Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Victor's Story (Part 2)

Last week we told you the beginning of Victor’s story -his injury that left him a “para” and shared his letter of appreciation to Driving To Independence (D2I) . This week, I thought it would be fun to speak with Victor about not only his experience with Driving To Independence but also his experience with the Disability Community and Resources in Albuquerque.

While D2I completed his training months ago Victor has remained a presence to us as he is active in the disability community and a strong supporter of our program. When Victor talks about the importance of being involved with the disability community he makes a point to acknowledge his appreciation for programs who staff professional people and whom are interested in the honest and fair distribution or resources for the disability community.

As written in last week’s letter and in conversation with Victor he talks specifically of the professionalism of D2I staff and also appreciates that the Certified Driving Rehab Specialist he worked with “made it a fun experience.” When asked to describe his experience with our company, Victor explained: “The Staff at D2I has the experience to carry out the training, their knowledge and advice helps individuals choose the proper equipment for the modification of their automobile, their professionalism gave me the confidence to drive comfortably.”

Prior to pursuing Driving To Independence Victor used public transportation. While he got used to the Albuquerque Public Transit system he explains that “Public Transportation was difficult…because the limited routes, at times I need to transfer three times to get to my destination.” Prior to his injury Victor worked for the Chicago Transit Authority, but after his injury and moving to Albuquerque, his relationship with public transportation only made his pursuit of independence and employment harder.  

Victor was excited to learn of Driving To Independence’s opening in New Mexico as he had been looking for employment and being able to drive could only broaden his options for work.  Victor explains “It has been a long journey looking for a job; it seems like the minute they find out about my disability, Potential employers, turn me down. “ Surely, being able to drive and demonstrate one of the most significant symbols of independence in our society could help employers to see Victor for the independent and determined person he is.  Unfortunately, victim of the struggling economy, Victor continues to look for full time employment.

Victor would love to work in Costumer Service or Communication as he enjoys interacting with people on a personal level. His passion for helping others is exemplified in his council member position at NewMexico Seedloans . NM SeedLoans is a low interest loan program that assists disabled entrepreneurs pursue loans for small businesses. He is enrolled with New Mexico’sDivision of Vocational Rehab (DVR) and works with a job developer from Good Will to assist him in pursuing full time work. Victor was grateful DVR assisted in the funding of his Drivers Training at Driving To Independence as well as the costs related to purchasing and installing his hand controls.

Victor appreciates the opportunities D2I, DVR and other local disability resources has given him. He acknowledges that there are many programs in New Mexico that can assist those with disabilities but feels some may “fall short to accomplish the goals of those that seek their help.” Through it all Victors attitude about his disability, his independence and his employment remains inspirational; “I have been Independent for 30 years, I can say that the challenges I had to face, made me the person that I’m today,” says Victor.

If you would like to share your story, offer your thoughts on public resources ask Victor any questions- or even offer him a job :)  Feel free to comment below!

Friday, September 14, 2012

A letter from our Client (Victor's Story: Part 1)

A few weeks ago we received kind words from a former client. Victor Torrado was one of our first successful hand control drivers in Albuquerque.

Victor’s appreciation of us means a lot and we are grateful he has allowed us to share his letter as well as his story. Victor explains that at age 18 he was living in Chicago where he was shot and left for dead. He survived the traumatic ordeal but was left paralyzed. Thirty years later he now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he describes himself as independent. Below you will find Victors letter… but stay tuned as next week we will share the details of Victor’s Story as well as his thoughts on Job Opportunities for those with disabilities and New Mexico’s Public Resources for this community.  

August 7, 2012

While on a Job Training Program, I thought about the need of my driving license. And looking for a Driving School that would accommodate my disability, I was referred to (DTI) Driving to Independence, a program that is newly here in Albuquerque for the disable. While training for an Office Assistant / Receptionist, I was also being trained to use auto hand controls for driving, with the good training that I received from Kristy (DTI) instructor and with her experience and knowledge I was able to get my license.
This is why I’m writing, to share my experience with individuals and programs that help people with disabilities. Driving to Independence is a local program their staff is very professional and caring and I recommend (DTI) to all those in need of obtaining more Independence.
Today one year later I have finish my (OJT) and I purchased a car, and I’m driving around looking and assisting at Job Fairs trying to find a job where I can be productive.
With this few words I’ll like to express my gratitude to Kristy, Molly, and Jenny the staff at (DTI) for playing a good role in helping me with driving lessons, well done girls I’ll never forget the experience we shared, Thank you all for making me feel like one of the family.

Victor Torrado

Council Member at NM Seedloan
(505) 489-7123