Black deafblind consumer Nadine says, “Do not discriminate!”
Canadian Helen Keller Centre is a diverse place. Not only the staff, but also the individuals that we serve.
It is a reflection of the city of Toronto. Black, Muslim, Pakistani, Indian, LGBTQ, every one of all backgrounds are represented at CHKC.
Consumer and employee, Nadine Anderson, lives quite the life. If you were to find her on social media, you would learn that she likes the finer things, and that includes good food.
She says, “I love food culture, dance culture and listening to music. I really enjoy travelling downtown.”
A Toronto native, Nadine is well known as a tenant at Rotary Cheshire Apartments (RCA) and as a part-time employee at both RCA and the CHKC Training Centre.
She has resided at RCA for over a decade where she enjoys socializing with other deafblind individuals like herself.
“It’s clean and quiet,” she says of RCA. “I have access to 24/7 on-duty service and I feel safe here.”
She continues, “I was 25 when I moved into my apartment at RCA. It changed my life because I was able to find more independence. I can buy food, do my own laundry, go to the bank, attend events and most important, I learned how to cook through the CHKC Training Centre. I also have learned, through intervenor services, how to budget.”
Born with Rubella, Nadine attended Metro School for the Deaf during her elementary years, but it was not until she was 16-years-old that she began receiving Intervenor Services. By then she was a student at Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute.
Some of the challenges that Nadine faces as a person who is deafblind are remedied in part by accessible larger print with her iPad, home computer and iPhone.
“The light is very bright in my kitchen so I can use what vision I have to cook everything I need. I cannot read small print, so when I go grocery shopping I ask my intervenor for help, or if I’m alone, I ask one of the clerks.”
As a Black consumer Nadine wants everyone to know that we are all the same, even if our skin colour is different. She says that education around BIPOC is essential to understanding the history of Canada. She encourages everyone to learn as much as possible.
In addition to her duties at the CHKC Training Centre, Nadine also works at Canada’s Wonderland. “I’m friendly and smile at everyone. I sweep the floor, clean up dirt from the tables and make sure that everything looks nice and clean. I can explain to guests where the maps and washrooms are located.”
If that wasn’t enough, Nadine is also an instructor at George Brown College in the Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program.
Nadine says that with her strong ASL skills “I use Intervenor Services three or four times a week. We go to the dentist, family doctor etc. My intervenor will guide me in crowded areas like the subway stations. If I am without an intervenor, I use gestures and write notes. I also use Intervenor Services to go to restaurants, museums, grocery stores and malls.”
She adds for emphasis, “everything that you do as a sighted and hearing person, I can do through intervenor services.”
She says of herself, “I have a sense of honour and I am friendly. I smile everyday. I encourage people to laugh with me because I will joke with them.”
With February being Black History Month Nadine would like readers to remember, “Not to discriminate. I am black and I am deafblind. I have been discriminated against for being a double minority and it is not nice. We are all human beings, and should be treated equally.”