One woman we support has had a relatively long journey of growth. It started not with employment, but with other types of roles. When she came to us she had a reputation for being ‘challenging’. The real problem, we felt, was that she had been either overlooked or misunderstood. She had little self-confidence or control over her own life. Her opinions and thoughts were often dismissed or disregarded. As a result, she would sometimes demonstrate her unhappiness by lashing out at people close to her. It took her a long time to gain the comfort level and confidence to be able to say what she wanted for herself.
Over a period of years she accumulated a variety of volunteer and social opportunities. She is a member of a women’s group that meets for lunch after working out. If she misses a day, her friends in the groups make sure she will be there next time. Her volunteer roles allowed her the chance to learn what she liked and didn’t like. She gained the experience and skills she needed to try new things, including, eventually, employment.
She secured a job in a retail housewares store, and has been employed with them for five years now. Her responsibilities have steadily increased, and she is very well liked by her coworkers and supervisors. At her last evaluation she was asked what she would like to try. To everyone’s surprise, she asked if she could work at the till. Now she works alongside the cashiers, greeting customers and bagging. She is a part of the team, and her contribution is appreciated.
Any one of us would have been angry at the life she had when we met her, and any one of us would have let it be known. This woman is now strong, confident, and both comfortable and gracious with others. She is proud of her work, proud of her friends. As her life improved, so did her happiness and disposition.
Nicole Milton, Resource Coordinator and Administrator