“I’ve always believed in being the best that I can be and that what the crowd is doing doesn’t matter.”
When Connie Scheu earned her Master’s in Social Work from top-ranked Case Western Reserve University it was not through a usual path. Her high academic standing qualified her to enter an accelerated program which she completed in one year; all while commuting between Erie PA and Cleveland, Ohio. She was also 41 years old, a working wife, and mother of two teenaged sons.
But her stick-to-itiveness would pay off and in 1993, Connie became the first blind student to graduate from the school’s Mandell School of Applied Social Sciences.
Hardly sounds like one who follows the crowd.
That same year, Connie learned about the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and was convinced enough to attend her first state convention. Other than an illness that kept her home in 2017, she has not missed a state convention since. And she’s been more than just an attendee. Over fifteen years ago, Connie started baking chocolate chip cookies as a convention auction item. Her cookies have become a sort of coveted staple drawing bids over $200.
Shortly thereafter, Connie joined the Erie County Chapter, serving as both secretary and treasurer. She also held those same positions for the Pennsylvania affiliate. In 2001, Connie was elected president of the Erie chapter — a position she still holds today.
Connie is passionate about helping not only her chapter members but anyone within the blind community become independent and well, “live the life they want.”
“People have told me I’m a good example for the NFB. I think that’s because I keep people informed and caught up. This is critical in helping people reach their potential.”
Connie occasionally volunteers at the Sight Center and has also offered one on one support as well as presented before such groups as the Boy Scouts of America.
After a long career with the Social Security Administration, Connie retired, and when not busy with the Chapter, she enjoys traveling, gardening and quality time with friends. And she’s looking forward to new ventures like taking voice lessons. She has never let her condition of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) slow her down.
“I still have a lot of things on my list.”
Contact Connie at:
Written by Lisa Bryant