"I am surrounded by a community of people who are visually impaired as well as sighted and nobody judges me or thinks less of me because of my vision.”
Lori Griffin-Harge has been with Envision for the last 25 years. Working as a Print Associate in the Envision Print department, she says that the sense of community support, acceptance, and continual opportunities to learn and advance her skills is why she continues to stay with Envision. Lori has been legally blind since birth and has utilized glasses since age two.
Growing up in the Wichita, KS area, Lori graduated from Wichita Heights High School and started working for Wesley Medical. She was there for two years when life threw a horrible tragedy her way as her daughter, only two years old, passed away due to medical complications. Through the support of friends and the stability of her church and her faith, Lori slowly healed. After taking some time away from work and staying with a good friend, she was ready to venture back out into the workforce. However, Lori found it harder to find a job than she had expected. When her friend came back from Walmart and told her about an advertisement looking to hire employees with visual impairments (Envision PRINT), she was ecstatic. After applying to work at Envision, Lori was hired the same day!
“I remember the feelings of insecurity I had about being legally blind before I started with Envision,” said Lori. “I literally had never met anyone else in my life who had a visual impairment. Now, I am surrounded by a community of people who are visually impaired as well as sighted and nobody judges me or thinks less of me because of my vision.”
Lori has not only benefited from employment opportunities with Envision but has taken advantage of the Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center (EVRC), recently having met with the center’s occupational therapists, orientation and mobility instructor, and assistive technology instructor. “I recently found out that I have Glaucoma in my left eye, and that I have a retina tear in my right eye that will continue to deteriorate, which gave me answers as to why I was unable to see out of my right eye at all,” said Lori. “I am attending appointments at the EVRC to learn how to use my left eye more effectively and to figure out which tools and trainings will help me to utilize the vision I have left.”
When asked why she has stayed with Envision for more than two decades, Lori replied, “I stay because I have always loved my job, and I love everyone I work with. I have only ever felt accepted, and I am proud of my abilities and all I have been able to learn working in the PRINT department. I get to try a variety of new things every day whether it be learning a new machine, trying out different color copies or doing new projects for new customers. I am continually inspired by all we can do as low vision people. I have the worst eyesight on my team but none of them have ever judged me for that. What’s funny is that in high school, I took a printing class and loved it. Who knew this was where I would be today!”
While Lori has achieved success and fulfillment in her career, she says she owes it to her supervisors and her team. “Everyone in PRINT is so kind and willing to lend a helping hand,” said Lori. “I still remember my first supervisor, Regina Henderson, because she always encouraged me to do the best I could every day. My supervisor now, Glenda Wolff, has always looked out for me. She has such a kind heart and will always help anybody who is struggling. Kevin Gorley who was my PRINT lead for a long time, taught me so many skills that I still utilize today.”
Lori’s next career aspirations are to learn how to read braille, train in assistive technology and gain more skills, and potentially go back to college to finish her degree.