SSB Director Natasha Jerde Offers Thoughts on Gratitude
Below is a note from SSB’s Director, Natasha Jerde, included in a biweekly email to staff and council members. We offer it here, during this holiday season, as an expression of appreciation for everyone connected to the SSB community.
“To prepare for this issue of our newsletter to staff and council, I did a little digging on “What is Gratitude”. At first glance, I am thinking it’s about being thankful. But no, gratitude is so much more. It is the affirmation of goodness; we affirm that there are good things in the world. It is also recognizing that the sources of goodness are outside of ourselves, that other people help us achieve the goodness in our lives. Gratitude encourages us to not only appreciate these gifts but to repay them or pay them forward. Gratitude is a selfless act. Its acts are done unconditionally, to show to people that they are appreciated. It can be contagious (in a good way).
So now that I am grounded, let me share my gratitude with you all.
To the staff here at SSB: You are the face of SSB, and you are the ones that are working endlessly and tirelessly to serve our customers. And you do it because you believe in our mission and you believe in the people. And on a personal note, I would not be here if it wasn’t for you all. You are a major reason for the goodness in my life, and I can’t believe I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful, hardworking individuals.
To the Council who guides us in the work we do: You give your time, your energy, and your infinite wisdom to help us better serve blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind Minnesotans. You do the work because you care, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You continue to help SSB be an amazing agency.
To all our partners, vendors, and consumer groups: SSB continues to exist and thrive because of you all. We cannot do it alone, and we are so appreciative of your skills, expertise, support, and advocacy. You are the ones who have a pulse on the community, and you are the ones who step in when we cannot.
And to all blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind Minnesotans: Simply put, SSB would not be here without you. We are honored to serve you!
And I would be remiss to not mentioned how grateful I am to my “village”. I have an amazing husband, daughter, family, and friends that support, help, and love one another. I hope you all are fortunate to have your own village.”
People With Disabilities, At Work For Minnesota!
At SSB, we know firsthand that blind, visually impaired, and DeafBlind Minnesotans are bringing skill, experience, talent, and dedication to Minnesota businesses. A recent opinion piece in the Star Tribune by Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove makes the business case for hiring Minnesotans with disabilities.
"There are lots of reasons employers are hiring people with disabilities, and all of them are helping improve their bottom line."
"People with disabilities have been solving problems their whole life," said disability programs coordinator Ken Rodgers of MnDOT, who is blind. "Bringing that mind-set to the workforce is incredibly valuable."
"Opportunities to improve your business while also improving access to opportunities for people who live with disabilities is a win-win. We encourage more and more businesses to take advantage of this unique workforce. With acute workforce shortages across our economy, now is the time."
Commissioner Grove includes some practical guidance and best practices. Read the full article.
What Would I Do, if I Couldn’t See?
Lots of us ask that question from time to time. The simple answer is that with a few new skills, you’d be going about your everyday life. Three short videos showcase Minnesotans who are blind, losing vision, or DeafBlind, doing just that.
"How Could I do This Job If I Can't See" (audio described) shows Minnesotans using high tech and low tech solutions at work. It’s a nice introduction for hiring managers who might be wondering if an applicant who is blind, low vision, or DeafBlind could indeed be the best person for a job.
"How Can I do It If I Can't See It" (audio described) speaks to the experience of seniors who are wondering how to live well with vision loss.
"How Can I Read It If I Can't See It" (audio described) is for everyone who loves reading and worries that vision loss, or another disability, might take away their ability to read. This video demonstrates how our Communication Center has become "Minnesota’s Accessible Reading Source."
Open Positions on the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
The State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRC-B) has open seats. Learn more about the council or apply directly on the Secretary of State's Open Positions page.