people and talk with them and keep it pretty casual and then it's Penn: nice because with me I just upload the audio file to AINC and so I'm lucky I don't have to Penn: do a lot on the back end of it and the other parts of my team created the intro and the outro and Penn: even the music that goes with it I've been very fortunate to have a team of people who actually Penn: know what they're doing um i just get to have to do the fun stuff which is the actual interview Penn: what accessibility tools do you use to take care of your house I'm very tactile Penn: and audible and like I'm sure a lot of us are if we if we still have our hearing is Penn: so like I bump dots on everything um I have really good labels on everything I'm super Penn: organized you know so like my cleaning solutions and I also have an everybody tells me I have the Penn: nose of a blood hound like some I guess people who lose their vision their hearing gets better which Penn: mine didn't because of the SJS but my nose is like phenomenal so like I can smell a cleaner and I Penn: know if it's windex or if it's you know to clean the sink with or the countertops or the floor Penn: I'm kind of a neat freak but it's because I know if I'm organized in my home it makes my life so Penn: much more efficient because if I know I need to I want to wear this blazer you know in this pair Penn: of slack to this meeting I want to know that when I go to my closet I can go right to it I don't Penn: want I don't want you know if we if we're hunting for things or all the time or things are messy it Penn: just takes so much more effort and I would rather use that effort for something fun like going for a Penn: hike instead of cleaning out my closet so I try I try really hard I do have a guide dog because Penn: of my SJS I have to have a standard poodle so I'm a guide dog user he's a poodle so he doesn't shed Penn: and I have some special knives that I actually bought that are specifically for people who are Penn: blind and visually impaired that are super sharp but I love them because it has the I don't even Penn: know what they're called I don't even know if they make them anymore but they have this little Penn: so you can't actually cut yourself there's like a separate little metal thing next to the knife but Penn: you can make it thicker or thinner so if you're cutting bread or meat or cheeses even vegetables Penn: you can set it so to the thickness or thinness that you want it's a great great great tool Penn: and then all of my spices I have them labeled so that I can tactfully know what they are and Penn: a lot of the recipes I use um I just ask my smart speaker or I like allrecipes.com and no
Penn: there and it's nice because a lot of them now are in video but they're really odd Penn: really they're like oh put the salt in now but usually they'll tell you they tell you how much Penn: we have a pretty big yard and even though I love being outside I do not like yard work I don't like Penn: pulling weeds I don't like I like picking berries and I like picking the vegetables Penn: after they're grown but as far as like digging up the ground so that my husband does that Penn: so but I've been talking scale in the bath you know the thermometer or thermostat for Penn: the house is a smart thermostat so it's really easy for me to set it um and if we go you know Penn: we're going out of town I can turn it down you know I have a lot of things that and my keys Penn: I all have all my keys so they're tactile so as soon as I feel it I know oh this one Penn: What accommodations does your job provide to you? Jose: It's amazing and I will be honest AINC is the very Penn: very first place that I have ever worked and I've worked at a lot of places that from the interview Penn: process well actually even from filling out the application to my first day of work everything Penn: was accessible the way it's supposed to be and I've told kind man wardlow who is the executive Penn: director there that she really should write a book about accessibility in the workplace but they Penn: might my computer because I do have some residual vision and so I asked for kind asked me after I got Penn: hired what equipment that did I need you know I have a list which you should always have a list Penn: of things that you need when you start a job not only did they have it when I showed up Penn: the very first day of work it was there i did it wasn't like it took like a week to get it after Penn: I started or I had to try some things out that kind of thing it was all there including the key Penn: to my office she had already had it marked and they even got they got a talking microwave nobody Penn: knows how to use it and I and I told her it was very sweet but I did not need a talking microwave Penn: I could use the regular one with them if they put some bump dots on it but AINC went above Penn: and beyond so everything is marked everything is accessible even to the lighting the chair Penn: that I sit in so not just being not just my vision issues but making sure that I