Jessica Minneci, Treasurer
I became involved with the American Council of the Blind when I won an academic scholarship in 2015, and was invited to attend the ACB national convention in Dallas, Tex. At the time, I was ecstatic. I had never attended such a large conference or been in the presence of so many visually impaired people all at once. The experience was both overwhelming and exhilarating.
My time in Texas was something I will never forget. I quickly met new incoming college freshmen like myself as well as some older students who were pursuing their master’s degrees. I enjoyed swapping stories and meeting others who were also going through college with a visual impairment. I remember sharing a cab from the airport to my hotel with a woman who had a guide dog. I was able to ask her questions about what it was like being a guide dog handler. At the convention’s exhibit hall, I spoke to different guide dog schools. Those conversations led me to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind in California. In 2016, I was accepted to the school, and I will be getting my dog this May.
After my positive experiences in Texas, I attended the ACB national convention in Minneapolis, Minn. in 2016. In Minnesota, I reconnected with old friends and met some new scholarship winners at the ACB Students welcome party. Aside from assisting with newspaper deliveries, one of my friends and I decided to walk in the ACB Walk one morning. Funnily enough, I won the award for youngest walker. One unexpected occurrence, however, made the 2016 convention really memorable. I was elected treasurer of the ACBS board.
So far, I have loved my time on the board. My board position has allowed me to improve my ability to collaborate with others and work as a team to make decisions. I’ve learned to stay organized and manage my time wisely. I also applied for an academic scholarship this year. I’m part of the ACBS convention planning and fundraising committee for this year’s convention in Reno. Some events that we are looking forward to putting on this year include a makeup workshop and a collaboration with GDUI.
I’m extremely grateful that I applied for a scholarship in 2015, because it opened the door for me to become a part of a fantastic organization. I’ve formed friendships that I’m sure will last a lifetime. Also, I am part of a great board that is looking forward to the future of our affiliate. I’m lucky to be a part of an organization like ACB because it has become a second home to me.