Monday, September 30, 2013

Jewish Vocational Services

Julie was riding on the back of my chair, Tiffany walked beside us in heels pushing Julie’s oxygen tank on the streets of Chicago. We were hurrying because I had an award to accept. The three of us were quite the sight as you can imagine! I didn't care; my two best friends were with me which was the most important thing to me that day. 

I became a client of Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) in February. JVS is a truly incredible organization that changes lives and the world every day.  JVS assists people with disabilities or any job seeker with finding fulfilling employment. They are some of the most wonderful people I've ever met. I did not know this but they have a client of the year award. I was honored to receive this award. Here was my acceptance speech:
I am humbled to be here today and receiving this award. First and foremost, thank you to Jewish Vocational Services for being strong enough to exist. It is difficult to serve a minority. It is absolutely an uphill battle. You choose to face that battle every single day. You don’t just do it Monday through Friday from nine to five o'clock; I have gotten e-mails at midnight from my team.
  
Speaking of my team, it is made up of Miriam, Jonathon, and Mike. Jonathan and Mike have been instrumental to my success in finding an internship. Their dedication and commitment to my personal uphill battle with finding employment has been remarkable. This journey of finding a job is about proving myself to the professional world. That is my goal. In my interview, Jonathan was able to make that crystal clear to my current boss. My team understood that fact from the first day I was in Miriam’s office. Miriam served as a beacon of hope in the fogginess of this battle. She never stopped seeing the end goal. She saw me proving myself to the right person. Miriam put her name on the line for me; she used a personal connection to get me my current job. Needless to say, I had to do well in that interview. There was no room for a mistake because Miriam’s reputation was in my hands. I didn’t know what I had done to deserve Miriam’s trust but I was honored to have it. Miriam, I am lucky to be your client, but I am honored to have your trust and confidence. 

In addition to those three people that I am blessed to have in my life, I have four people who have been through the good and bad with me. The first two are my best friends. They are confidants, support systems, advocates, and two fabulous women. Tiffany is one of these friends. Technically, Tiffany is my personal care attendant, but people that spend just a minute with us know that we are very close friends. We are friends that cry together, hold each other’s hands, that understand if one is in pain, and so much more. We can look at each other in a crowded room and know what each other is thinking. Tiffany, you are a guardian angel and I am blessed to have you in my life. The other fabulous woman here is Julie. Julie is the greatest friend you could ask for. She is thoughtful, kind, and she lives life to the absolute fullest. Julie is now fighting for her life for the second time as she battles through waiting to have her second double lung transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis. That is not a battle; that is a war.  Julie, I would not be as motivated without you. You have enriched my life in countless ways and I love you more than you will ever know. Ladies, we have each walked through hell with a smile on our faces and in the cutest of outfits. I love you both.

To my parents, thank you. I will be the first to admit that you two had to make me realize I needed these services. I thought I could win this battle by myself. You saw that I needed a team of dedicated people to win this battle, not to mention resources we did not know about. Thank you for always helping me push past others expectations. The three of us are a force to be reckoned with. Due to my parents, friends, and JVS, and a little help from above, I am now a paid social media intern at River North Business Association. I have impressed my co-workers and the board, this position fits my strengths and my disability does not get in the way. I think that is the first time in my life that I can say that. That is what this organization is about, seeing people’s strengths, and nothing else. Thank you for choosing to battle and advocate with people who are disabled. Together, we are changing the world. 

That was my speech! I feel blessed to be a part of this organization. 

Speaking of work, if you don't follow me personally on Twitter, search misshannah625. If you want to follow the River North Business Association and see what I do, search RiverNorthChi on Twitter. If you don't have Twitter, it takes a minute to create an account. I put the blog on my personal Twitter account too. 

Hope all is well in your world! 

Love,
Hannah 

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