have because if I Penn: am going to use my residual vision I have to be really close to my screen so things like my Penn: chair can't have arms on it because if it has arms on it keeps me from going as close as I need Penn: to the desk so just everything was accommodations I use zoomtext and zoomtext reader on my computer Penn: that was already loaded in my in my system when I they asked me to do the podcast they made Penn: sure that the studio was completely set up and accessible for me and you know they put zoomtext Penn: and now Evan also uses the studio so they also put Jaws in there everything was accessible like so he Penn: built AINC so that people who are blind and visually impaired could work there Penn: so that's very very very different versus almost every job I've ever had up to this point Penn: not only was I the only blind and visually impaired person working there I was the very Penn: first blind and visually impaired person to work there so sometimes you got to be the pioneer and raise that bar for the next person well in that it's also amazing to work somewhere that i can use Penn: my like I can use my skills and I don't have to worry about oh my gosh I'm not going to have Penn: access to this document or it's going to take me a hundred times longer to learn Penn: this where I can just focus on my skills and what I'm there to do my job I don't Penn: have to have this almost this whole second job trying to figure out how I'm going to do my job Penn: and it's such a difference it's it's so much more relaxing and less stressful knowing that Penn: people have your back and they and they want you to be successful. Jose: What are your professional goals after your current position? Penn: well I'm hoping this is the position that I'm going Penn: to keep but you know history history tells me that you don't know what's around the corner as far as Penn: professional goals i would like to grow you know and do more for AINC like doing things like um Penn: you know creating this incredible successful podcast for them we're going to hopefully it'll Penn: all come together but do an accessible cooking show and it'll be on Facebook live and um so Penn: then people can pay to come in and eat what we're cooking what we've cooked so it'll be a win-win Penn: for everybody it'll be educational it'll be fun because I don't want to do anything that's not fun Penn: and also use it as a fundraiser and who knows if it takes off it might be something that we do Penn: regularly my goals are to really think outside the box with AINC and um and so yeah I'm Penn: excited for what the future holds for me at AIN. I'm hoping I'm there for a very long long time Jose: Do you have any questions for me because? I am open to you. AUDIO DESCRIPTION: New slide on how to contact us? MUSIC Jose: It's Jose again thanks for listening to the latest episode of the It's My Job podcast what Jose: do you think would you like to have a career as an outreach director no the audio information Jose: network of colorado and if you have any questions for penn let us know you can share your thoughts Jose: via email or our Facebook page and if you have any questions for pin we would be happy Jose: to pass them along and we might even share your questions and answers in a future episode of the Jose: It's my job podcast my address is ask is my job at gmail.com again that's a-s-k-i-t-s-m-y-j-o-b
Jose: at gmail.com no spaces and no apostrophe are you new to the it's my job podcast Jose: if so welcome we want you to know that you can find us on Facebook just search for Jose: it is my job each of our episodes is on the Perkins path for technology Jose: blog check out sounds and leave us a comment at perkinslearning.org Jose: technology and finally we have a YouTube channel called it is my job if you missed episode number Jose: 23 head over to YouTube or Facebook to listen to Keaton's interview with Jeff this was our 24th Jose: episode but we want to make many more but we need your help if you are a student Jose: who is blind or visually impaired and would like to be an interviewer please have your teacher Jose: your parents or teacher contact us via email or our Facebook page and if you are an adult who is Jose: blind or visually impaired and would like to be an interview interviewee please contact us via Jose: email or our Facebook page and we will get you matched up with an interviewer. AUDIO DESCRIPTION: Last slide reads credits
Jose: we have a lot to be thankful for in this episode thanks so much Penn Street for taking Jose: her time as the interviewee this interview was facilitated by my teacher Mrs. Christine DaLee Jose: thank you Mrs. DaLee for providing students with meaningful opportunities for our future careers Jose: thanks to Perkins path for technology for the blog posts our music is from purpleplanet.com we hope
Jose: that this podcast is a great opportunity to learn from each other and increase awareness about all Jose: about all the amazing jobs that are being done by people who are blind or visually impaired. AUDIO