Magazine Article

The newest adition of the guide dog magazine ‘guidelines’ has an article about me and OJ being on tv. It’s a PDF, so I’ve cut and pasted it below.

Third Appearance on
RTE Nationwide
for Jennifer (and OJ)
Jennifer Doherty, a guide dog owner from
Buncrana, Co Donegal at just 22 years old has
already had many achievements, from a
degree in Psychology and Music to producing
her first radio documentary for Inishowen
Community radio. Here she tells Guidelines
what it was like participating in a recent
documentary for Nationwide, which was the
third time she had taken part in the
programme.
Jennifer producing her radio show at Inishowen Community Radio
“The first time I was interviewed on Nationwide, I was 13 and
was in my first year of secondary school. The programme
focused on mine and my parent’s decision to send me to
mainstream school, in spite of my blindness and how I did the
same things as my friends.”
Several years later, when Jennifer was 17, Nationwide caught up
with her whilst she was taking her leaving certificate. By this time
she had made good friends and was looking forward to life after
school. “I always thought I would go to college and do what
everyone else did. There was not an issue that because I couldn’t
see I wasn’t going to go.” Jennifer went on to Queen’s University,
Belfast where she took a degree in Psychology and Music.
Jennifer with John McDaid, the Web Designer at the Verbal Arts Centre
After leaving University, Jennifer found a voluntary position,
through FAS with Inishowen Community Radio. “Radio is a great
medium for blind people”, she says. “We live without seeing and
it is so much easier to do things which only require listening.
I have a music show at Inishowen and recently produced a radio
documentary on music therapy.” This job gave Jennifer the
experience to successfully apply to the Verbal Arts Centre,
Derry,where she now edits audio work and is helping to set up
a radio station.
Recently Nationwide met up with Jennifer at the start of her
weekly commute to Derry by bus, with her guide dog. “I was
nervous at the beginning, but everyone was very friendly and
patient which helped me to relax. OJ is very familiar with the
route but on this occasion was more interested in following the
camera man rather than guiding me”.
OJ accompanies Jennifer everyday to work, and has his bed
beside her desk. “He has made my life so much better” she says,
“making it possible for me to go wherever I want without being
dependent on other people.”
By all accounts OJ loved being filmed, although did become
confused when it was necessary to retake shots. “He kept
thinking he had made a mistake”, said Jennifer “but after he had
sniffed the camera he seemed to have a better understanding of
what it was all about.”
In spite of Jennifer’s initial reservations she enjoyed taking part in
the documentary much more than she anticipated,and was very
happy with the result. However, that is not to say she would
want to go through it all over again, although she suspects OJ
wouldn’t turn down the offer.
Jennifer’s piece was broadcast on RTE Television on 18th April,
when Nationwide featured people with different disabilities.
It can be viewed at:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0418/nationwide.html.
http://www.guidedogs.ie

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Stormont

Me and O.J went to Stormont yesterday, as part of a group of blind and visually impaired people who are working to help increase employability. There is an RNIB centre on magazine street, and they run a project to help women gain access to IT training, confidence building and other courses, and employment. The purpose of the visit to Stormont was to celebrate the success of phase one and launch phase 2 of the project, which will involve men as well.
The journey to Belfast was good fun. There were four dogs on the bus, and they were all very well behaved. Poor O.J got stood on, as he didn’t have much room where we were sitting. We stopped for breakfast and food on the way home, and he was probably glad to get out of the bus.
There’s something strange about being in Stormont. So many important decisions are made there, and as expected after the Michael Stone incident a couple of years ago, security is tight. It’s a bit like going through an airport. My boss wanted me to meet the two MLA’s who were present, as i need to do all that i can to get funding between now and Christmas, or i will be one of the 7000 unemployed blind/VI people in Northern Ireland. Pat Ramsey introduced himself as soon as i got to the door, and Aideen McGinley came to talk to me as soon as i sat down. She was very helpful, and promised to get in touch soon. She then mentioned me in her speech, as an example of a role model who was working and enjoying my work. I was very embarrassed, but the Verbal Arts Centre got great publicity, and lots of people asked me about it afterwords.
We had tea and sandwiches after the speeches (which were all very interesting.) I got my photo taken by a very friendly photographer, and we took a few more outside the building before we left.
It was an interesting day, and definitely worth going. Hopefully something good will come out of it regarding funding.