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The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

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The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

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The Unseen Perspective

Student Podcast Educates the About Blind and Visually Impaired Community
The Unseen Perspective cover photo. Credit: Mara Jane/The Unseen Perspective

Mara Jane is a senior at St. James Academy in Lenexa. She will be majoring in Biochemistry at K-State starting in the fall of 2024. She recently started her own podcast, called The Unseen Perspective. She also happens to be legally blind.

“[My podcast is] all about explaining what it’s like to live life with a visual impairment,” says Mara. On the podcast’s description on Spotify, she invites listeners to “explore life from a new and unique perspective…that many people fail to think about.”

Mara’s first foray into the podcasting world was with the Kansas State School for the Blind’s podcast, Discover Podcasting. She has participated in KSSB’s summer programming for many years, and has been featured in some of the school’s podcast episodes.

Her involvement with that gave her the idea and interest. She decided to start her own because she thought it would be easier and would have full control over it herself.

Each episode of The Unseen Perspective talks about some aspect of living with a visual impairment. So far, five episodes have been published. One was about enjoying books/reading with a visual impairment. Mara will also occasionally feature guests, both sighted and blind. Two episodes with a guest are already out.

Mara hopes that this podcast will be beneficial for other visually impaired or blind listeners, as well as sighted listeners. “I’m hoping that sighted people will gain a better understanding of the challenges of living with a visual impairment,” she says, “But also I am hoping to empower blind people.”

In general, the goal of her podcast is to educate people. “I think it’s important for people to know what visually impaired people are going through on a day-to-day basis so they know how to treat us and approach us,” she shares, “It is frustrating for us to live in a sighted world because we can feel isolated and disconnected even if the nature of our blindness doesn’t bother us.”

Getting started with her podcast, Mara shares, was kind of a busy process. She had to fill out all of her information and get everything set up on Spotify for Podcasters. She also has the podcast in video form on a YouTube channel. Finally, she runs an Instagram page for the podcast.

Because she knows how important it is, Mara ensures accessibility on the podcast’s social media. Every image on its Instagram page has alt-text built in, which is a description of a picture for someone who can’t see it.

Mara hopes that her podcast will have longevity and that she is able to continue it for a long time. She has high hopes for the future and has a few more episode ideas planned out already. One episode coming will feature another guest and will discuss common misconceptions about visually impaired and blind people.

Mara has a few words about the blind and visually impaired community. “We’re capable of a lot more than people think we are typically even though we do things so differently…you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are curious about something, always ask the question and not just ignore us.”

You can listen to The Unseen Perspective on YouTube or Spotify. You can also listen to Kansas State School for the Blind’s podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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About the Contributor
Lyra Thompson
Lyra Thompson, Writer
Lyra Thompson is 17 years old and a senior at Bonner Springs High School. She's had a passion for writing from a very young age and wants to be a fiction author and journalist in the future. In school, Lyra is involved in Scholar's Bowl, National Honors Society, FCA, and Academic Decathlon. Outside of school, she works at Cookie Co. in Lenexa. In her free time, Lyra loves to read, sing, play video games and board games, and watch TV.

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