Students from the MCPHS Doctor of Optometry program are learning what it's like to walk in the shoes of a visually impaired person (VIP) through a community group called WALKFIT.
WALKFIT's members, which include students, VIPs and other volunteers, meet weekly at the Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester to walk and talk alongside one another. Group members who are not visually impaired have the opportunity to be blindfolded and guided around on a walk, affording students the chance to experience what it may be like to be visually impaired.
Chrissy Golab, a student in the MCPHS OD program, says that getting together with the group is more than just an educational experience.
"We like to call it 'Talk Fit' too," says Chrissy. "We get together and tell stories. We become friends. It's a great way to show empathy toward visually impaired people."
Through WALKFIT, MCPHS students not only learn proper etiquette in assisting those who cannot see or have low vision but develop meaningful relationships with VIPs in their local community.