Meet Barb Elliot
Barb Elliot is a production worker on VIA: Visually Impaired Advancement’s manufacturing floor and one of the friendliest people you will meet within the agency. With a can-do attitude, she boxes gloves and folds sleeves, among other projects.
“I’ve done a lot over the years,” she said. “I love the hands-on work.”
Never Slowed Down
Barb was born legally blind. While some people may have thought that would be detrimental to growing up, she didn’t feel that way. “I think it bothered other people more than it bothered me.”
Throughout her life, she felt it was important to strive to learn and do as much as possible. “I learn the tricks of how to do it differently. It never slows me down.”
Barb came to VIA, previously known as the Blind Association of Buffalo, and went through Vision Rehabilitation programs like Orientation & Mobility to help improve her independence at home and in the workplace. She began doing volunteer work in the building with VIA’s switchboard operations. Eventually, she moved on to Guildcare Adult Day Center, where she taught crafting classes before getting her job in manufacturing.
Hard Work and Recognition
Barb doesn’t just impress her team in VIA’s manufacturing department. According to Jessie Kelsey, VIA’s HR Payroll Administrator, Barb is truly one in a million.
“She is an incredibly hard worker and is always going above and beyond both for VIA and her coworkers,” Jessie said. “She never hesitates to bring her best and will frequently bring in snacks, cookies, treats, and holiday decorations!”
In 2021, Barb was nominated by VIA for Employee of the Year for New York State Preferred State Program (NYSPSP). This award is intended to recognize and reward outstanding work by a person who is blind or visually impaired employed at an NYSPSP-affiliated agency.
“It makes you feel good inside that you’re being recognized for the hard work you put in,” Barb said. “It’s something to be proud about.”
Barb said her advice for others with visual impairments is that nothing can stop you except for yourself. “You really need to have a positive attitude and strive on it; it’s important. You can’t let anything hold you back, especially vision issues.”
VIA is an equal opportunity employer! At VIA, you can grow your career and make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Find opportunities like Barb’s at viawny.org/work-here.
Learn more about VIA’s programs at viawny.org/services/.