Angeline first heard about the Neil Squire Society from her social worker, Vicky, while she was looking for work. “In my meetings with Vicky she brought up the idea of me being part of the Employ-Ability program at the Neil Squire Society, and she thought I would do really well,” says Angeline of the program now named the Working Together program. “She also felt that it would be a very supportive and comfortable environment for me to learn more about my disabilities and how to manage them in the future. I agreed that I would give it a try and see what happened, and I feel that it is the best decision I have ever made.”
Angeline was having a hard time finding and securing employment due to an anxiety disorder (new window), and a kidney (new window) problem. “Both disabilities have made life difficult especially the kidney problems, since I don’t always know where and when I will have difficulties or pain, or be too ill to work,” shares Angeline. “When I received my acceptance letter into the program at the Neil Squire Society, I was very excited and finally began to feel as though my life was finally moving forward in a positive direction.”
“The anxiety I felt before I began attending the program was overwhelming,” says Angeline. “I was having trouble leaving my home, and the anxiety attacks (new window) affected my kidneys as well making me physically ill and sometimes resulting in hospitalization. It was a very big step for me to commit to giving the program a try, since I was very much out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t have anything to lose by checking things out and gaining more information.”
She explains, “My self-esteem and confidence were extremely low in the beginning. I had a lot of doubts about myself, feelings of uselessness and worries of whether I was going to do well or even if I would get anything out of the program.”
However, as she spent more time in the program, her confidence began to grow. “I learned new ways to manage my anxiety and keep myself calm; different approaches to how to keep my body more healthy. I have learned to appreciate myself for the many talents and gifts I possess, and all that I can do and have to offer. Because of these particular classes my confidence and self-esteem are at an all-time high. I have a much more positive attitude and a new direction to my life,” she notes. “I also learned that there is way more to a job search than there seems to be. I now know about the hidden job market, new websites for searches, and more strategies and different approaches to job searches, interviews, and resumes. With these tools, I have a totally new attitude toward seeking employment, and feel far less apprehensive.”
After Angeline completed the program she found part-time employment with Curb Side Games (new window). Now, she plans to use her new skills, tools, and confidence, and take the next step in her career — completing schooling for Medical Transcription (new window) while she works, taking inspiration from her time in Working Together.
“Everyone who works here at the Neil Squire Society really believes in what they are doing, they know they are making a difference. Everyone genuinely cares about all of us and about one another. It is such a supportive and understanding atmosphere to be a part of, and I feel very blessed that I could be part of such an experience. All the people here are a wonderful group to learn from, and knowing that the facilitators learn from us as well is uplifting, especially when you start out feeling like you have nothing to offer anyone,” she says.
“Maybe one day I will be one of the guest speakers invited to talk to some of the groups here about my experiences and my career and how it all started here.”