Esmeralda has been working with the Easterseals Oregon Connecting Communities program since December of 2018. Esmeralda came to our office with several goals in mind, but she was dealing with some debilitating setbacks: she was having trouble finding childcare in order to create time to study, she did not have a driver’s license, and she was struggling with some overwhelming emotional issues. With these three barriers in mind, Esmeralda was still persistent and motivated to seek our assistance in finding childcare and pursuing a career in manufacturing.
When we first met Esmeralda, she had very little English comprehension, but she was ready to start taking ESL (English as a Second Language) group classes. Though Esmeralda was shy at first, she was able to become more social during our group ESL classes, and this helped her increase her English skills very quickly. As she progressed, Esmeralda was proud to be able to take her drivers’ licensing exam in English because of her hard work and the study assistance provided by the Connecting Communities program staff. Along the way, Esmeralda’s Vocational Rehabilitation counselor paid for driver’s education classes so she could practice her driving skills as well. As a result of all of the collaboration and Esmeralda’s hard work, she was able to get her driver’s license, which made it much easier to seek employment.
As Esmeralda began to overcome her barriers and build confidence, it was time to start some of the final preparation for employment. Esmeralda took interview classes with our staff members where she worked on learning about the interview process, how to prepare for interviews, how to conduct oneself during an interview, and procedure to follow after the interview. She practiced common interview questions and practiced mock interviews with staff and volunteers on the Connecting Communities team. Esmeralda also participated in job preparedness workshops, including American Working Culture, Job Applications, Resume, Interviews, Communication, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Motivation and Positive Thinking, and How to Set and Achieve Goals.
The Vocational Rehabilitation program provided abundant resources and support for Esmeralda along the way, including driving classes, emotional therapy, support for child care for her child with special needs, clothing, and costs and preparation to be able to drive. All of this assistance was crucial in Esmeralda’s journey to be more stable in employment.
The Connecting Communities team helped Esmeralda complete job applications, create a resume, explore career options, look for potential jobs, prepare for job interviews, and make connections with employers. The staff supported Esmeralda through the many phases of her amazing transformation and helped her find confidence. After months of hard work and dedication, Esmeralda has been able to find a part-time job at Richardson Sports doing embroidery and stitching, with a schedule that accommodates her responsibilities as a mother at home. She is now very happy and loves her job. It was a long road to get here, but Esmeralda has made incredible strides to toward her success, and she was continued to make great progress throughout the year. Way to go Esmeralda!
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