Q: How were you introduced to AIM?
A: I was working with ACCES-VR while in high school, and when I started looking for a place to live on my own, they recommended I contact someone from AIM to help with applications. Wendy (an employee of AIM) had been coming to my school for a while to give talks about the transitions program for students that AIM offers, and I started working with her in 2012. She helped me fill out applications and showed me a few apartments. Once I found a place to live, she helped me apply for assistance to pay for it. Once I graduated high school, I started working with Skyler (an employment specialist at AIM) to find a job.
Q: How did you find the process of looking for a job?
A: I couldn't have asked for a better job coach than Skyler. The process started with us discussing what kind of employment I was interested in. Working in retail wasn't a big interest of mine, but I was willing to try my hand at anything. Skyler helped me fill out applications for various job openings in the area, and then we did a few practice interviews to get me used to the process. I have cerebral palsy, and one thing I would say to someone with a disability who is looking for employment is not to get discouraged. There are certain places that won't even give you a chance to prove what you're capable, which can be disappointing, especially for someone like me who is eager to work hard and has already been able to accomplish a lot of my goals. Eventually, the position as receptionist at AIM's Elmira office became available, and I was able to apply, interview and accept the job that was offered to me.
Q: What do you like about your job?
A: I love helping the individuals who come into the office. They all come in for different reasons, needing different things, and I like pointing them in the right direction, and knowing that I'm helping them get the services they need. I've always wanted a job that made a difference and changed people's lives, and I feel like I'm doing that now.
Q: What are some goals you have for the future?
A: I want to get my driver's license next. A driving school in Rochester has a hand-controlled vehicle that I would need to take the test on, so I'm currently in the process of working out a way to get to Rochester often enough to practice in their vehicle, with the goal of taking the test and getting my license in the coming year.