Our HERO

This is a picture of our beautiful daughter, Shantel. For those of you that may not know, Shantel had cancer in both eyes and had to have both eyes removed when she was two years old, leaving her blind for life. Bill and I spent our lives helping Shantel accept her blindness, and learn to live blind in a sighted world. The beautiful smile you see on her face has never faded throughout all the years of challenges she faced and overcame. I never saw Shantel spend one minute complaining, or feeling sorry for herself, and she never wanted anyone else to feel sorry for her either.

shantel

Bill and I fought long and hard to ensure Shantel had everything she needed to get through her school years from Kindergarten through earning two degrees in College. We had to attend endless Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings, to get everyone on board with what would be expected of Shantel in the classroom, as well as what would be expected of the teacher, and the support team hired to braille Shantel’s books, worksheets, test papers, etc. All this was done to ensure Shantel’s rights were upheld in the classroom so she had a fair and level playing field to compete with her peers. I can tell you nothing we fought for, and won, to support her needs came easy, but neither Shantel, or Bill and I would ever give up.

Now, fast forward… Shantel is 23 years old, lives in her own apartment, and all Shantel wants is to obtain gainful and meaningful employment. She does receive Social Security Disability benefits which isn’t even enough to pay the rent on the one bedroom apartment she has, and she receives a very small food allotment card. Shantel could sit home and just draw her Social Security and food card benefits, but she wants to work. She spends her entire day applying for jobs, and going on interviews, only to be rejected over and over again. Keep in mind, she has not one, but two degrees, and can’t even get hired to work in a call center. All she needs to do a job working with computers is a voice over program installed that will read the information on the screen to her. Then she can do the very same job that any sighted person can do…

Finally, after months and months of searching, Shantel signed on with a temp staffing agency. The temp agency was able to get her a seasonal job in a call center not far from where she lives. Both the temp agency and the call center company know she is blind and agreed they could accommodate her needs with the voice over software. She is earning $14.00 an hour even as she goes through a six-week training class. Shantel was overjoyed to say the least. Of course she will need to give up her Social Security and food allotment benefits while she is working but she can have it reinstated if she gets laid off. She doesn’t even mind the fact that the training classes are from 4:00 p.m. till midnight which means she has to pay for a cab to take her home every night because Dail-a-Ride stops running at 10:00 p.m. I can tell you I pray her home every night because I’m so worried about her being out all alone at that time of night. Bill and I live over an hour and a half from Shantel or I would go pick her up and take her home myself.

When Shantel’s training class started, the very first thing she was told was that they did not have the voice over software installed on the computer she needs to use for training. They said it has been ordered but has not arrived yet. This is NOT good at all. Shantel cannot learn, and keep up with the class if she doesn’t have that software on her computer. The instructor told her to “just sit and listen and do the best she can to keep up… ” That is exactly the type of thing Bill and I had to fight the school system about when Shantel was still in school…. Promises made that were not kept and Shantel was the one that paid the price. As her mother, it just sends me over the top because it’s just not right!

I talked to Shantel yesterday, and she told me “mom, you’re not going to believe what happened last night at work.” I asked what happened, and she told me that the voice over software has arrived but now the ITD department said they are not going to install it twice which means they will not install it on the training class computer, only the production floor computer she will use once she completes her training.” Then she went on to say the training instructor said Shantel needs to repeat the six-week training class because if she goes out on the training floor at this point she will not be able to handle the call volume because she has not had a computer to practice on… Are you kidding me!! How is another six-week training class going to benefit Shantel if ITD won’t put the voice over software on the training class computer? I told Shantel to get a meeting with the training instructor and her supervisor/manager and the production floor supervisor/manager and ask if she can have someone on the production floor give her one-on-one training on the computer she will be using that has the voice over installed in it… I don’t know why, after all these years, it still amazes me that people that are managing companies, and people, can be so lacking in common sense!!

I asked Shantel if she thinks all she is going through to have this temporary job is worth it? Shantel said “mom, 70% of blind people never get a job, I’m going to be in the 30% of the blind people that do get a job. I don’t want to live on Social Security and food allotments, I want to be financially independent, and this job at least is paying me $14.00 an hour, and I’m hoping it just might work into a full-time position. But if not, at least I’m gaining more work experience…” My heart bursts with pride for her.

Papa and I love you Shantel, we are so VERY proud of you. You face more challenges in one day than many people face in a lifetime, and you never give up! YOU are our HERO!!!

Stay Tuned!

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Kaufman
    Oct 26, 2016 @ 19:57:46

    My heart goes out to Shantel. All that aggravation and she never gives up. She sure has deternation and all the motivation then anyone I have ever known. I know you and Bill have worked very hard with Shantel. She is so smart and so inquisitive . Always has a beautiful smile and so independent. My love and prayers go out for Shantel and hopefully things will be in her favor and she will have everything set up and her new job will be full time and last many many years to come, God willing. We love you

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Oct 27, 2016 @ 02:15:49

      Thank you Aunt Ellen. Yes, I know that God has a plan and purpose for Shantel’s life, and in his time he will lead her to it. In the meantime, please keep her in your prayers… Love and hugs to all.XoXo

      Reply

  2. Bill
    Oct 26, 2016 @ 22:01:42

    She is my hero also ,one tough young lady,one day an employer will see that they have a devoted employee,because she takes no job for granted.Love you Shantel.

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Oct 27, 2016 @ 02:11:25

      Yes, Bill, if only that one employer would come along and give her that chance, and the break she needs…, she will be the most devoted employee they ever had… I know in God’s time, and within his plan, Shantel will find her true path and purpose in this life.. XoXo

      Reply

  3. Lucie Vezie
    Oct 27, 2016 @ 01:09:55

    God has blessed us with Shantel and the amazing way she handles everything. I have always said she is my hero. Give her my best on her new job I know she will excel in it.Love you all very much.

    Reply

  4. Karen Reno
    Oct 27, 2016 @ 02:52:20

    She is an amazing young woman. Smart, funny and a good heart. What more could a mama ask for, right? And she got her determination and work ethic from her equally amazing parents. You and Bill rock and roll, girlfriend! So very proud of all of you. XXOO

    Reply

  5. gotham girl
    Oct 27, 2016 @ 02:54:21

    Tears here…of pride for this young amazing woman AND her parents who went above and beyond. So proud to call of of your my friends and family. Love you all.

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Oct 27, 2016 @ 12:38:16

      Thank you GG. We are so very happy to have friends and family like you and Bob in our lives. It really does “take a village” and we had a lot of help from amazing friends and family along the way! XoXo

      Reply

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