Peer support group explores Mission San Jose.

Group of visually impaired people walking around at Mission San Jose.

With a white cane in one hand and the other clasped tightly around Orientation and Mobility Specialist Gisel Medrano’s arm, Janie Barco attempted to take a step down. She felt her foot in the air for a second too long and quickly planted her foot back.

“I don’t like steps,” she told Gisel.

“Measure it with your white cane,” Gisel told her. “How steep is it?”

She extended her white cane down and felt the distance between where she stood and the terrain level in front of her. It wasn’t as steep as she thought. She tried again, this time with confidence.

This was exactly the goal behind the Orientation & Mobility Peer Support Group field trip at Mission San Jose this morning.

“I was scared to come,” Janie admitted. “But I’m glad I’m here.”

Janie was joined by peers Diana Bloodgood and Rebekah Cook. All three of them have previously completed white cane training at Vibrant Works.

The special outing was led by Orientation and Mobility Specialists Vanessa Thiele, Ida De La Garza and Gisel Medrano. They not only guided clients through the space, but also came prepared with history facts about Mission San Jose. Independent Living Services Director Rene Perez also joined the trip to motivate and encourage clients throughout the field trip.

The Orientation and Mobility team is planning more peer outings in the future, stay tuned for details.

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