Julia & Juliette: A volunteer and a VI dancer’s bond

Hi! I’m Julia Wiener and I love MABVI!

I’ve been volunteering for a year now, ever since a Teen Community Service fair at the Chestnut Hill Mall. I remember looking around at all the different programs, and signing up for just about everything. However, I have a very busy schedule with school, sports and extracurricular activities that take up a great deal of my day. As each organization responded, I was disappointed to realize that I didn’t have time for anything. I soon realized how flexible MABVI is. Any couple of hours that were convenient for me, worked with them!

Before being matched up, I remember thinking, “Okay, I’ll just be helping someone out once a week.” This is true, but my expectations were very much exceeded. I really enjoyed helping my match and found myself making more and more time for MABVI volunteering.

I was set up with a woman named Juliette. I still meet her at the library, once a week for two hours. I help her check her e-mail, grade papers and write quizzes for the ESL class she teaches, and with any other small tasks with which she needs assistance. This has shown me how tasks that seem simple to me, such as checking my e-mail, can be very difficult for some people. I no longer take for granted my eyesight, and I’m so happy for the opportunity to share it.

As an individual, Juliette really impresses me. She is a visually impaired belly dance choreographer, which is so cool! She organizes performances and I help her put things up on Facebook and on belly dance group calendars. She’s even used her dance troupe for fundraisers. Her disability doesn’t stop her from anything! She’s so nice and easy to talk to. When I first met her, I was actually surprised. Juliette doesn’t have a cane, and I likely wouldn’t have recognized her as visually impaired.

Julia (left) volunteers for Juliette.

Julia (left) volunteers for Juliette.

Juliette once told me about her visual impairment; she lost a lot of her eyesight from ages 10 to 20. I can’t even imagine how terrifying that is, to see less and less over time, especially when you’re trying to grow up and go through high school and college. She’s explained that when she looks at me, everything is blurry. She can focus in on my eyes, but the rest of my face hazes out. I find Juliette so strong and interesting. Sometimes we just get sidetracked and start talking about the most random things! She’s really fun to be around.

I still meet with Juliette every week and look forward to spending time with her and at MABVI throughout the next year until I head off to college. Being set up with a match led me to what I’m doing this summer: volunteering at Perkins and MABHab in addition to MABVI. Some of the people I work with at MABHab are mentally disabled so we work on things like cooking and drawing pictures. Last week we had a fashion show which was very cute. I have met some of the sweetest and most incredible people through these volunteer opportunities, all thanks to MABVI!

Post written by Julia, MABVI Volunteer.

This entry was posted in Volunteering and tagged , , , by mabvi. Bookmark the permalink.

About mabvi

Pressing Need The number of seniors with low vision is expected to double by 2030, as the “baby boomers” experience sight loss such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Low vision makes it difficult to complete activities of daily living, puts elders at increased risk of falls, and complicates health care compliance. There is a pressing need for low vision services today more than ever, to ensure people with vision loss can continue to live the lives they want. Elders are the fastest-growing and most vulnerable population of persons with sight loss. Four of the five major causes of blindness are directly related to the aging process: age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. According to data published by the Commission for the Blind and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, there are an estimated 105,000 elders in Massachusetts with serious sight loss who cannot receive state-funded services because they are not “legally blind.” Nevertheless, their vision impairment is serious, and without appropriate intervention, can have a devastating impact on their independence.

1 thought on “Julia & Juliette: A volunteer and a VI dancer’s bond

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s