Ann Chiappetta

Making meaningful connections with others through writing

Building Bridges with Colonial Elementary School

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Thanks Colonial Elementary School

Bailey and I, along with our good friend, Anna Masopust, visit the schools in Westchester county and speak about disability awareness and blindness. We usually visit the kindergarten or first graders, along with the parents and teachers. It provides a way to connect with the kids and allows them to ask questions. I throw in a little bit of everything, hoping that when we leave, something sticks. I show the kids my white cane, ask them to look for braille in elevators and on signs, tell them that I listen faster than they can read, and about my guide dogs. It’s also a way to promote positive regard for our fellow human beings.
I also share that losing my sight was scary and hard to cope with but that I am just like them, I just do things differently.

The best part is the questions. How do I know where I’m going if I can’t see? Who helps me get dressed? How does the dog know where to take me? When my dog goes to the bathroom, how do I find the poop?

Anna schedules the visits and I appreciate everything she does to make these visits worthwhile.
My yellow lab, Bailey, while a very focused guide dog, is also a comic relief. This time, as we entered the school, he looked at the life-sized stuffed dog at the top of the landing and I knew something was up. Once a teacher told me he was staring at the stuffed dog, I started to laugh. We got a picture, too.
Just knowing Colonial is a service dog friendly school and supports people with disabilities, is wonderful and we had a great visit. I hope we can visit again next year!

yellow lab Bailey and stuffed dog mascot sitting beside one another

yellow lab and stuffed dog

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