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Jason is Why We Exist

At FocusForward we believe in the inherent value of all people, specifically people who are blind and visually impaired.  Jason is currently on our call list and has come in to work when we have additional projects.  Most recently we’ve been able to employ Jason regularly because of a large battery sorting project thats come through our partnership with Recharged L3C.  We’re excited to share Jason’s story with you:


How did you get connected to FocusForward

My wife and I met when we were living in Chicago and when we first started dating I had been out of work for about a year because of my declining eyesight. After we had our first child we wanted to raise him around family which brought us to West Michigan. We both have family in the Vicksburg area. While living in the area I took classes toward my social work major at WMU and was also attending classes at the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons on Oakland in Kalamazoo. 

I found out about FocusForward when I was up at the Bureau of Services for the Blind.  I’d been watching the MWEB/FocusForward site for the last five years for job postings as I’d put my social work degree on hold.  As soon as there was an opening posted at FocusForward, I sent my resume in and the company followed me right away. 

What is it like to work at FocusForward?

It’s a stress-free work environment.  My experience with working in some other places was pretty stressful because I didn’t know how they would react to my visual impairment.  Here, I don’t have to wait for the ball to drop when they find out because they know from the beginning and the whole company is built for people like me.  The mission here is to help provide a place that I can work without having to worry about losing my job because of my eyesight.  I’m able to work with people who know what I’m going through, and earn a living to support my family. 

Because of this job, specifically working on the battery project that we’re doing through Recharge L3C, my wife and I have been able to pay important bills and take care of other family needs. 

What would life be like for you without FocusForward?

I would still be working to find a job and trying not to get discouraged.  Basically what I’ve been doing for the past few years until I found FocusForward.  Finding a job as someone without a driver’s license specifically (I can’t get one because of my eyesight) has been really difficult.  I’m a semester away from having my degree in social work from Western Michigan, so I know that I’m capable and have a lot to offer.

What do you wish people knew about being blind or visually impaired?

I wish people knew that it’s not always obvious who’s visually impaired. We don’t all walk around with a cane or a guide dog.  I can still read and see some things, so I probably move and look around similarly to someone with full eyesight.  You probably wouldn’t know I’m legally blind by just looking at me.  I wish people knew that those of us with visual impairment can have a great work ethic and have skills that could benefit a lot of companies.  We just need to be given the chance and FocusForward is giving me that chance. 

My vision is to help people.  You don’t need eyesight to have vision.  That’s why I went to school for my social work degree, that’s why I live the way I live, even when I’m going through my own things, I want to help others.