AUBURN (CBS13) – Plenty of people have seen braille on public restroom signs, ATMs, and a variety of other items – one being books. Peggy Schuetz in Auburn is churning out pages of braille faster than your fingers can skim the page and has been for a long time.
“About 25 years,” Schuetz said. “I was retired and I was very bored and I decided to volunteer somewhere.”READ MORE: Mayor Steinberg Releases Master Plan To House Homeless
The search for a new purpose led to an ad in a local paper asking for braillists.
Peggy responded, and with a printer and six months of learning the language, she laid out the script of the next 25 years of her life.
“It’s something that, unless you experience it, you would not really believe what it does with your life,” Schuetz said.
She gets joy of creating braille school books for children. But, Schuetz is also looking to help others get a second chance a life with these raised dots.
“The last big program we did was called Braille Beyond The Walls. And that was teaching how the inmates, first of all, how to braille. And, then when they get out, providing them the materials to start their own work at home,” Schuetz said.READ MORE: Keep Tahoe Blue: Team Of Divers Collect 8,000 Pounds Of Trash In 25 Days
The director of Braille Beyond The Walls John Romeo told CBS13 that this program and those in the prison system have created some of the best braillists. They’ll teach inmates how to put braille on a lot of different items and help get them on the right track.
“A lot of the time, this is through empathy skills and job development. These are things that braille incorporates heavily,” Romeo said. “The empathy is a major component because you’re working for someone else and having to understand someone else’s perspective. It also teaches them job skills, a vocation. So, it’s a two thing.”
It’s a win-win that the California Prison Industry Authority said does wonders for the rehabilitation of these inmates and their job skills upon their release.
CalPIA said that its braille program has been around since 1989 and offers certification through the Library Of Congress and the National Braille Association.
So, the next time you see raised dots on a page or on a sign, think of who it’s for and who is making them. As for Schuetz, she’s not stepping away from the braille game in any way anytime soon.
“I hope to be brailling until very last day,” Schuetz said.MORE NEWS: Tree Trimmers In Short Supply As People Prepare For Fires
Romeo and Schuetz say they hope to create other braille programs within the prison systems. One program is focusing on juvenile detention centers and another is establishing new prison braille training programs.