“You can make such a difference when you help someone achieve their goals.”
Kristina Wyman, has been working as an employment support specialist for Liberty ARC’s Career and Employment Network (CEN) for under a year, but she already knows she loves her position.
“You can make such a difference when you help someone achieve their goals,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to have and we have such a great team here at CEN – we all work together and help the people we support accomplish great things.”
Kristina feels very strongly about encouraging the people she supports to find the perfect job that works for them.
“There’s this idea that the people we support are less capable, but they aren’t at all. And it’s important for us to show others that they just have different capabilities,” she said. “It’s our job to help them find their niche – we narrow down what specific skills they are really good at and where they’ll thrive and be their best at.”
Kristina said she’s inspired daily by the individuals she supports, but two people in particular have made a big impression on her.
“I have two people on my caseload that have been doing extremely well in their careers recently,” she said. “One individual is a woman I support who swore she never wanted to work a job that involved being out in the community, talking to people. However, she’s stepping outside of her comfort zone and is willingly starting a position in the community. It feels good showing her that she can do it and it feels good that she’s opened up to the idea of something that once terrified her. The other individual I support is a very hard worker; he has a full-time job that he excels at, but he wanted a second part-time job to add to his income. He knew exactly what kind of job he wanted and after applying to a few places, he was offered a position at two different jobs. It was really fun watching him make the decision of where to go and having options to choose from. I’m proud of him.”
Kristina feels her position at CEN is impactful because it helps employers understand that the people she supports are hard-working individuals who would be vital assets to a company.
“The community has come a long way as far as openness towards people with disabilities goes,” she said. “Businesses are seeing the value of the people we support, and it’s great to see, however, we still have a ways to go. It’s up to us at CEN to help bridge those gaps in our community.”
Kristina encourages those who enjoy being creative about how they support someone should apply for a position at CEN.
“There’s a lot of flexibility in the way we can accomplish our jobs,” she said. “You bring the strengths of the individual you support to your caseload and you go from there. It’s fun having the ability to play on your strengths and those of the person you support.”