An East Tennessee 14 year old has performed in talent shows and with the Knoxville Children's Choir. She's also an active member of Club VIBES.
An East Tennessee 14 year old has performed in talent shows and with the Knoxville Children's Choir.
"We sang with Dolly Parton for the 25 years celebrating Dollywood," McKenzie Ayers said. "We went to Dollywood again and we opened up for the Wild Eagle."\
Teen overcomes being legally blind but still enjoys club for the visually impaired. Emily Stroud and Jim Martin
Singing is what McKenzie Ayers does.
"I sing so much that my mom gets annoyed and makes me go back in my room and shut my door and I can sing back there. Can't sing in the car," she said with a smile.
It wasn't a car crash but a snowboarding crash when she was 10 that caused a concussion.
"Pretty much everything was blurry. Movement was a big thing too like it would be hard to look at things going really fast and it would start giving me a headache," she said.
Sue Buckley explained, "She was right at what you would call legally blind. Some people think blindness means total dark and it does not mean that. Legally blind can be very many stages."
Sue is blind herself. You may have seen her on the back of a tandem bike along Cherokee Boulevard. Sue and McKenzie met and she joined the group Sue founded called Club VIBES.
"VIBES stands for Visually Impaired Blind Enhanced Services so we work with young people up to about the age 30 that are blind or visually impaired. We work on independent skills, living, we tandem bicycle, do recreational fun activities with the young people," she said.
McKenzie said, "I didn't want to have to be doing that because I wanted to be able to see good. But also I was like, well, it might be fun."
It was fun and still is.
McKenzie's vision has actually improved so that she is no longer legally blind. She us still active in Club VIBES and has become a mentor to some of the other members: helping with iPad communication options, cycling, and singing.
Sue Buckley said, "We allow singing. Matter of fact we allow everybody to sing. it's not always pretty but we do allow singing. McKenzie is usually one of our leaders with the singing so we don't have those same rules that her mother does. I heard she's not allowed to sing in the car but is she rode in my car she would be allowed to sing."