The Responsibility and Privilege of Leadership

The Responsibility and Privilege of Leadership

By Hunter Kuester

(Editor’s Note: Hunter is learning early the value of serving as a leader in our organization; often, we receive as much or more than we give.)

First, I would like to say that This organization has given me so much and will continue to do so as I remain active as a student and beyond. I am speaking about involvement in not only the state student division of the National Federation of the Blind, but also the National Association of Blind Students. Both of them have benefits to offer.

For instance, the Minnesota association of Blind Students was where I first got involved a few years ago and doing so really introduced me to a whole world of opportunity as a blind student. I joined with no idea what I wanted to be after graduating from BLIND, Inc. I only knew I wanted to go to college and pursue something better for myself. As I put myself out there I got to be mentored while finding my interests within the organization which ended up putting me on the track to go to business school. MNABS really gave me the chance to try and fail while growing into a leader. I benefitted greatly because it is a low risk high reward organization where a person is given the tools to succeed and the independence to thrive.

Additionally, the Minnesota student division of the National Federation of the Blind has tested me and helped form my leadership style. I first got a taste of leadership responsibility just over a year ago as I was appointed as a committee co-chair. This gave me prospective on what it is to have a team behind me who is as excited about the work as I am. This further led me to run and win a spot on The MNABS board. My experience on the board has really helped me understand a plethora of skills, but I cannot emphasize that the most important role in this organization is that of a member. Just getting involved will lead to so many valuable experiences.

Beyond the state division, the National Association of Blind Students also has a lot to offer. For a little more information, the National Association of Blind Students or NABS is a division of the National Federation of the Blind and fights for equal rights for students, as well as providing resources and so much more. Getting involved has never been easier than now with all the different committees that focus on a variety of topics that help propel us forward. I fell in love with fundraising in Minnesota which led me to getting involved with the fundraising committee on a national level and ultimately resulted in me becoming its co-chair.

Furthermore, NABS provides students with the opportunity to meet and make connections with other blind students throughout the country. With the multiple regional seminars and programming during National Convention and Washington Seminar, students like me have met and built a great network. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can reach out to a friend who will help me through it. I cannot express how valuable these networks have been for me while navigating the beginning of my higher education.

I would just like to emphasize that no matter how much I give back I continue to learn and grow much further than I’ve been told and thought I could. This is why both organizations are so very important and getting involved with both will serve anyone who is willing to learn and grow.