~From the Work Adjustment Training Program to a Great New Job
With a bright smile and a positive outlook on life, Rebecca “Addie” Shepherd, has come a long way in the past year. From Beacon Group’s Work Adjustment Training (WAT) program to competitive employment, Addie has made great strides in her young life during a time of great economic uncertainty when people with disabilities are facing higher rates of unemployment.
Prior to her time at Beacon, Addie experienced significant difficulty finding a job due to her work history. She admits her biggest problem was her work attendance stemming from her mental health disabilities including major depressive disorder. “I was struggling with circumstantial things and could barely make it out of bed and the thought of work made me so anxious,” she says.
In combination with accessing greater mental health resources, Addie credits the employment services she receives through Beacon Group with helping to get her life back on track, “I was able to make it past obstacles that I had been struggling with for years.”
Her Beacon journey started with a referral from a behavioral health organization and a breakfast with Beacon Employment Specialist, Kimberly Clawson. “When Addie came to us for employment services, she had no family support. She was out in the world finding out that the world can be quite difficult to live in and be unkind.” Clawson continues, “she utilized the support we offered her, walked with her head held high, was very professional and demonstrated the utmost respect towards others.”
Clawson made it a point to support Addie, not only in employment but as an understanding peer, believing in her abilities and helping her conquer her challenges.
Addie’s professionalism, respect and positive attitude are apparent from the moment you meet her. She found her place at Beacon in WAT, learning the ropes at her “favorite job”, the reception desk. WAT includes work-related group activities that teach the meaning and value of an independent work environment. WAT focuses on acquiring greater soft skills and learning new work behaviors and attitudes, skills that move individuals seeking employment or career advancement closer to their employment goals.
After completing WAT, Clawson helped prepare Addie for competitive employment by working on improving Addie’s interview skills. Just a few short months after coming to Beacon Group, Addie was hired into an entry level answering service position at Contact One Call Center. After only a month on the job, she was promoted to a customer support center role for Banner Insurance.
Comfortable in her new position, Addie is happy to have the employment stability she has always wanted. Her ideas for the future include advancement opportunities within Contact One Call Center and going to college to study Psychology. “I’d like to be a therapist and help people,” says Addie.
Addie’s perseverance and motivation to better herself, along with her outlook on life, positions her well on her way to meet those goals and make a difference in not only her life but the lives of others.
Her advice for others, “You are capable of great changes. People are built like phoenixes. We rise from our ashes. Sometimes we crumble to the ground, but there is always a way back up again. Always.”