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Members in Action: Making a difference with CART captioning

By Jeffrey Keyes

During my career I’ve reported several events that have stood out to me as happy or uplifting.

On March 5, 2013, I was asked to cover an event for a hearing loss organization. That was an amazing event.

On April 9, 2015, people on a call asked if it was automated captioning. They were shocked to learn it was I who was captioning. “Great job!” they said.

From Nov. 14-18, 2011, I covered a weeklong lecture for Highmark, and on Oct. 18, 2012, I covered an all-day lecture on email etiquette. The audio for both events was excellent. Both events were a nice change of pace from my usual work.

On Oct. 27, 2020, I covered Family Feud for a client. It was so much fun.

On July 18, 2020, I covered an amazing meditation workshop. I felt so at peace for the first time in a long time.

My favorite classes that I’ve captioned have been in financial management, bacteriology, genetics, social policy, human behavior in the social environment, exploring music, American government, and greenhouse management.

My favorite thing about providing CART is the difference I make in people’s lives. So many people don’t understand what work goes into the field — physical, mental, and emotional. So many of my friends have no idea I help people who are deaf or have hearing impairments. Ours is a very unique profession that not everyone can do.

My father said it best during Christmas break of my freshman year: “Anybody can walk into the men’s department of a department store and work a cash register. But not everybody can survive in your field. Your field requires a certain skill that you have to know how to do.” That has always stuck with me, and I think of that whenever times are hard.

I represent this profession at our annual Career Day at Susquehanna Community High School each May. Everyone is amazed at the plethora of job opportunities. I wake up every day proud to know that I am going to make some difference in someone’s life. There are an awful lot of people who get up early for an awful lot less.

My advice to incoming students and students thinking of entering the field is simply this: Think about where you want to be in 20, 15, 10, and 5 years. Do you want to struggle with your work and regret your choices, or do you want to do the best job on your work knowing that you made the right choices?

Also, get a computer that is strictly for work. Get it before you go to college or even as you complete your junior year and go into your senior year. That way you will have everything set up, and whether you take the summer class right away or wait, you will not be distracted at the fun things on your computer.

Do what your heart says is right, not your head. If your heart tells you to repeat a class, do it! Even the littlest thing in theory can mess you up in the summer class and future classes. You will be a happier person if you listen to your heart instead of your head.

I want to thank my mother, father, professors, and mentors for everything they did for me to prepare me on the journey to success. I particularly want to mention Robert McCormick, the founder of the court reporting program at Alfred State, in Alfred, N.Y., for his guidance and advice, and Sandra Gerling-Yelle, my theory professor, for being so kind and caring during my three years at Alfred State. I also want to thank Cherie Terakura, the woman who hired me at Karasch: Accessibility and Court Reporting Services, for always believing in me and encouraging me to do my best.

Jeffrey Keyes, RSR, is a CART captioner based in Susquehanna, Pa. He can be reached at jkeyeswork@gmail.com.

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