His Summer Vacation is an Internship at VisionCorps

Tags: Youth Services

Toby Harnish, a teen from Lebanon, is spending his summer vacation at VisionCorps.

The 17-year-old, who lives in Cornwall, is participating in a six-week long STEP, or Student Transition and Employment Preparation, internship to learn more about work opportunities and skills to facilitate independent living. The internship is full-time, five days a week.

“What I’ve learned is all new to me,” said Toby. “I haven’t done anything like this before. Sometimes I’m packing stuff, working on taking pads off the cutting machine, loading bottles into the chemical machines, or folding papers.”

Toby has met a lot of people during his work, and he said other employees often share information about skills they have learned, and other things they are doing.

He is happy about being paid during his internship.

“VisionCorps is able to pay me for my work, and I’m thinking of using it to buy a computer,” said Toby.

Toby is hoping to buy a new computer that he will use to for his home schooling. He plans to continue home schooling in the next year, and then is likely to return to the Cornwall-Lebanon School District for his senior year.

He uses a braille display, Focus 40, which he won recently in a contest, and Braille Note Touch (BNT) to read, write and work on online learning. He recently finished a book about Martin Luther titled Here I Stand, a biography of Luther and his work to establish Christianity.

His future plans include exploring accounting as a possible career. He likes math and working with numbers and plans to continue taking math classes including Algebra 1 and 2, Calculus, and business math. Toby said he learns most of his math by reading books and completing online problems that he then sends to his parents to check.

In his spare time, Toby enjoys playing chess and he likes to build websites.

“I like to do work,” he says, “and I would like to do more planting and gardening. I’d like to mow the grass but my parents don’t think that my vision will allow me to do it.”

“I like to think first,” said Toby. “I think of the consequences and what I need to learn so that I can be more independent. I’d like to live on my own.”