It was a field trip with a purpose for students from the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville.
They visited Lions Volunteer Blind Industries in Morristown to learn about post-graduation options.
"I want to be independent because I really don't want to depend on anyone to do everything for me," Trenton Smith said.
Robin Bush is the Transition Coordinator Tennessee School for the Blind.
She said, "At the School for the Blind that's our goal for all of our students is for them to be as independent as possible. And that's our job to help them reach their goals and the best of their ability."
It's a natural fit.
The mission of VBI is providing people who are blind or visually impaired the dignity of independence through employment.
"We want to show the kids what grown up blind people do. Be like a mentoring organization for them and show them all the opportunities here, the things we do," Owen Neil said.
He's with Lions Volunteer Blind Industries. He said it's where they can get job training and rehab services like adaptive technology and independent living skills.
A tour of the sewing department there allowed the students to interact with workers.
"There's a big new world out there and things are changing for the blind community. And that they will be able to find decent, gainful employment and be independent for the rest of their lives even though they are blind," he said.
Robin Bush said, "It was great to come in and see a couple of our students from our school working here and actually one of them is starting to move on to a vending program. So it's great to see that they are being successful."
It's not one-size-fits-all.
The students found out about different jobs, not only sewing but also making and selling mattresses, running vending businesses, and administrative positions.
"Years ago, people thought blind people could just do manufacturing. We started out making mops and brooms 900 years ago. Ha! Now blind people are doing other things with technology. We have screen readers. So we can be lawyers and professionals and teachers and different things. A lot of people are working inc all centers. So it is changing a lot but we still have a long way to go," Owen Neil said.
The students traveled a long way to Morristown to discover possibilities for dignity of independence through employment.
He said, "They know they don't have to be defined by their disability any more. There are lots of opportunities for things they can do as they go forward."
Lions Volunteer Blind Industries started in 1951. It operates in both Morristown and Johnson City.