Sherry has been blind since birth, wears prosthetic eyes and is hearing impaired. She is a Braille reader, a JAWS user and an expert white cane user.
Sherry came to Vermont from Missouri in April of 2013 with nothing but two suitcases and a broken ankle. She had followed her ex-husband who had custody of her children, so she could establish and execute visitation rights.
While staying at Jen’s motel, Sherry was referred to and applied for DBVI services. She enrolled in the Homemaker program and received services and aids to further her goal of managing her household and caring for herself and her children.
Those services included hearing aids, Rehabilitation Teaching, Low Vision aids and Orientation and Mobility services.
After reaching her goals in the homemaker program, which included moving into an efficiency apartment and receiving treatment for chronic back pain, Sherry decided that she was ready for gainful employment.
She had limited work experience and wanted to move forward in her life, so she enrolled in DBVI’s VR program in July of 2015. Since then, she has worked in partnership with her DBVI Rehabilitation Counselor and VABIR job development services in preparation for her first work experience.
In December of 2015, Sherry moved from her efficiency into a one bedroom apartment to make visitation from her children easier.
In her new program, Sherry received many services with which to increase her independence and enable her to work toward employment.
She received an assistive technology evaluation, a refurbished computer through Resource, an updated JAWS program, a bar code reader, a Brailler, Open Book Optical Character Recognition software and a Pearl camera. She also received iPhone training from DBVI’s technology trainer who helped Sherry download several helpful apps. With the help of the DBVI and VABIR teams, Sherry began a work experience in May of 2016 with Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires, Inc. in Rutland. Her job was hanging clothes. She did so well that they hired her. However, she needed a Vermont Nondriver ID.
After a great deal of red tape navigation, Sherry received her ID just in time for her hire date. In an email received from Thomas Kessop Jr., Rutland Goodwill manager in July of 2016, he had this to say;
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and your staff for placing Sherry with our organization. Sherry fits right in, extremely hard working and an excellent team player. We are proud that we can call her one of our employees. The truth is we are here to change lives, but Sherry has changed many of ours. She is an asset to us.”
Since her hire, Sherry’s job has expanded to cleaning up the sales floor, sorting donations, matching shoes, greeting at the door and bagging.
She received an award as Employee of the week in September of 2016 and will be receiving a more formal award for outstanding work ethic. Amidst all this, in July of 2016, Sherry underwent corrective surgery to better align her prosthetic eyes.
Then in the early part of October of 2016, Sherry’s daughter moved in with her and they are now searching for larger accommodations.
Sherry’s new status amongst the employed enables her to afford many of the comforts of life that before were out of reach.