JUNE 3, 1937
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday evening was a fairly busy evening! I began by driving out to Arlington to talk on health at a meeting sponsored by the Instructive Visiting Nursing Association. I was particularly pleased that my estimate of the value of a nursery school in raising health standards was shared by others who know much more about the problem of health in various communities than I do.
There are so many sides to this nursery school discussion that I am finding new reasons every day why nursery schools should be included in our public education system. On the other hand, adult education should be made available also so that our less privileged groups may be able to avail themselves of new openings which require more education than they possess.
Then, over the radio I spoke with Mrs. Ellen Woodward on the Caravan Theatre, which is starting out as a part of the WPA Theatre Project to give performances in parks and playgrounds for adults and children during the summer months. Last but not least, I went to see a young friend of mine, Miss Roberta Jonay, dance at the Hotel Shoreham.
With it all, however, I got to bed early enough to be up and out on the bridle path at seven-thirty and got back just as, my husband arrived from Hyde Park by the night train. He seems to have had a delightful time with his mother and looks rested and refreshed.
Such a variety of appointments this morning! I started off with Miss Genevieve Caulfield, brought by Miss Jane Hoey, to tell me a little about the work which she proposes to start in Siam. She is handicapped herself by lack of sight, and she went some years ago to Japan and stayed there, living in close touch with the Japanese people and teaching in their schools. She found that they had a program of education for their blind. Siam, however, has none. Miss Caulfield is raising a fund in this country for a demonstration there which she proposes to make over a period of years on the value of preventive work and on the possibilities of education which can make a blind person at least partly, if not wholly, self-supporting. Blind people after all, are just like other people and to simply provide a pension for them and not give them anything to make life worth living, seems to me a very inadequate form of care.
I know that a few people who have become accustomed to being pensioned may feel that they do not want to take the trouble to learn to help themselves and yet the majority I feel sure, will be happier if they have an interest in life, and feel that they are doing some work which helps to make them a useful part of a community. I have always believed in preventive work ahead of any other kind and I hope that through our Social Security Act, these two aims may be attained —prevention of as much blindness as possible, and educational work to make for independence in as great a degree as possible of those who must be handicapped.