Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Connecting the Dots Mission Possible: The Talking Information Center
...Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference."-Steve Jobs
"As it turns out, the only job we have available right now is with VIST. The mental health walk in coordinator job just got filled," the assistant chief of social work Jim Blair told me after my interview at the VA Outpatient Clinic in November 1988.
"But I have no experience working with people who are visually impaired," I replied.
"We'll train you," Jim said.
My favorite job in my social worker career was as the Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator at the VA. I could use my marketing/public relations background with my masters degree in social work. My veterans taught me and I supported them in their adjustment to vision loss. We took field trips together and they opened my eyes to what it means to live life with strength and courage coping with the loss of the gift of sight.
Part of my job in helping veterans cope with vision loss was to make referrals to community resources that would support them to feel as independent and empowered as they could.
The Talking Information Center's mission is to broadcast information to inspire, empower and motivate the print impaired community. It was a way for my veterans to have access to newspapers, periodicals, consumer information and a wide range of programming through a radio that only required an on/off and volume button.
Fast forward to May 5, 2014 when through a friend of a friend's Facebook feed I discover that a visually impaired runner qualifies for Boston!
Randy Pierce went on to be a guest on The Talking Information Center's Mission Possible Show. Randy's work supports the New Hampshire Association for the Blind and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I tweeted about his interview.
TIC reached out to me and asked if I would like to be a guest on Mission Possible.
On Monday, I took a tour of the agency that had made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many of my veterans. Sarah and John shared with me that a listener survey indicated that one of their favorite programs was the reading of the supermarket circulars each week so they could express their preferences to their significant others of what they would like to buy on sale each week. It's the little things in life that can make such a difference between feeling victimized by life's circumstances and feeling empowered to manage whatever life may set before us.
Sarah had done her research and posed questions that would allow me to share my journey and my message of healing, hope and possibility with ease.
She had covered the 2014 Boston Marathon for TIC and met members of Team With a Vision of Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She mentioned on air and off how inspiring it is to watch runners cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I could see that a spark was lit within her. She knew that if I had the courage and fortitude to run the Boston Marathon, so could she.
Coincidentally, I worked closely with the Mass Association for the Blind when I worked at the VA only it was called Vision Foundation at the time. One of my dear sweet veterans was a volunteer there for many, many years.
I am now connected with visually impaired athletes on Facebook and in real life.
I am thrilled to be going to Randy's Peak Potential Gala on 11/22.
It's beautiful to watch the dots connect as the beautiful tapestry of our lives is revealed.
You can listen to the podcast of my interview on Sound Cloud Mission Possible - Mary McManus.
My memoir, "Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility" is now available on Amazon.
"Wait, I have one more goal," Mary McManus told her personal trainer in February of 2008 shortly after coming out of her toe up leg brace. "I want to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab Hospital." Mary traded in her polio shoes for running shoes and embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Mary McManus was at the height of her career as a VA social worker when she was told by her team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s International Rehab Center for Polio in December of 2006 that she needed to quit her job if she had any hope of preventing the progression of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease. In “Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing, Hope and Possibility” Mary takes you on her seven year healing odyssey as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma from her diagnosis, to taking a leap of faith to leave her award winning career at the VA to heal her life and follow her passion as a poet and writer. You’ll experience her trials, tribulations and triumphs as she trains for and crosses the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon and discovers the opportunity for healing in the wake of new trauma: the suicide of her nephew in 2011, and the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This is Mary's journey of coming home to her human form free from the influences of the ghastly ghostly invaders who had invaded her sacred earthly home. Her memoir includes journals and blog posts from her seven year healing odyssey. This is her journey of transformation and her message of healing, hope and possibility.
I donate 50% of royalty payments through on line sales to The One Fund to help Boston Marathon survivors and their families. Copies are also available at Brookline Marathon Sports. $5 of each book sold at Marathon Sports is donated to The One Fund.