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Disabled Diva: Do What You Say and Say What You Mean

My experience volunteering at an independent living center

I'm not a quitter.  At least I wasn't, until last week, when I quit my volunteer job at an independent living center. 

A little over a year ago, on the advice of a counselor from vocational rehabilitation, I contacted the center in search of a part time job.  I was informed that there was a program that started off as a volunteer position, but  if I did a good job, at the end of six months, I would  be considered for a part time paid position with the center.  The position was similar to that of a mentor to other disabled individuals.  I felt it would be a good job for me as I would be able to use some of my skills as a social worker when offering support and encouragement to others.  I would work hard to prove myself.  I was determined to become a paid employee.

I came from a work environment where I did my work on my own. I was responsible for learning software, teaching my classes and if I was sick, I either had to find someone to teach the class in my place or make up the class at a later time.  If I was learning new software, and had a question, I asked for help.  In the program I was in, at the independent living center, there is a lot of hand holding.  People call to remind you when paperwork is due and when to attend meetings. It seemed  to me that sometimes one person didn't know what the other was doing.    I wasn't used to that and it was very difficult for me to adjust to.  In my opinion, if someone has to remind you of your duties, you are not really doing things on your own. It goes back to what I've said before, if we as disabled people say we are like everyone else, we should be able to do our job on our own just like everyone else.

I completed my six month volunteer period.  I was told my work was "meticulous."  My interview and position appointment kept being put off.  Each time I wanted to quit, I'd call my boss, he'd address my concerns saying someone would call me concerning my paid position and I'd agree to stay.  I was given more responsibility, but the call for a paid position never came.  Since I was still a volunteer well after the required six months were up, I stopped going to meetings because I felt my time was my own as a volunteer.  When I mentioned my six months being up I was told they say six months, but it could be longer.   I couldn't deal with being put off anymore.

From the beginning I was clear about what I wanted, part time paid employment. I feel bad about the way things turned out. The center does great things for disabled people and I was excited to work for them.  I know I did the best I could and it's time for me to move on, but a part of me will always wish things had turned out differently.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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