Outreach: Our Space Our Place
One recipient of St. Mary’s outreach funds is Our Space Our Place in Boston.
“The mission of Our Space Our Place, Inc. is to prepare blind youth for their future as productive and successful adults by promoting their self confidence, determination and social and independent living skills through activities which support self exploration, social integration and the investigation of college and career opportunities.
Facts Blindness is a disability which does not often occur. In Boston there are 131 children 6 – 18 years of age who are registered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and in Massachusetts there are 1,287. There is a 70% unemployment rate within the blindness community.
OSOP Response Aware of the isolation which results from being a member of a small group, the emotional and psychological impact on the individual, and the economic cost to the society of having a segment of its citizenry locked out of employment, a group of blind professionals, parents of blind youth, and friends in 2005 established Our Space Our Place, Inc. (OSOP), a 501(c) (3), non-profit organization.
Our Space Our Place, Inc. is a Boston-based organization which offers an after school program and a career exploration program for elementary and high school youth who are blind. Blind youth from across the state participate in OSOP’s programs: Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Boston, Roslindale, Weston, Revere, Lynn, Methuen, Framingham, Lunenburg.
The after school program offers accessible recreational activities: yoga, dance, drama, chess, checkers, beep baseball, arts and crafts, field trips to visit the Huntington Theater, tours of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Science, attendance at local audio-described plays and an end-of-the-year performance.
This year we are implementing our career exploration program: “Touch the Future: Career Explorations for Parents and Blind Youth.” Our goal is to recruit 20 students who are blind and to spend one Saturday a month exploring their personal interests, linking these with careers, meeting professionals and acquiring summer volunteer and employment opportunities.”