by Megan Bodker
Heather is currently employed at Children’s Autism Services and will soon be starting a second job at Autism Edmonton, helping teenagers with Autism learn and develop their social skills. She is a hard worker, great with kids and a very empathetic individual. “I love my job, and really feel like I belong there,” she says.
Before Goodwill, Heather had a job but was struggling because her employers didn’t understand her disability. Heather joined the Power of Work program almost five years ago and it has been a game-changer for her and her confidence. Working with the Power of Work program, she was able to have employment coaches and job coordinators by her side as a support team, helping her find a job that fit with her skills, interest and passions.
While searching for that perfect job can prove challenging and frustrating, Heather says, “Through all the encouragement and support it really made the process a lot easier.” She adds, her employment coaches are ”kind of like friends.”
Even after finding a job that she loves, Heather knew the Power of Work team will continue to support her. The team worked with Heather’s employer to help her feel comfortable in her new employment environment. Today, Heather is making a difference in her own life, and in the lives of others.
At the end of our conversation, I asked Heather if she wanted to share the nature of her disability and how it affects her daily life. Heather didn’t hesitate and immediately shared, “My disability is Autism. I don’t know any different, it doesn’t affect me. It seems to affect other people.”
Heather reminded me that it’s not the disability that defines you. Heather is defined by her big smile, strong work ethic, her independence and her passion for wanting to make a difference in the lives of others.
Heather P. – Employee with Children’s Autism Services
by Megan Bodker