Bookshare volunteer, Steven Obenour, lives in Jacksonville, FL. He currently supports the Poet image description project with a special focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) texts. Steven has worked more than 32 years in various technical occupations including manufacturing and process engineering, software development, and the robotics industry. Technical writing is always a big part of his work responsibilities. Steven continues to work in temporary and contract employment positions. He says the volunteer opportunities with Bookshare improve his creativity and writing skills. He enjoys setting daily goals and targets for completion of image descriptions and finds that even a small or modest daily effort can result in significant accomplishments over time. His stepfather, who was blind, and his nephew with dyslexia were on his mind when searching for a volunteer project at volunteermatch.org. He input the words “blind, disabled, and computer,” and volunteermatch.org listed Benetech and Bookshare in the results of his first search. Bookshare then answered his email offering the Poet project as a possible best fit volunteer opportunity.
Steven is one of 192 volunteers currently working on the Poet image description project. This team of volunteers from all over the country has already described 40,567 images of which 15,269 are in NIMAC textbooks.
Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds including colleges, business, and individuals, all wanting to contribute. A blog post from September gave a couple of examples of teams of students on college campuses getting together to describe images.