A Place of Rainbows, Unicorns, and Sparkly Magic

MichelleMichelle Wininger’s life changed dramatically the day she and her husband, Steve, returning from a weekend motorcycle trip, were broadsided by a car.   Among her numerous injuries was a head trauma that seemed to her to affect the way her brain worked.

Michelle’s career as a finance director had relied heavily on her left brain’s analytical abilities. As Michelle says, “for me one plus one equaled two, period.” She always saw issues in black and white. However, she recalls that when she woke up after her accident she was suddenly seeing things in a whole different way. It was as if the right side of her brain, the creative side, was taking over. 

Her entire view of life and how she wanted to spend the rest of it had changed dramatically.  After returning to her previous number crunching career, she kept asking herself, “What am I doing? This is not my life.”

Answering an ad for a part time volunteer to help in the art classes at Braille Institute’s Rancho Mirage regional center, she soon found herself assisting in ceramic classes.

Her first comment after she started was that the name Braille Institute is so misleading. It just doesn’t describe what goes on here. She laughs and says, “We should be called the place of ‘Rainbows, Unicorns, and Sparkly Magic.’”

The students she helps “give me a gift and not the other way around,” she explains. “They give to me 500 times more than I could possibly give to them.”

Not surprisingly, Michelle now feels that volunteering was always meant to be a key destination on her life’s path. “Volunteering at Braille Institute opens up my world and makes it so much bigger and better.”

Hear more from Michelle in her InSights video.