1. How long have you been with Vocational Rehabilitation?
5 Months (6 months as of May 28th)
2. What is your title?
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor III
3. In 30 words or less, what do you do?
Assist clients in discovering their strengths in order to help them enter or return to the workforce. This includes assisting in higher education or vocational certifications, if the position they are interested in requires it as well as assessments to help determine interests and strengths.
4. What types of clients do you serve?
A wide range of individuals with disabilities from our community; disabilities can range from physical, psychosocial to neurological. Additionally, clients range is age from high school to retirement.
5. How does what you do help your clients?
Vocational rehabilitation services can help our clients by helping them discover or rediscover self-esteem, by allowing them to be self-sufficient and creating self-determination through self-actualization. The services offered aid our residents in becoming active members of their community allowing each individual to grow which allows our community to grow.
6. Can you tell us about a success story that has been especially meaningful?
I’ve only been with DETR for 5 months and have not had a “successful” closure yet. However, I do have one client who is a single parent and put herself back in school. She chose a private college due to the ease of admission and her naivety to higher education; it has cost her a lot. She has run out of Pell Grant monies and is taking loans. She called me letting me know that she knows DETR does not normally work with private colleges, however she was struggling and only had 6 months left before she obtains her RN licensure. I was able to work with another counselor and my district manager and obtained approval to fund the remaining education fees. This has changed her summer! She has been incredibly grateful and has helped her both financially as well as emotionally. She has not completed yet, however she now has a little more freedom and less worry.
7. What do you like most about your job?
What I like best about my job is that I am able to work with individuals from beginning to end; to see them when they may feel they are at their lowest and be a part of their growth and success.
8. What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
My off time is spent with my family; close roommate, son, grandson, significant other and 13-year-old lab dog, camping, lake time and hiking when the weather permits, playing pool at home, cooking (one of my favorite pass times) or when the weather is not so sunshiny, catching up on movies, card games and hitting up our museums.
9. Anything else you’d like for us to know?
I am passionate about working with our at-risk and underserved community. I fell into working with this population as a substitute teacher for Washoe County when I was working on my undergraduate. I ended up taking a long term position with Turning Point High School, teaching their Social Emotional Learning class. I was able to spend six months there and be a part of their Senior graduation. Prior to this I had worked in private life insurance and chased the dollar. After this experience I had a new lease on life as it were, and wanted nothing more than to help individuals and families struggling with behavioral and psychiatric issues.