When I was a young child, I did not like that I had a disability. I felt different. I have a mild intellectual disability. Today I see myself as a normal person. My message to everyone is just to be yourself; that is all you have to be.
I started using the Employment Services Program at AIM Services 1 ½ year ago. When I moved to New York and my Care Manager told me about this program, I thought it was wonderful. This support program has helped make my life better.
I started working in a plant in 11th grade when I was about 16 years old. I grew up with a strong work ethic learning that I would and could work and support myself. In my places of employment, I have always felt like a regular employee and not different because of a disability. I currently work at Saratoga Hospital as a Nutritional Specialist. I have spent one year working with the hospital. I feel grateful that I am able to bring people food and I share my positivity with them that they will be able to go home soon.
At work, and because of the support I receive at AIM Services, I am able to put up boundaries with my availability for when I can go into work outside of my schedule. I have a daughter and I am able to say no when it is for the benefit of my family. Learning to speak for yourself is an important lesson.
My parents taught me to go after the things I like and want. I love my family. They have encouraged me to go after my passions. This has supported my decisions in my life. They have taught me that if you want to work, you can. For me, I can work, so I have to work! What is important is that people learn that they have choices about what they want to do in their life.
When I dream about life, I dream of a house built from the ground up. I dream of marriage. I see myself going back to school. I see my daughter graduating from high school and going after her own dreams.