"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Patt's "Lifeline" - Guest Post by Patt Kelsey

Today's post is written by Patt Kelsey. I very recently met Patt on a Facebook forum, Church CART ProvidersPat shares what it was like for her to have CART at a "Joni and Friends" event over Memorial weekend. Pat shares a few of her photos from her weekend at the end of this post.


I would like to share the amazing experience I had Memorial Weekend, with having CART provided for me...my FIRST EVER experience with it...at a Joni and Friends event!! (Marriage Getaway on Lake Tahoe). When I contacted the headquarters for Joni and Friends, as well as the Central CA location (which is where I'm located), I was ultimately directed to the Sacramento branch, which is the local group that was hosting the getaway weekend (for couples dealing with either a spouse, or a child, with disabilities of any kind). They weren't aware of CART or what exactly it involved, and apologized, but said 'maybe next year'.

To make a long story short, after numerous facebook messages, and emails, and working out the details, and offering to bring in a CART provider from back East (the only one I knew, though I'd never met her yet! Bernice Kramer Radavich) the staff with Joni and Friends, Sacramento gave us the 'ok'...and I promptly registered my husband and I for the weekend! The staff was wonderfully accommodating. (And they also are now aware of CART!)

I can not express just how AMAZING it was to have every word captioned as it was spoken (and Bernice will tell you there were MANY words spoken throughout that weekend!) I didn't really know what to expect as it all began Friday evening...but within MINUTES of the captions filling the monitor I felt myself relax and I immediately began to take in and enjoy EVERY WORD!! For the first time in years I was able to 'listen', participate in discussions, answer questions, 'hear' all that was being taught and shared!! I laughed and cried right along with everyone else...actually KNOWING what I was laughing and crying about!

As a 'bonus' my pastor and his wife happened to be the guest speakers for the retreat...and they saw first hand the benefits and 'inner workings' of CART! They have promised me they will be doing what they have to in order to provide CART at the Sunday services at our church, as soon as possible! BIG thanks to Bernice, (amazing CART provider; professional, quick/accurate, and SO sweet and thoughtful!) as well as Joni and Friends, Sacramento! I am now, more than ever, spreading the word about CART and advocating for it every chance that I get! Anyone who wants to help 'spread the word'...ask your pastors about adding CART (live real time captioning is the quick definition) for the many Hard of Hearing, and deaf (who don't know or use Sign Language to communicate).

As Bernice was packing up her 'gear', and heading away from the resort,  I felt an instant and very real 'disconnect' from everyone around me.  I literally said out loud, 'There goes my 'lifeline'. Because, that's exactly how I felt throughout the retreat...CART had made my world come to 'life' again, through the spoken words that Bernice so skillfully captioned. Standing outside with the other couples (having just finished the renewal of our wedding vows) the world was once again put on 'mute'. With CART it was almost as if I were actually able to HEAR again! Now there was 'silence'.  

Thank you, Patt, for sharing your experience and photos with us!

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