Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Martin, Access News Volunteer Reader
I first connected with Society for the Blind four years ago when I started a Vision Support Group at Sun City Roseville where I live. My husband, Bud Gardner, has macular degeneration, so to help him and other residents here with low vision issues, I invited SIP manager Kathleen Shevlin to give a presentation to the group on all the resources provided by Society for the Blind. They were thrilled to learn about the workshops, news access, and other services which could help open them up to a world they thought they had lost forever.
When I learned about the volunteers who do Access News, I knew I wanted to participate so I could give back to the organization which had given so much to me and the residents at Sun City Roseville. The skills I’ve honed along my past career as a teacher, author, TV producer/host, Internet radio co-host, and videographer are a perfect match for contributing to Access News. Years ago, when I used to audition for TV commercials, I would be given a script and had to read it cold, with no practice ahead of time. And as a TV host, I read the teleprompter as my show was being taped. I’ve also recorded stories for Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, a book for which my husband is one of the co-authors. So, recording the news for Access News comes naturally to me.
At a workshop on Kitchen Safety that Kathleen organized for us at Sun City Roseville someone on the staff recognized my voice from the recordings and that was the moment I realized that I was actually being heard and was making a difference in someone’s life. That was absolutely gratifying to me and inspires me every day to keep those recordings coming. Every day I live by the following quote:
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away—Pablo Picasso