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[Video footage: Karen walking up to and standing in front of Scrubby Puppy dog grooming salon.]

Karen: Here we are at Scrubby Puppy, which is one of the great first jobs we’re going to look at on this video, a first job that doesn’t require any kind of accommodations, where the young man who is working here came and got this job on his own. So let’s go in and meet Darren.

[Video footage: Karen walking into Scrubby Puppy. Darren walks in with his guide dog, we see happy dogs running toward Darren inside the store. Darren sits down and talks about his job.]

Darren: I heard from my best friend, actually his grandparents, that there was a self-serve dog wash place down on Baseline, so we decided to come down to check it out. It was really cool, Valerie had music playing, and I liked the music so that was a start. I went with my mom and asked Valerie was she hiring and Valerie said no, that she wasn’t looking, so then we explained the Workability program to Valerie and she said, “Wow! That’s really cool! She would love to do that.” So I got in touch with my Workability representative and told her I’d found something and she’d been looking really hard to find something {for me} so she was relieved. Not only that I found something, but that I found it on my own. I think it was about—at the most a month before I started working here.

Narrator: Next we spoke with Ali Faraj who works at the call center at the Marriott in Santa Ana.

[Video footage: Ali and Karen walking down a hallway at the Marriott Call center, talking. Ali sits down at his computer to talk about his job. While he speaks, we see some of his co-workers on their phones and Ali on the phone at his computer.]

Ali: Actually this is my first full-time position right out of college. I have some experience in the past, worked for several different hotel companies, including the Radisson and Hyatt, which resulted in helping gain this position here. I also pursued my career in hotel-restaurant administration and received my Bachelor’s in the hospitality business. I dealt with some intense discrimination regarding my visual impairment; however, I kept trying hard and continued to pursue my goal, and talked to the right people to secure this position here. They have a wonderful program here so it’s a very good opportunity.

[Video footage: Karen walks up to the banner in front of the Blind Children’s Learning Center.]

Karen: So, here we are at Blind Children’s Learning Center in Anaheim, California, where we are going to meet Erika, who is an instructional aide, who started her career here as a mentor when she was still in high school. Let’s go visit.

[Video footage: Erika with a young student; followed by Erika sitting in a classroom for her interview.]

Karen: So, Erika, is this your first paid job?

Erika: No. Actually it’s my second one but it’s the longest job I’ve had. I worked at a florist shop for the summer—only for the summer.

Karen: That was when you were in school?

Erika: Yes, while I was in school. I started this like a mentoring program when I was in school also, I started as a tutor, I had a part-time job [as a tutor], and I’ve been here 3 years now, full-time.

Karen: Do you think that the earlier jobs that you did helped you to get this job that you have now?

Erika: Yes. My mentoring job, like volunteering, yes, it helped me a lot to get this job full-time. They saw that I could work with the kids—that I could do everything that was needed to serve the kids.

Karen: And you mentioned that you did the mentoring jobs and tutoring jobs while you were still in school. Did you get those jobs yourself or did you have help to find those jobs?

Erika: Sharon, the lady who works here at the Mentoring program, she went to our school and asked if we wanted to come here as mentors for the kids, and I was willing to come and work with them, that’s how I found out about this job.

[Video footage: Karen standing outside the Orange County branch of Braille Institute.]

Karen: Katie Zodrow, our next interviewee, is just finishing her training class at the Marriott Reservation Center in Santa Ana, California. Let’s meet Katie.

Katie: I’m 25 years old and this is the first full-time job that I’ve had, working for the Marriott. I’ve been here for about…almost seven weeks doing training, and this week will be my last week of training. So I get done Friday and then I’ll be taking calls on the floor Saturday. Yea!

[Video footage: Katie is at her training cubicle, talking. She grins when she talks about her training coming to an end.]

Karen: What other kinds of work have you had in your career?

Katie: I did a part-time job a couple of years ago at a recording studio, it’s in north Hollywood. Basically I just copied digital audio tapes and I organized songs. So I did that for about four hours a week. There were a couple of internships that I did. One was at a public library in Colorado where I answered the phones, and answered people’s questions about different things to do at the library, or I would transfer their calls. I think that having that phone experience helped me, as I had some experience talking to different people.

[Video footage: camera leaves Katie and shows Karen sitting on an ornate garden bench outside Braille Institute.]

Karen: Next we’re going to meet Gabriella Anaya. She has a job at Disneyland, working in a restaurant as hostess. Let’s go meet Gabby.

[Video footage: camera leaves Karen and we see Gabriel inside the restaurant where she works. Gabriel sits and talks to Karen.]

Gabby: My first job was a mentor during high school. I was mentoring for the Blind Children’s Learning Center in Santa Ana and I helped little children who are visually impaired, like me, to teach them that it doesn’t matter how difficult it is for us to work. The job that I have right now I got through the Braille Institute, they helped me fill out the application. I came over here to the Disneyland office and I had to stay and do the interview. I got a lot of help from them, how never give up, in what I do, to try and push myself and challenge myself to do other things. I’m capable of doing other things, like normal people.

Copyright © 2007, American Foundation for the Blind