Informational Interviews & VRS Summer Transition Academy

Informational Interviews & VRS Summer Transition Academy

The theme of the June 13, 2017 Summer Transition Academy was “Informational Interviews.”  Instructors Jamie and Nancy introduced the basics of completing informational interviews to the VRS Transition Academy participants.  During Informational interviews, the job-seeker is permitted to ask employers questions about their personal experiences on the job.  Informational interviews are important, because they give individuals who are exploring the world of work, the opportunity to access a worker’s first-hand information about the education requirements, challenges, and benefits of pursuing a career in a particular industry.

After explaining how to conduct an informational interview, the students were divided into four separate groups to practice.  Group #4 (Ashley, Dalton and Zoey) had the opportunity to interview Karen, an interpreter for the deaf and blind.  Karen told Ashley that she first became interested in becoming an interpreter on the day that she walked into a local church and was moved to tears by the sight of a pastor leading a congregation of deaf people in prayer and worship.  Karen also shared with Zoe that the most difficult part of her job was being unable to become certified in dual sensory loss interpretation, due to the lack of educational resources available in Georgia.

Dr Forche speaking to AcademyDuring lunch, our low vision specialist Dr. Jon Forche, paid us a visit and shared with the participants that the greatest thing about his job with VRS was that it combined both his love of optometry with his passion for psychology.  Both Dr. Forche and his intern Colleen answered questions from the group regarding how they came to choose the field of Optometry for their career.

Zoe (left) and Heidi (right)

Zoe (left) and Heidi (right)


Zoe Romocki was interviewed as the Participant of the Week.  Zoe is a rising Junior at Lassiter High School, who has astigmatism.  She learned about the VRS Transition Academy through her mobility trainer.  The reason Zoe enrolled in this course, was to learn some of the skills that would make her marketable in the workforce.  Zoe shared that after learning about Informational Interviews, she feels like she’s off to a great start.  Zoe was able to practice her new skills when she visited the Smyrna Community Center, library and City Hall during this week’s afternoon session.

Summer Academy at Alpine Sign & Graphics Studio

Steve Gardner of Alpine Sign & Graphics Studio speaking to Summer Transition Academy participants

After lunch, the participants divided into smaller groups to practice their new informational interviewing skills within local community businesses.  One group visited Alpine Sign & Graphics Studio to work on the class logo with owner, Steve Gardner.  Steve shared an overview of how his career progressed to him being the owner of his studio.  The class received information on how one can have multiple careers over their lifetime.

A second group remained at VRS to interview Richard Hunt, owner of OTG-IT Consulting.  Richard showed the students how to build a PC from scratch, which they loved!

From left to right,William, Richard, and Gus

From left to right,William, Richard, and Gus

He shared that one of the challenges of his job was the need to travel a lot, since many PC issues are unsolvable remotely.  Nonetheless, Richard insisted that the thrill of working with technology was worth the trouble.  Another group visited the Downtown Smyrna District where they learned about different Smyrna City careers.  And, the last group was hosted by Uncle Maddio’s Pizza (Smyrna), where they were shown how a restaurant is run and the various types of jobs involved in that business.  These folks delivered several pizza boxes that had been assembled by the transition group and the VRS Job Readiness classes.



Ultra-Important Facts On Ultraviolet Rays


Ultra-violet (UV) rays can damage your eyes and increase your risk of cataracts and cancers of the eye. Because UV rays can be permanently harmful, sunglasses with UV protection are recommended for everyone, but especially for those that work outside or already have existing eye problems.

While many have heard of the dangers of skin cancer, few people know that various skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas) can occur on the eyelids, on the surface of the eye and even inside of the eye. In fact, 5-10% of skin cancer affects the eyelids.  Our eyes are the only internal tissue of our body that are exposed to sunlight. Without proper sunglasses, nearly 40% of the rays get into our eyes even when we’re not directly exposed. Ocular melanoma cancer is the most common type of eye cancer in adults and can cause permanent vision loss. Around 94% of people are affected with premature aging signs near the eye regions. This is also caused by exposure to intense sun rays that make your skin dry. This affects the skin texture and makes it more prone to get wrinkles and fine lines.

For these reasons, it is essential to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays by regularly wearing protective sunglasses. Sunglasses should be 100% UV-absorbent for UVA and UVB or be labeled UV400. To provide additional UV protection, also wear a wide-brimmed hat, especially when during the mid-day sun or if you will be outdoors for a prolonged period of time.

Remember, prolonged UV exposure can occur outside, but also in tanning beds. People who are fair-skinned, Caucasians, have light-colored eyes, smoke, or have had a family history of skin cancer are particularly at risk and sensitive to UV rays.

Parents should also be extra cautious with their children’s activities such as swimming or skiing because the sun is reflected off the water, snow, or ice and heavy UV exposure can occur without even realizing it.

Regular dilated eye exams, especially in high risk patients, can provide early warnings, diagnosis, and treatment of the aforementioned eye diseases and prevent or treat these eye diseases related to UV exposure.

For more information check out: Think About Your Eyes

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