My life has been dramatically changed as a result of my training here at EmpowerTech. I used to wonder if training would work for me. I can truly say now without a shadow of a doubt that it has. There were many days when a good solution would be to just get up and walk out the class. It wasn’t mine to do, but if it was my equipment, I would have thrown the monitor and tower up against the wall and that would have been an easy solution. But along came Judy and Chris. They would encourage me to “hang on.” Now I can run Windows with complete confidence. I have also learned programs such as Talking Typing Teacher, Outlook, Zoom Tech, and how to navigate the internet. More has to be learned, but the windows are now opening to allow me the possibility to explore other horizons.
Here is my story:
I have some severe hearing and vision issues that I have lived with since November 2005. I have only one functioning ear and one semi-functioning eye. After many years of adjusting to these disabilities, there came a time when I felt that I needed to return to life and the working world. At that time, I approached Vocational Rehab to assist me in the possibility of doing this, and they sent me to EmpowerTech in December 2011. This is where the power of EmpowerTech came into play. Working on a computer before I was stricken with these disabilities was a breeze in my life. Even then, my only use of computers was for the usage of a computer program for music only as I was a recording engineer for about 18 years. I didn’t even use computers for e-mails, only the music program itself.
Upon arriving, it didn’t take me long to see what was happening here. I was greeted by Judy who made me feel quite at home here as she gave me a tour of the facility. With the vision I have, I was able to “see” two impressive class labs. On entering class for the first day, I was introduced to the other students, people who continue to be iconic in my life. They gave me hope that I could do this too. They shared the success about what they had learned here at EmpowerTech. This showed me what I could look forward to.
The instructors Judy and Chris are great. Judy was a think tank, and wanted to work as hard as she could to insure at all times that students find a solution. It was apparent that she was skilled at what she was doing, and she was always friendly to the students. Her relentless pursuit to stay in front of the monitor to get a solution is inspiring. Then there is Chris. I nicknamed him early on as Bill Gates Jr. Sitting with Chris is truly a learning experience. He works really well in group training and has an amazing way of multi-tasking. He makes sure all of the students understand the concept behind what we are doing.
Next, there is Keith, a former student and current Board President. He shared with me that whatever I wanted to accomplish was possible here. Unlike Judy and Chris, he can’t get up and see the monitor. So, he has an amazing way to see the monitor and keys based off his experience. One of many amazing things about him is that, as being blind himself, he can ask the students if they need something, and he usually has access to it. If it is not in the class, he either downloads it or, in most cases, brings it from home. What makes him shine is that he constantly brings in new products that the students can use either in the class, at home, or on the go. EmpowerTech’s volunteer, Cameron, also provides a wealth of experience and knowhow. He has an amazing way of making each student feel at home. He moves around the class at will and can help students at any given moment.
Approaching my 1 year at EmpowerTech, it all feels like it was worth it. I, as well as many other students here, am now running on auto pilot with complete confidence in the Windows world. Now I can bring my laptop into class having graduated from the tower and work in complete confidence. I am looking forward to stepping into some Recording Studios and watch my comrades’ mouths drop with what the power of what the PC world has to offer. All do in part to what the talented staff here at EmpowerTech have provided. In closing, I would like to tell you something I learned around the second week upon attending classes here. My heroes are my fellow students that are blind and told me, “What I see, just might get in the way!”
Thank you William for your story! We hope it will inspire others to give EmpowerTech a chance and enroll. If you want to donate to help EmpowerTech continue changing lives, please visit: