Breaking the Silence of Fear
“Trauma from my past made me feel alone and vulnerable.”
I had a sincere desire to be strong and self-reliant; however, my doubts and fears were powerful. Trauma from my past made me feel alone and vulnerable. Because I am profoundly deaf as well, I also have had many experiences that reflect the painful realities that come from living with this disability. A cochlear implant helped, but I still suffered greatly from insecurity. When I became single, my challenges seemed overwhelming. With a son on a mission, one in college, and two others in high school, I needed help. A bishop’s referral to the Deseret Industries (DI) training program gave me hope.
I found that at DI there is a dedicated team of professionals. My job coaches and development counselor were there for me, and with their help I learned that I could be successful at work. I was asked to be a lead associate, assisting others on my team. My confidence was growing, yet when it was time to look for full-time employment, my fears and insecurities returned. I was heard to say, “I am deaf; therefore, I am unemployable.”
I was enrolled in the Advanced Placement Program (APP). This is a program where DI pays certain associates while they are mentored and taught how to interview and find new employment. My job development counselor modified the program to meet my special needs and encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. During our sessions together, we also grew to be friends. Through this friendship, I was able to share my feelings and strengthen my testimony. I began to believe in myself.
Interviews were hard, and I did get discouraged, but my job coaches were there for me, encouraging me to not give up and practicing with me in mock interviews. Following the second week of the APP, I had five interviews and four job offers.
I accepted a full-time position at a counseling office. However, the story continues. While attending stake conference, I stopped to speak with the interpreter, who was signing for the deaf in the congregation. He introduced himself to me as the director of a company that provides American Sign Language services commercially. That week, he offered me a position that paid three times more than my previous offer.
I am now fulfilling my desire to be strong and self-reliant, and I have a future ahead of me that wasn’t there before. I am serving the deaf community by fielding calls from across the United States. I now say, “I am deaf, and I am employable!”
“I am now fulfilling my desire to be strong and self-reliant, and I have a future ahead of me that wasn’t there before.”
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