Jason Polansky is not just your average sophomore business major at Messiah—he is also blind.
Blind since birth, Polansky has learned to carry out day-to-day activities, such as navigating streets and walkways, traveling alone in an unfamiliar city and cooking in a standard kitchen. Polanksy gained the confidence to perform these tasks independently with the help of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB).
To give back to the organization who continues to do so much for him, Polansky wanted to find a way to raise awareness for the blind community and the NFB on Messiah’s campus. He chose to team up with Messiah’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) to create the #BlindnessIsNot campaign.
#BlindnessIsNot aims to raise awareness of the challenges blind students face on college campuses and other schools.
“To me, the campaign means showing others that blindness does not limit my success or define me and that high expectations and a positive mindset are the key for persons with disabilities to live the lives that they desire,” Polansky said.
The campaign kicked off on October 15 with a panel discussion encouraging students and staff to “meet the blind.” The panel included Jacob Polansky, faculty member Dr. David Dzaka and a few community members who were impacted by the NFB.
The fundraising portion of the campaign began on October 26 and will continue through November 4. To participate in the campaign, students or faculty can donate directly to the GoFundMe campaign created by the National Association of Blind Students, an organization under the NFB. For every $10 a participant donates, that individual will earn one entry into a prize drawing. If participants give or show proof of online donation, every $10 donated will result in two entries in the drawing during Fall Fest tomorrow afternoon.
Senior public relations major and PRSSA president Jenna McClain said partnering with the NFB offered a unique opportunity to impact Messiah. “This subject is so pertinent to our Messiah community. The chance to take part in awareness, educational and fundraising effort is really a blessing. As soon as Jason approached me with the need, I knew it would be an excellent opportunity for PRSSA to get involved.”
All of the money raised during the #BlindnessIsNot campaign will go directly to the National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of Blind Students. According to the NFB website, its mission is to “raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams.”