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Success Story

Joseli Walter first became affiliated with the Department for the Blind in 2005. She is originally from Michigan but wanted to locate in Iowa to become closer to a friend. Once she got settled she knew that she needed to challenge herself, in terms of skills training, and so she decided to move to Des Moines and become a full time student in the Department’s Adult Orientation and Adjustment Center. Joseli was admitted to the program in September of 2007. It was here that she learned how to perfect her skills in the use of the white cane, Braille, computer, industrial arts, etc. Joseli paced herself, as she faithfully attended the daily classes and felt that by May of 2008, she was ready to begin the next chapter of her life.

Joseli moved back to the quad cities and secured an apartment. Joseli then planned to attend a career seminar being held in Muscatine. Just as she was due to be picked up she learned that she was being evicted. Joseli did not let this get in the way of her attending. She proceeded to complete the seminar and then had one of the facilitators take her to a nearby hotel where she lived for the next few weeks. In the meantime, Joseli pursued an active job search because she needed to make a living for herself and her pet housecat, Beverly. Joseli always kept her spirits up and her chin held high, in spite of the bleak circumstances.

In 2009, in addition to working with her VR counselor, Joseli began working with one of the Department employment specialists. She was asked to develop a list of potential employers which would consist of several area veterinary clinics. This was because her first love is animals and she wanted to get a job in this industry. Several places looked promising but for whatever reason, they did not hire her. Then came St. Francis Veterinary Clinic, located in the heart of Davenport. The owner and head vet, was very interested in having her interview for a receptionist position. She did so, and was hired immediately. The receptionist position turned into the pursuit of “other duties as assigned” as assistance was needed in a variety of ways. You see, one of the boss’ dogs was diabetic and needed daily insulin shots. Joseli did not let her blindness get in the way of this important task and so through the use of tactile plastic strips, cut to size for the proper dose, enabled her to follow through with administering the insulin shot. Joseli also went in early for her shift so she could make sure the office was ready for business, after cleaning up the office dogs’ “overnight indiscretions”! Joseli actually nursed both of the office dogs through to their last days.

An average day now likely finds her assisting the doctor with basic office procedures, calming the pets before surgery, and yes, sometimes even answering the telephone, which is a very vital piece of the high volume of business that St. Francis does. Dr. Seng, also known as Senator Seng, doesn’t know a stranger, when it comes to a family, or an individual, who has a pet in need. He is a calming force who has a tremendous skill to offer the animals, and who does it in a compassionate way. Joseli, who refers to him as “The Boss”, loves coming into work and always being given the opportunity to learn something new. Dr. Seng “forgets” she is blind and just asks of her what he does the rest of his staff, to perform the task at hand in order to help the animal in need. Joseli has been with the clinic for just over a year, but she feels it has been lifetime, because of the fact that each day she feels that she is truly making a difference.