Insights from the Visually Impaired
Date: Thursday, October 10
Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Institute for Spirituality and Health
Cost: $20 includes catered dinner
Many of us encounter things in the world that remind us of visual impairment – braille on an elevator, vocal prompts at a crosswalk, a passerby with a walking stick or service dog. Yet those who are sighted can never truly comprehend the experience of living without sight, a sense that many hold above all others.
What can sighted people learn from those who are blind? How does losing the ability to see impact one’s relationship with oneself, with others, with the world, and with God?
Join us to hear firsthand the experiences and spiritual journeys of three individuals, including one married couple, living with different levels of visual impairments.
Breaking Whole: Exploring Spirituality Through Conditions of the Body
The state of one’s physical body is inherently intertwined with a person’s spiritual identity, and physical conditions can challenge, strengthen, and transform that identity. Breaking Whole seminars bring together patients, caregivers, and clergy to discuss the spiritual dimensions of various health conditions.
This semester we explore spirituality and the senses, asking what spiritual lessons can be gleaned by bearing witness to the stories and experiences of those who are living with visual or hearing impairments.
REV. MICHAEL E. GARRETT
Rev. Garrett is Associate minister at the New Faith Church in Houston, working with the disabilities ministry and the Orientation teaching team. Prior to pursuing ministry, Rev. Michael Garrett was an investment analyst for 28 years. An active advocate for people with disabilities, he has served on the Board of the Houston Center for Independent Living since 1992. He is a former member of the State Independent Living Council, and former chairman of the Houston Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities. He served as president and remains very engaged in the National Beep Baseball Association, a softball league for those with visual impairments. Rev. Garrett is the current Vice President of the American Council of the Blind of Texas and a member of the Visually Impaired Advocates.
PEGGY R. GARRETT
Peggy Garrett has been involved with the Houston Council of the Blind for many years, serving as President and Vice-President, and is currently the President of the American Council of the Blind of Texas and Chair of its Multicultural Affairs Committee. She served four years on the Houston Commission on People with Disabilities, and is currently completing a 3 year term as Vice President of the Alliance on Aging with Vision Loss (AAVL). Peggy co-wrote a grant to establish the VISTAS Center-A training center for people who are blind or visually impaired. Peggy graduated from the University of Georgia with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work. She served as Executive Director at the Multiple Choices Independent Living Center. Peggy has served as Vice-President and Secretary of the Chasewood Civic Club. She is a member of New Faith Church – Houston.
SARA FREEMAN SMITH
Sara is a seasoned HR professional with more than 25 years of Recruiting leadership experience. She is self-employed as a Career Coach, Recruiting Advocate for people with disabilities & Contract Senior Recruiter and Job Placement Specialist Contractor supporting the local Texas Workforce Solutions/BRS offices. In her corporate career, she has worked for major corporations such as BP, First Data and GE Oil & Gas. Sara has been legally blind for the past 15 years & understands the challenges working with a disability from both perspectives –as an employer & employee.
Sara is a native Houstonian (Phillis Wheatley) and is an honor graduate of the University of Southern California & University of Phoenix. She is active in the disability community as a member of VIA (Visually Impaired Advocates) & iBUG (IOS Blind Users Group), and Commissioner on the Houston Commission on Disabilities (appointed by the Mayor of Houston). Sara is also an active board member of the following organizations - Houston Council of the Blind (HCB) National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum & Texas Rehabilitation Association (TRA). Sara is a member of the Fort Bend Church and speaks as a motivational speaker to groups, community organizations & churches on a variety of self-improvement topics.