One of the things I got to do for Radio Eye last month was deliver radios. We do this, if it’s possible, within Lexington. I had three, one for a gentleman on the north side of town, and two for a nursing home.
When my grandfather lost his vision, not being able to read the paper was a huge deal for him. One of the very few positive things I remember hearing about his experience was that he could listen to the paper on a special radio. When I delivered these radios, he was on my mind.
The house was neat and there was a flag out front. My young son and I talked about being polite and standing still at the door, then we climbed out. We walked to the door, holding hands, and I let him ring the bell. “Just once!” Our new listener knew we were coming, but I was concerned that our visit might still be an interruption… what if coming to the door was difficult? We waited…
A man came to the door, and smiled. I said we were from Radio Eye and I thought he might be expecting us… He was! I introduced us, and handed over a small box with a program guide tucked in. Our listener said he was so glad to have the radio and was looking forward to hearing the paper. I said we were glad to have him, and welcome! All my shyness resolved and it was a happy moment. I explained about the program guide and asked him to call if he had any problems, and to try it in different places to get the best reception. I told him we will call to see if it’s working and if he has any questions later.
The next delivery was to a large facility. These radios were a little bigger and someone helped me carry one in. There was one to pick up, and these would go to the community rooms, where people would get together to hear the Lexington Herald-Leader and other programs. Our helper took us to the Activities Director. She showed us where the community room was and invited us to come volunteer for activities with residents. That sounds like a lot of fun!
It makes us feel really good to reach out to people who can’t see well enough to read the local paper. I know some of our listeners use the Radio Eye radios for companionship (just like me and the 3AM BBC during grad school) and making a visit makes me feel a little more like we are part of their community, which we are, all of us.
Volunteering for Radio Eye has been a fantastic opportunity to expand our awareness of the whole community. Knowing that we read papers from across the Bluegrass has helped me understand Kentucky as diverse and culturally rich in a way that growing up in Lexington didn’t really offer. I know as we expand into Eastern Kentucky, our listeners will hear those papers, too, and share in this understanding.
I think that what we do at Radio Eye is unique and powerful. As people age, we want to make sure they are included, and as we get busier, we need to remember that it only takes a moment to reach out. We invite you to join us in reaching out to the listeners of our Radio Eye community. If you can volunteer, I think you’ll find it a rewarding use of your time. If you want to donate, the Good Giving Guide Challenge is under way: http://www.goodgivingguide.net/radioeye. I invite you to join us if you can, and to listen in at RadioEye.org during the month of November for Radio Reading Service Month.
Lissa Probus, Volunteer