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Educational & Life Experiences

  • I currently have several research projects I'm working on, topics include, the History of the Episcopal Mission of Warren County [PA], Warren State Hospital, and I recently started delving into the history of the Village of Kinzua, PA prior to the building of the Kinzua Dam. In addition to the research projects, I am also learning to do some webdesign type coding to aid in sharing my research projects and other interests with others. I work at my own pace on the research and coding hobbies, and find that when I'm feeling overwhelmed by the world around me, that working on these projects tend to help me relax and re-group. So, for me coding and research really are tools I use to help me manage my disability. By keeping my mind occupied, it prevents boredom which is never a good thing for me to have for a state of mind, being bored is when I tend to get in the most trouble with regards to my disability. Sometimes I work on these projects everyday, but then there are times when I step back from them and do other things to fill my time. Loom knitting, exercising and playing video games also are helpful for managing my disability. These things compliment the daily medications I take to enable myself to have a fighting chance at managing my disability rather than it managing me. My aim is for balance, but because of the nature of my disability, things don't always work out that way for me so I end up having to constantly assess where I'm at and figure out what I need to change in order to keep that delicate balance in place.
  • Founded Diapers and Such Ministry at Trinity Memorial in 2013 and continue managing it to this day. I generally put about 10 to 15 hours per month into the ministry, and have lots of people to help support the ministry and who also act as my relief people should I reach a point to where I am too symptomatic to manage the ministry myself. I wanted to do something that would allow me to give something back to my community despite my disability. I know that the 15 hours per month isn't a lot, but it is what I am able to do. I receive nothing as payment for my efforts, beyond the hugs and thank you's from recipients of items from the ministry. Without the safety net provided by others who help with the ministry, I would not be able to do what I do with it.
  • Served on the Beacon Light Behavioral Health System Consumer Advisory Board for about 4 years. Meetings are once per month which is doable for me.
  • Applied for Social Security Disability around this time due to multiple Mental Health diagnoses that started around age 12 but had always interfered with my ability to perform day to day tasks and had reached a point to were I had to stop working because of my disabling symptoms. I am only able to work for about 20 hours per month and still manage my disability I have been deemed to be permanently disabled and receive Social Security Disability.
  • Attended Bridgeville School for the Newly Blind because of a Conversion Disorder that manifested as blindness.
  • Attended Suny Jamestown Community College
  • Worked at Bollinger Enterprises, Inc.
  • Worked as a Gas Attendent, Cashier and Diesel Jockey at Glade Red Apple and a Keystone station (Both owned by United Refining Company of Warren, PA)
  • Worked at Friendship House Drop-in-Center on the Warren State Hospital Grounds
  • Received my G.E.D. while I was a patient at Warren STate Hospital in 1990

The Story Behind JennsWorld.com

JennsWorld.com came actually has roots reaching back to the early to mid-1990's when the internet as we know it today was begining to grow with leaps and bounds. I wanted to have a website, at that time it was more to simply be able to say that I had one. I built a decent foundation of HTML skills, but when CSS started becoming popular I wasn't able to grasp how it worked, so I ended up walking away from the idea of having a website for awhile.

Within the past several years starting at around 2012 I once again got a hankering to build a website. I bought a copy of Dreamweaver around this time and got to work with building my site. At that time I called it JennerLynn.com but later decided I really didn't like that name because of how many people struggled to spell it, so I opted to change it to JennsWorld.com which has proven to be simpler for my friends and family to spell, and I assume other people beyond those who know me personally also are having an easier time with the name.

Initially I didn't do much with raw code in my webpage I relied heavily on the WYSIWYG functioning of Dreamweaver for my design. This felt like I was severly limited though in what I could accomplish and often left me dazed and confused as I tried to figure out where to copy/paste borrowed code into my design that I got from elsewhere to add content to my site. I think it was around 2015 that I really started to seriously look into learning about the raw code my WYSIWYG version of Dreamweaver was creating.

At the time that I am writing this, I have a pretty solid foundational understanding of HTML5 and CSS3. I have been learning Bootstrap and CSS Flexbox, and have begun delving into JavaScript, but I'm struggling a lot with JS so my progress is slow with it, but I think I am getting the hang of it I just have to work harder to understand it than I did with HTML, CSS or Bootstrap. Another area related to coding and webdesign I am delving into includes Website Accessibility for people with disabilities. Some of the components for making a site more accessible are really simple and easy for me to wrap my head around, while other components are proving to be almost as challenging as JavaScript has been.

Building JennsWorld.com and it's predecessors really hasn't ever been about getting rich or gaining any kind of fame. For me it has always been something I have worked on as a way to share my other interests, and learn something new along the way. Do I see myself as ever reaching a point where I code for a living? Not likely, due to the nature of my disability I don't handle pressure well and even if I am doing a job I enjoy, it doesn't take long for my disability to begin to get the upper hand and start to manage me instead of me managing it. This is truely something I only ever intend to do as a hobby for my own enjoyment and personal growth.

The topics I chose to use as content are generally things I find to be helpful in managing my disability when I tap into them, and because they seemed like things others might enjoy or be interested in, I opted to include them as content here on JennsWorld.com. I have always enjoyed history not just as a kid in school, but even now as an adult, I find an odd sense of comfort in the consistency that history offers me. An event like the signing of the Declaration of independance will likely not change in regards to the date it happened, and that is what I mean when I talk about the consistency that I find comforting about history.

Other topics like learning guitar, bike camping, or loom knitting are things that I find meaningful each in its own way. Bike camping is something that I've thought about doing in one form or another since I was a teen, but now in my 40's, I'm in a place where I feel like I can actually start to explore that interest, and I thought that based on the responses I get from friends and family regarding their interest in my somewhat odd hobby to be starting at this age, I felt it was worth sharing infor about my gear and expeirences with bike camping here as well. Learning Guitar is something I started working on because I use to play clarinet and tenor saxophone, but due to nerve damage in my left hand am no longer able to play either of those instruments. Guitar offers me the ability to delve back into something that once I master the instrument will allow me to express whats inside me through my playing. I long for those moments when I was able to feel like it was just me and my instrument as I played and that the whole world melted away for as long as I was playing my instruments it is a state of being that really goes beyond description, but is an awesome feeling to experience. I'm hoping that one day I will once again be able to find myselfl in that state of being with my guitar that I once knew while playing sax and clarinet many years ago. Then there is loom knitting Nothing quite as eutopian about my loom knitting hobby as what I am aiming for with my guitar, but I do find that the rhythm of working each stitch when I'm doing my loom knitting is helpful in managing my panic disorder and PTSD symptoms. Loom knitting also gives me a way to make things that I can give to others which is something I always enjoy doing when I'm able to do it.

Yes, JennsWorld is a bit of a mashup of interests and hobbies, but I'm hoping that others will benefit from what I offer here and like I said, getting rich and or famous because of my website isn't my goal... its more about the journey than the destination from my perspective.