Growing up with the last name Failes, I was teased and bullied because of my name. One day, when I was feeling rather dejected, my father said to me: "just tell them your middle name is NEVER." It worked -- or at least gave me the “moxie” I needed.
My dad -- George Failes -- is proof that one can stay fully engaged even when facing major setbacks. An inherited condition gradually stole his vision, yet he not only maintained his independence, he helped other people do the same.
A volunteer peer counselor, Dad also helped launch Minnesota's Dial-In News program – whereby blind people could hear news articles over the telephone. He also helped establish a major partnership to teach older people with poor vision to use technology to read their mail, manage finances, and communicate via email. (This from a guy who had had a secretary and a Dictaphone all through the 60s and 70s.) When someone says they can’t figure out their computer I reply: “My Dad’s 83 and blind… get OVER yourself!”
Inspired by my dad’s tenaciousness, outreach capabilities and embodiment of the "Never Failes" attitude, I’ve started YeahYeahOutLoud, or YYOL, which hopes to form a foundation to reach out to those who feel like failure is an option, and support them through programs, funding and guidance to prove that "Never Failes" can be everyone's middle name.
As the daughter of a hard-of-hearing and visually impaired father, Kathy Failes Carpenter had to be LOUD about everything. Her spirited, can-do attitude, nurtured as a child, blossomed with marriage and motherhood. “Being a mom is the best job I ever had,” says Kathy. And the Man she “loves”???? Her father, George…