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As a first-time guide runner, it was really fun to be able to be a part of the community of Team With a Vision. I’ve run the Boston Marathon 6 times before, and saw it in a whole new light this time.
Since 1972 I have been teaching at the college level and pursuing my research interests. My volunteer makes it possible for me to read primary texts in the original Russian – the book we are working on may be my foremost contribution to the field. Yet she insists she gets as much from the experience as I do.
My volunteer came on primarily as a volunteer to read. Later she helped me do things like Christmas shopping for the family. As time went by the volunteerism developed into a friendship as well. She became involved in our lives in many other ways. We attended her three sons’ bar mitzvahs and weddings and she’s been with us for 38 years now.
I have macular degeneration. When I first lost my vision it felt almost impossible for me to do things in my house. But slowly I learned to adapt. Nancy from MAB marked my microwave oven and remote control with raised dots so I can use them. She helped me sign up for talking books and The Ride for transportation. And I joined a support group. I’ve been part of it for so long that now I am the leader.
Up until the early 90s my wife took care of our mail, paid the bills, and read my mail to me, but that became a trial and it wasn’t helpful to our relationship, so I took over the checkbook. I started paying the bills, and I got a volunteer to help me do it all."
You are helping those who are less fortunate. You’re bringing joy to hearts that could be filled with sorrow. You are fulfilling the various dreams of those who felt it was impossible to have dreams and believe. I know that from just my experience and my lifetime. Just having people that cared a little bit, that said to me even though you are blind you are blessed to be given that challenge to do far better than you could even imagine.
- Stevie Wonder
Qualifying for Boston was one of the highlights of my running career because it meant I got to run in one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. It was a dream come true, but my experience with Team With a Vision trumped the marathon.
I was so excited when I found out about large print playing cards and bingo cards. Now I can play bridge again! I’m also part of a knitting group, and I wear a magnifying glass around my neck so I can see the knitting needles. We’re making hats for our soldiers in the Middle East.
There is so much paperwork in this world and so many deadlines to meet…financial aid forms, tax returns, health insurance. I’m a single parent and a working professional. My volunteer enables me to live as any other adult lives, without compromising my privacy, without revealing to friends and family the content of my bank account or how much is in my paycheck.
My volunteer started helping me when she was 28 and she’s 45 now. I went to her wedding, her husband’s funeral; she comes now every December and we write all our Christmas cards together. We have a 17 year relationship. I’ve been truly blessed by the relationships I’ve developed through the volunteer program because a lot of the folks who volunteered for me are still in my life as friends.