Before ACCES-VR I did not have much confidence in myself. I felt like a failure. I was in my mid forties living with my parents. I spent much of my day doing household chores and running errands for my mother. We lived in a small rural town. I don’t have my driver’s license. My social life was non existent. I wanted a job but did not think anyone would hire me. I lacked the confidence and felt discriminated against. I felt alone.
I met with a ACCES-VR Counselor who assigned me to a ACCES-VR job developer. I met with the Job Developer every week at my local library, a place where I felt comfortable. I learned basic computer skills and how to talk and interact with people; skills I would need in order to find and keep a job. My job developer taught me to use my artistic ability as strength during interviews, and I became a volunteer in a preschool classroom.
Working with preschoolers added much value to my life. I felt needed and appreciated. The children liked me and the teachers and staff relied on me.
After almost 1 year I was hired to be a substitute teacher’s aide. I now get paid for the work I enjoy doing. I get excited going to work each day whether I am being paid or not.
After getting the job, I moved out of my parents’ home and into my own apartment 15 miles away. Walking is my only mode of transportation, so getting to work became a problem. But because of my hard work, good attendance and reputation, and a letter of recommendation, I was able to transfer to a preschool within walking distance to my new home. I now volunteer 2 days each week and regularly get called to work as a substitute.
ACCES-VR’s services help me to find my confident self and I learned that I do fit in. I’m now living independently, earning a pay check and I am fully integrated into my community. Without ACCES-VR’s help I don’t think I would have achieved these goals.
Laura Maas, Local Workforce Development and Business Relations Representative
Rochester District Office (RAEN Member)