Back to the Central Valley

 

 

After the situation with the teaching credential, my room mate at the time and I moved back to Modesto, near my hometown of Oakdale, CA. The rent was cheaper, even though public transit was not as good as in San Jose.

Things were tight and many things fell through, leading my old room mate to decide to move back in with his mom in FL. I had been looking for part time work to supplement and help pay the bills including working as an aide with children with special needs, and clerical work. I found over and over that the employers were requiring a driver’s license and a car with current insurance just to work with kids in a classroom or to sit in an office and work. Of course this was not going to work for me since I am 70% blind and unable to drive.

So as my old room mate moved back to Florida, I was looking seriously at ending up homeless and owing my landlord a ton of backrent. I ended up getting a new room mate just before that happened. At this point, I had started looking online for ways to own my own business and make money, I knew it would be more of a challenge than just working a part time job, but at least I would have no commute and the issue of not being able to drive would not be an issue. I also knew from my mom’s experience with her small consulting business, that it was easier to coordinate with SSI as well. And if I became profitable enough, I could finally get off the system.

That was the start of the journey that I am on now which has led to some wonderful things, including meeting the man of my dreams.

College Days

 

me and ben at almost 4

 

I attended three dif­fer­ent col­leges over a period of many years. After I grad­u­ated from high school, I went to Modesto Junior Col­lege. After a cou­ple of years there where I was get­ting my lower divi­sion require­ments done, I had my first detour in my col­lege education.

I became preg­nant with my son Ben. When he was 7 months old, I became a sin­gle mom. School was on the back burner for many years and I focused solely on rais­ing him.

When he went into first grade, I went back to col­lege at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, Stanis­laus. I was at first a Psy­chol­ogy major, but I quickly decided to go for a dou­ble major to pre­pare to be an ele­men­tary school teacher. Trans­porta­tion was a major chal­lenge for me, since I am unable to drive because of my vision. I spent about 4 hours a day on buses to get back and forth to col­lege, while jug­gling school and being a sin­gle par­ent of a child with spe­cial needs. My mother was an incred­i­ble help in this process.

To pre­pare for the Mul­ti­ple Sub­ject teach­ing cre­den­tial, I switched to Lib­eral Stud­ies and Psy­chol­ogy dou­ble major. I had the edu­ca­tion track require­ments, the new CLADD require­ments, and my con­cen­tra­tion in Excep­tional Child and Youth. I finally switched to a minor in Psy­chol­ogy. While I was attend­ing col­lege, my son was switched from being in a reg­u­lar class­room to a non pub­lic school for chil­dren with spe­cial needs, and had two surg­eries. It took sev­eral years to finally fin­ish my BA.

Then came my sec­ond detour. My fiance passed away at the same time my mother’s health seri­ously dete­ri­o­rated. At this time, my son grad­u­ated from the 8th grade and there was no school that would pro­vide what he needed for high school. I left school and moved in with my mother to take care of her and home­school my son. Then in Decem­ber of 2005, my son passed away. My mom died a year later.

After work­ing through my grief, and mov­ing to San Jose where the pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem was much bet­ter, I started my teach­ing cre­den­tial at San Jose State Uni­ver­sity. My plan was to get my Mul­ti­ple Sub­ject cre­den­tial, and then open my own edu­ca­tional con­sult­ing busi­ness. Halfway through the pro­gram, that door was slammed in my face. Cal­i­for­nia laid off over 20 thou­sand teach­ers to help bal­ance the bud­get, and I was let go from the program.

So now I am once again rein­vent­ing myself and start­ing a new jour­ney. I do not regret any of the twists and turns along the way. All are valu­able lessons and expe­ri­ences. No mat­ter what hap­pens along the way, you can move for­ward and not remain stuck. You need to not blame the cir­cum­stances, but learn from then and find a new path when you run into a dead end. I have done it many times and you can too.

Girl Scouts Together

 

girl scout pic

From first grade on, I was in Girl Scouts. It is a won­der­ful orga­ni­za­tion which gave me a great deal of skills and expe­ri­ence. I was a bit of an over­achiever in it and earned most of the awards possible.

When I went for my First Class Award, they were tran­si­tion­ing into a new pro­gram so I earned both the old and the new pro­gram which included the Sil­ver and Gold Awards. These awards were much more com­pli­cated than just earn­ing a sin­gle badge or chal­lenge. The Gold Award is very much the equiv­a­lent of earn­ing the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts.

I also was the youngest ever in my area to earn the Green Angel Pin for out­stand­ing troop lead­ers. As part of earn­ing my Gold Award, I was a troop leader for a Brownie troop (grades 1 to 3). I always had assis­tant lead­ers who were over the age of 18, since I was still a minor, but I ran the troop.

Even now as an adult. I still try to live my life very much by the Girl Scout Law as it was when I was in Girl Scouts. Changes have hap­pened since then, but I still believe that Girl Scouts is a won­der­ful orga­ni­za­tion for teach­ing skills and pro­vid­ing expe­ri­ences that are both fun and edu­ca­tional. Skills you can use your whole lifetime.

If you would like more infor­ma­tion about Girl Scouts in the US, check out their main web­site at http://www.girlscouts.org/

There are also Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in many other coun­tries around the world.

Being Small Enough to Fit in a Shoebox

 

 

me at 3

That is an odd title I know, but there is a story behind it. From the time I was 2 years old, I went up to San Fran­cisco and saw an oph­thal­mol­o­gist named Dr. Jam­pol­ski. He always said that I had been his patient since I was small enough to fit in a shoe box.

He would sched­ule all day appoint­ments for me and have doc­tors and res­i­dents from all over the world come to see my eyes. Being a very small child, and hav­ing 20 or 30 strangers all look­ing into my eyes was quite a les­son in learn­ing how to be patient.

He did that because I had so many dif­fer­ent eye prob­lems in one set of eyes. I have been writ­ten up in many med­ical jour­nals and text­books to help teach eye doc­tors. I am happy that all those hours sit­ting and hav­ing my eyes exam­ined, has led to research that has helped so many other patients with their eyes over the years.

A more per­sonal and direct exam­ple of the research on my eyes help­ing some­one else is my cousin Scot, (who is 11 years younger than me). He also saw Dr. Jam­pol­ski on my mother’s rec­om­men­da­tion, and they were able to do more for his eyes based on the data col­lected on mine. That is a really good feeling.

Who am I?

 

rach old

Well I am on a new excit­ing jour­ney and I hope all of you enjoy the jour­ney with me. How I got here is an inter­est­ing story in itself.

Raised in a small town in the Cen­tral Val­ley of Cal­i­for­nia, I was a pio­neer in main­stream­ing in Cal­i­for­nia. I also was active at a young age in grass roots and polit­i­cal cam­paign­ing. I was a Girl Scout from first grade on. From the time I was a small child, I was placed in the role of leader, men­tor, teacher, and advocate.

My orig­i­nal goal was to get a teach­ing cre­den­tial and open an edu­ca­tional con­sult­ing busi­ness on the side pri­mar­ily in the area of edu­ca­tion and spe­cial needs. I have run into some snags along the way. So now I am start­ing a new path to get me out of the rut and into the running.