Mr Sweeney Shares

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On my very last day working for GraceKennedy Limited, I had one of the most profound interactions I’ve ever had. It was a meeting with Mr. Curtis Sweeney, Counselling Psychologist for the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation. The interaction lasted only about twenty minutes, but it was life-changing.

Throughout my two month period at GraceKennedy, I had heard about this ‘Mr. Sweeney’ on several occasions – all good things, by the way. But none of these reviews had adequately prepared me for the remarkable man that I was about to meet. Mr. Sweeney has been working for the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation for a total of fifteen years counseling and mentoring students from the inner-city neighborhoods that surround GraceKennedy.


Listening to the testimonies from some of his clients, it is clear that he has left an indelible and lasting mark on these young people. One such testimony is that of a young lady from Parade Gardens. For her- the most meaningful thing that has happened to her is not the financial support or aid that she has received from the foundation, but the emotional support that Mr. Sweeney has given her.“My favorite thing about the foundation is Mr. Sweeney. He is just awesome. Honestly, I do not know where my life would be without him. I could just sit and talk to him for hours and hours”.


Now for many of you, I am sure this kind of testimony seems nowhere out of the norm. It might seem like just another Psychologist doing his job. But, I assure you, there is something very special about this man. Something that I am sure not many of you would ever expect. What is it you ask? He is blind. That’s right. He is not sighted, having lost his vision as a young man. However, he can see very clearly what he wants to do and has pursued it with mall his might.


This man has accomplished so much in his life. From obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, he is currently pursuing his Doctoral level degree. I could not help but be impressed as I listened to him speak. But, it was not even his accolades and academic accomplishments that captivated-or warmed my heart the most. The most awe-inspiring about him was the passion he had for helping others. It’s a passion he has been able to translate into a reality, by helping others to overcome whatever difficulties they face.


As I watched him demonstrate how he “reads” his e-mails, I could not help but think about all the times I had complained when an e-mail took too long to load. Or my cursor or screen-page froze. During those instances it never once occurred to me to be thankful that I could even see the cursor- or read the words on the page. Fortunately, Mr. Sweeney has been able to make use of a very innovative programme which literally reads his e-mails to him. He explained it to me calmly and easily. It was amazing to me, but to him, business as usual. Just another day at the office!


Mr Sweeney (3)

I truly believe interactions like this change your life and perspective. Not only do they instill a sense of thanksgiving, but they motivate you to be better, and to do better. Here I was face to face with a man who I perhaps would have thought needed my help or had a disability. But here he was teaching me, that you don’t need sight to have vision. That in his darkness there is much light and that he is using his light to help others light their path.
Now tell me, what’s more encouraging than that?

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