Cory Parker, HKNC Southeastern Regional Representative
by Christina Ortiz
While attending the 2016 International DeafBlind Expo, I had the pleasure of speaking to Cory Parker.
Cory is a DeafBlind man who works for the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC), as the Southeastern Regional Representative. I spoke to him about his work with HKNC and, previously, with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) in Florida.
Cory’s work with VR focused on training Vocal Rehabilitation and Division of Blind Services (DBS) counselors. He helped counselors to better serve individuals who are Deaf-Blind. Now at HKNC, Cory works with DeafBlind individuals themselves, rather than working behind the scenes. He provides support and information to families and individuals affected by DeafBlindness, as well as making referrals to other agencies.
During our interview, I experienced Cory’s support first-hand. In addition to answering my questions, Cory had questions about my hearing and vision loss, as well as my previous experiences with VR and DBS. He encouraged me to reapply for services. Cory assured me that, if a counselor wasn’t able to meet my needs,
he could help facilitate the interactions and services.
It was great to experience Cory Parker in action, providing information and support,.
Cory still works closely with DBS and VR.
Both agencies sponsor DeafBlind individuals who wish to attend HKNC as students.
HKNC can provide assessment, conduct orientation and mobility training, improve independent living skills,
and help prepare people to work.
Cory works with VR and DBS to arrange HKNC services and answer questions from counselors.
Cory Parker does a great job serving HKNC constituents in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida,
the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
According to Cory: “This job helps me connect with individuals who are Deaf-Blind in their communities.
Our technology is changing everyday and because of that, more and more Deaf-Blind are emerging
into the mainstream of everyday life. This is a GOOD thing. I contribute to that by encouraging, believing and
providing individuals with tools to continue to break down barriers and educate people that Deaf-Blind can.”
Since his favorite author is John Grisham, Cory jokes that books have often made him feel that he should have become a lawyer and spent his days in the courtroom. And Cory’s original college major was Culinary Arts–he loves cooking–but he decided to change his path.
“My place in the world is as someone who helps others,” says Cory.
The DeafBlind Community is lucky that Cory Parker’s path led him
to Deaf and Hard of Hearing service at the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services,
to Vocational Rehabilitation in Florida,
and to the Helen Keller National Center.