“I Enjoyed Learning Again,” Melissa Gets Set for Success With Working Together

November 16, 2022

Melissa, who currently resides in Regina, Saskatchewan, sustained a back injury when she was in a motor vehicle accident at the age of 13. She sustained further back trauma in a domestic violence incident in 2011. In 2019, Melissa was involved in another motor vehicle accident, which resulted in a broken back. She has arthritis in her back and was also diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

Working Together participant MelissaDespite the past trauma Melissa has endured, she has remained positive and eager to find meaningful work. Melissa was having a hard time finding a job with her disability. She learned about Neil Squire from her aunt and wanted to receive assistance to find a job and to overcome her physical limitations. In June 2021, Melissa joined the Working Together program.

Although Melissa had not worked since the COVID-19 pandemic started, she has prior work experience in customer service. At the beginning of the program, she thought about obtaining a job in that area again.

However, with more career exploration, she grew passionate about the human services field. Because of her experiences, she decided she wanted to gain experience helping people affected by substance abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.

Melissa started the process by updating and editing her resume. She learned how to tailor cover letters to jobs in her field of interest. Furthermore, Melissa worked on increasing her confidence by practicing common interview questions and thinking about past situations that shed light on her positive skills and abilities. She learned how to discuss those situations using the STAR method if asked a behavioral-based interview question.

Melissa says she learned that her disability does not define her and that she is capable of working. She learned life skills to not only use at work but in her personal life as well.

Melissa also learned about cold calling and informational interviews. She used her newfound marketing skills to land a work placement at All Nations Hope Network (ANHN).

This opportunity allowed Melissa to gain valuable experience in her field of interest.

Going forward, Melissa has decided to attend Saskatchewan Polytechnic to receive a certificate in Mental Health and Addictions Counselling.

When asked what she enjoyed most about her time in Working Together, the answer came easily for Melissa.

“I enjoyed learning again and feeling like I am doing something with my life.”

November is Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM). Indigenous peoples of Canada experience a disability rate significantly higher than that of the general population. IDAM brings awareness of these barriers and the issues that Indigenous peoples living with disabilities and their families face every day.