In order to make our content more accessible, we’re including a transcript for videos from our YouTube page. Find the full transcript below for this audio described video about Set-Up Specialist Lauren Schlaeppi and his journey working at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.
Lauren working in the machine shop.
There really is no end to what a blind person can do. The limit is only up to one individual. If you’re going to put limitations on yourself, well, that’s as far as you’re going to go. So, the Lighthouse has shown me that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a freight train. It’s just daylight. You can see daylight at the end of the tunnel.
Lauren Schlaeppi, Senior CNC Set-Up.
My name is Lauren Schlaeppi. My job at the Lighthouse is Senior CNC Set-Up at this present time. I love Seattle, I always have. A lot of people knock it because of the weather, or this, or that, but I just love the atmosphere in Seattle. I don’t think I’d live anywhere else. The climate’s perfect. The job I have is great. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I was born severely cross-sighted at birth. I’ve had several eye surgeries to correct the problem, but the right eye has just been disconnected. And the optic nerve in the left eye is just deteriorated to the point it’s just not working anymore. It doesn’t work the way it did when I was growing up.
Over time, my vision is getting worse, but I adjust to it each stage that I go through. And I’ve dealt with it all of my life. I just don’t let little things like that get in my way. Trying to find work before the Lighthouse was almost impossible. At that time, I was trying to survive, and going from one dead end job to another dead end job. And then eventually, I learned that I’m just going to have to just accept it and go out into the world and just say, “Hey look, you’re blind, you can’t see. You’re just going to have to go, and you’re going to have to go find work elsewhere.”
And here I am 13 years later, making parts for The Boeing Company.
Because The Boeing Company has always put a roof over my head. My father, he retired from The Boeing Company, working for The Boeing Company, and now I make parts for The Boeing Company. So, it makes me feel proud to make parts for them.
Since I have worked at the Lighthouse, I have more confidence than I used to have. I feel a lot more confident in my mobility and my job skills, communication. Confidence would be the biggest thing that I’ve learned at the Lighthouse and gained.
The biggest thing I like about machining is the challenge of it. Doing it blind is a lot different than when you can see it. It’s knowing that you can actually do something that a sighted person is doing makes you feel good.
Knowing that the people that I have trained can actually turn around and show me things that I didn’t know. And they’re showing that to other people. And they’re out there making a big difference. Me knowing that I actually helped them get to that point is what success is to me.
Lauren walking with his white cane into a bright hallway. The Lighthouse for the Blind logo with headline: Jobs. Independence. Empowerment.