I am pretty depressed. Around my volunteer work which is basically my job. It keeps me going and like I have a purpose and motivates me. It takes my mind off my own issues.
I’ve loved working with the organization I have for the past six months or so. It’s an awesome community and I’m doing well at the job.
However as all organizations I’m sure do, they’re trying to keep up with the latest and best technology updates. This is great but often technology for the blind as it is is not capable of working well with a certain website/ software as soon as that product comes up. Someone who’s an expert in accessibility has to come in and do whatever they need to do to make everything work together.
The problem is some companies don’t want this. In my organization we were using a webeniar platform for live training sessions. This was not accessible to any screen readers. I and several people called the company and they said they had no plans to work with the blind, though they did have accomidations for the deaf. So yeah we were not happy.
So anyway lately it seems like the organization I volunteer with is making a lot of changes. Which while giving us all perks we might not get otherwise often make accessibility harder when it was fine in the first place.
They had a scheduling system for times when volunteers would be on the site. It was absolutely fine. In favor of getting an ap and some other reasons, they switched to another product which is not accessible to PC users. So anytime I need to schedule something I’d have to have staff do it. When before I could be independent.
They did something else recently on the site which I can’t go into due to confidentiality and not wanting to go into specifics. But again it was a case of the old way working fine. With the new way I found I couldn’t even participate in what I was supposed to be doing because I couldn’t find what was supposed to be on my screen or even know what was going on with the process when staff could see from their end but I couldn’t. This stressed me out because a consumer was l.eft hanging due to me not knowing what was going on.
Lastly for another aspect of the volunteering they’ve decided to use a tool called SLACK. Whicvh is like IM for businesses. Never heard of it until I got the e-mail. Warily I sent the info to my tech buddy who confirmed my fears that it isn’t easily accessible and won’t be til next year.
Obveously the organization can’t cater to the few people with special needs nor would I expect them to. In spite of my and I’m sure some others regardless of any special needs, view that if something isn’t broken why fix it, this is the world of technology today. People keep making these products so you can throw away the old way, which was like not that old, and pay more money for the new thing. They’re an organization trying to propel themselves forward in the field they’re in. Their whole purpose is using online services to help people and so those services need to be as up to date as possible.
I know that it’s either my choice to do the extra work to try and make something inaccessible half accessible, or just move on. This is the case for so many blind/ visually impaired people doing similar things including work at home jobs, call centers ETC.
I really really want to stay with this worik. Like I said it has connected me with a lot of great people and I’m passionate about helping others. It’s gotten me to use my skills in counseling/ psychology that I thought I’d never use after my breakdown.
But I don’t intend to fight an uphill battle and especially with things with the issue where I had no idea what was going on due to a tech glitch I would never want to leave a person in need of help hanging deue to not being able to do the job through no fault of my own.
I don’t know where to draw the line of when it’s time to leave. Knowing that these updates will keep coming and I’ll keep running into accessibility barriers it seems at least for the past couple months pretty regularly, makes me less excited about doing the work. Understandably as there is added frustration.
On a similar line as I posted Wednesday I think it was about NRS. Jonathan still hasn’t heard from staff there about their technology and if it will work with mine. Something I wanted if all possible an understanding of to avoid wasting anyone’s time, before I went down there for an interview. And to avoid feeling horrible in person in front of everyone if I found out there and then that there was nothing that could be done. Better to find out and have the meltdown at home.
I’d tried in several ways to ask people about accessibility issues. But I was put off and told all my questions would be answered at the orientation. So I got Jonathan to step in as he’s quite assertive and I knew would get an answer. But so far no call/ response.
Again their job is not to jump when a person with a disability calls and asks for something. They may well be so pressed for just getting volunteers in that it’s not really a priority to respond to one person’s needs. So I’m getting depressed that this one hotline that’s been like my dream of working at since I came to Chicago won’t work either.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there were other similar organizations but there don’t seem to be.
I don’t know what I’ll do with myself without these outlets on helping people. Edith wants to send me to a day program which I don’t really want to do but I guess will if I have to.
Will probably know one way or another at least about what Jonathan is trying to do on getting ahold of people by next week.
If anyone has any other thoughts on online volunteer oppurtunities around emotional support please let me know.
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