We had the good fortune of connecting with Jamie Gunter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jamie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I was a little girl, 8 years of age. I watched my father battle cancer, 2 years later losing that battle. That moment I knew helping people was my calling. But it wasn’t until I got sick with a brain tumor which resulted in me being legally blind, that I started to fulfill that goal of advocacy. As a 24 year old blind mother of a toddler, I begin to struggle with life. I dropped out of college, no job or ambition. I was in a dark place in my life and didn’t feel like it was worth living. And a voice told me you’re going to be okay. So I decided to go back to school, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. Living life as a disabled person was a struggle especially trying to get an education. I started to notice how society treated people with disabilities. Like we were crippled, not smart or couldn’t do anything. People didn’t want to work with me and I couldn’t find a job even though we have the Disability Act. I was treated differently all because of my disability. I started to speak with other individuals in my position. The one thing they had in common was that, “they had given up on themselves”. So I decided to start a nonprofit organization that focused on uplifting and empowering others. My goal in life is to lead by example. My motto is “I am not my disability, I can reach my destiny despite my disability”.

What should our readers know about your business?
I think what sets me apart from other organizations, is that I’m just like the people I’m trying to help. I have faced some of the same challenges they struggle with. I am excited about helping others achieve their goals. I got to where I am today by staying humble and true to who I am. It hasn’t been easy and I don’t expect it to be. I face my challenges head-on and knowing that there is something better on the other side keeps me fighting the battle. Working in this field has taught me that happiness is not justified by who you are but what you do. I want the world to know that just because we have a disability, doesn’t mean that is who we are. We have a lot more to offer this world. Don’t judge us based on the stereotypes of our disability.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Visiting all of the famous landmarks in the city that has help shape the city. Going to different types of festivals like the Taste Fest or Music Festival. Taking a walk along the River Walk and enjoying the scenery and activities. Just relaxing and sipping on some summer alcoholic beverages. Eating some good food like seafood and fried pickles. Let’s not forget our favorite retail therapy. Most importantly just enjoying each other’s company because tomorrow is not promised.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate this Shoutout to a very special lady in my life, my mother. She passed away on March 26, 2021. I would not be where I am today without her. She was my eyes and driver. She helped me get through college by assisting me with my work and babysitting my children. She was my protector and support system. Truly an amazing woman who always made sure her children and grandchildren were good. I am forever thankful and appreciative. I will always love her..

Facebook: A.W.A.R.D House & Jamie MissLovely Gunter

Youtube: Jamie Gunter or Jamie Cato

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