Image of Barb Easterling sitting at her station in the braille department looking at the camera

September 14, 2021

Say hello to Barb!

Barbara (Barb) Easterling is a Bindery Associate in the Braille Printing House at Clovernook Center and is truly an amazing person. Barb will be retiring from Clovernook Center in September.

Barb started working at Clovernook Center in 2011 as a receptionist, but before long she was promoted to a position in the bindery department. She loves working in the bindery area. On a daily basis, she ships and packs all the braille pieces that are sent out to Clovernook Center customers. In fact, she has shipped over a million pieces of braille all over the world by processing, labeling and packaging all of these items to ensure they reach their final destination.

Barb is legally blind. She was born with congenital cataracts and glaucoma. Her mother was exposed to German Measles while pregnant with Barb, which caused her blindness and hearing problems that require her to wear hearing aids. Barb was born with rubella, which also caused neurological and physical damage – she had underdeveloped lungs, a heart and other organs. Barb is also a twenty-one-year survivor of both breast and uterine cancer.

While it may sound like Barb had a lot of issues to deal with (and she did,) she didn’t let that hold her back. She participated in the Special Olympics and received the Bronze three years in a row in Track & Field. Barb always made the honor roll all through school. She said it was never easy and she had to work very hard because of her learning disabilities. However, in Barb’s words, she felt like she always “sailed through.” She was determined that nothing was going to stop her from what she wanted to do and her parents always told her not to let anything stop her from what she wanted to accomplish.

Barb was the first Black student to attend Gamble Junior High. She recalls being hand-picked to attend that school and will never forget her first day – she was escorted into the school by the Cincinnati Police. Barb was also the first Black Queen in the May Day Parade. That day also is a day she will never forget. She was not feeling well but her teacher was so proud of her and cheered her to help get her through the day.

At the young age of eight, Barb had a pivotal turning point in her life – so much so that she believes it truly is what helped formed her into the person she is today. Barb remembers sitting in her classroom and was told that a lady was going to come and get her to take her to a school that was made just for her. This school was the Washington Park School for the Blind & Special Education. It was the first program that put students together with all types of special needs. This school helped Barb get involved in the Special Olympics and throughout her schooling, Barb was able to accomplish so much like join the school newspaper.

Barb has worked her entire life, starting at the age of 15 for Cincinnati Public Schools. She started in the lunchroom and before long, moved her way up to the school office at Aiken Sr. High. Prior to working at Clovernook Center, Barb also spent time working at other jobs including Frisch’s, Trailways of New York and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in the lab area.

Barb is the oldest (and boldest) of her seven siblings. When Barb retires this month she just wants to relax but is sure it will not be long before she gets bored. Barb won’t let much grass grow under her feet. Spending time with family and baking (her favorite pastime) is on her retirement agenda.

Barb has loved her job at Clovernook Center and says the people are really what make it such a special place. She credits much of it to her immediate supervisors, “they have made it great and make her job great. It is just like a big family.”

Barb is amazing and we all love her – she is and will always be a shining star to all of us at Clovernook Center!

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