Jessica Jones has been teaching art at Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx for the past eleven years. As the only blind teacher, Jessica continues to thrive in the school community and serves as a strong role model for her visually impaired students. Jessica loves to see parents experience their children surpassing expectations in the classroom. She puts faith in her students and has high hopes that each will graduate by the age of twenty-one and continue on to college.
In 2016, the Lavelle School’s administration approved and supported Jessica’s pitch to hold an art exhibition of her students’ work. The second annual Vision of Art show took place in April of 2017, receiving attention from the Bronx Times it was an inspiration to the whole community, including the parents and students who realized accomplishments through Jessica’s guidance.
The Going Blind film offers hope to those dealing with vision loss and Jessica only wishes that this film had existed when she was first losing her sight. She wants parents of blind children to learn from the film, as well, and from her personal story as it offers a teacher’s perspective into this world.
People still recognize Jessica from Going Blind, they remember her story and oftentimes approach her on the street to share their own stories with her. Jessica hopes people will continue to reach out to blind people on the street to connect, to share, and to offer help.
Although her seeing-eye dog in Going Blind, Chef, has since passed away Jessica now entrusts her new dog, Willy. Jessica credits Chef with teaching her how to become more aware of her surroundings and values the companionship and security that guide dogs offer those who are blind.
At the same time that Jessica wants people to be inspired by her story she also wants people to understand that losing one’s vision is difficult and can be very scary. However, she prefers that people refrain from calling blindness a disability – according to Jessica, blindness shouldn’t hold anyone back from realizing their dreams and living a full life, just like she does. She’s proud of her perseverance but wants it to be understood that she was “utterly terrified but would not let that hold [her] back.”
Visit Jessica’s website at: https://jessikajonz.wordpress.com/