Determination Makes All Things Possible
Imagine waking from a coma 17 days after a horrific car accident, totally blind.
"My world was turned upside down. It took me a year to accept the fact that I would never see again. The accident took such a large toll on my mentality,” explained Jodi May.
After several years of surgeries and medical issues, Jodi attended Vision Expo in Indianapolis and was introduced to Bosma. July 30, 2018 - six years to the day after her accident - she began Bosma’s Rehabilitation program and has never looked back.
“Bosma encouraged me to define my blindness, not let it define me,” she said. She flourished in the Rehab program and was especially excited as she learned to navigate the kitchen as a person who is blind.
Jodi began looking at her world differently. She always wanted to be a teacher, and with her avid interest in the culinary world, her plan began to take shape.
“With help from Bosma, I approached Ivy Tech about entering their Culinary School. They were very hesitant at first, but when they saw how determined I was and learned from Bosma what could be done to make it possible, they agreed to give it a try. I started my classes in 2021 and completed my 2-year program in July of 2023. I’m proud to say that I am the first person who is blind to go through Ivy Tech’s Culinary School,” she said.
The head of the department, Chef Jeff Bricker, and Judy Reynolds, Student Training and Employment Program director at Indiana School for the Blind, were key to the success of the program. In each class segment, Jodi had help from disability specialists, other culinary students, and students studying social work at Ivy Tech.
“I learned knife skills, meat and seafood fabricating, plate presentation...just like every other student,” Jodi said.
In May, she and two other sighted women from her class took a dream trip to France for ten days to experience the cuisine they had studied. They visited the Alsace and Champagne regions and spent five days in Paris. It was a dream come true.
"My favorite part of the trip was visiting a monastery near Strasbourg. None of us knew much about it, but when we arrived, we found it was named for Saint Odile, the patron saint of eye patients! I felt like I had come full circle – I was meant to come to this place," Jodi said.
In August, Jodi began the last two years of her educational journey. She is attending classes at IUPUI to get her elementary education teaching degree, and hopes to teach family consumer science (home ec) to young girls who are blind.
“If there is one thing I can tell people like me, it’s when life throws you a curve ball, you can either hit it out of the park or let it smack you in the face. Don’t give up on your dreams!” Jodi said.
“There’s not just one way to the top of the mountain.”
- Jodi May