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Narrator: In addition to these interview segments focusing on first jobs and how these young adults got their first paid work, the two older interviewees, who have been working for a number of years, shared a little bit about their early work experiences…let’s hear from them about those experiences as we see footage of them working at their current jobs…Keith in a classroom with elementary students who are visually impaired, and Rusty teaching English at a university.

[Video footage: camera leaves Gabby and the restaurant at Disneyland, and we see Keith Christian with two students walking toward and entering their classroom. Keith sits at his desk to begin his interview.]

Keith: When I was in high school I was always concerned about how I was going to be able to earn a living, so I started thinking about what were some of the things that I could do. I noticed that I was very interested in computers and helping other people, and solving problems along the way became my focus. I found that I ran into a lot of hurdles that I had to overcome and technology seemed to help me overcome many of those hurdles. So I worked with a small painting company, helping them design databases; I pushed in shopping carts at Sav-Ons. [Laughs] Lots of volunteering, helping other people do things that maybe I was pretty good at. I enjoyed sharing my experiences with other people.

Karen: Do you remember how you got your first job, your first paid job?

Keith: I think my first paid job was working at Sav-Ons, pushing in shopping carts. My mom worked at Sav-Ons and she talked to her boss; they were a little skeptical about having someone who was visually impaired go get shopping carts, and push them through the parking lot and into the store and things, but that was really my first paid job, and stocking shelves, putting price tags on items and putting them on the shelf—that was really my first job.

[Video footage: As Keith talks, the camera alternates between Keith talking to us, and showing students along with Keith, in their classroom. When Keith finishes talking, we see Karen on the campus of La Sierra University. Next we see Rusty and his guide dog walking into a campus building.]

Karen: Hi, here we are on the campus of La Sierra University where we’re going to interview Rusty Perez. Rusty is an English professor here at La Sierra.

[Video footage: the La Sierra University sign is visible in front of a small waterfall and pond on the campus. In the background are the mountains that surround Los Angeles.]

Rusty: Well, when I was in college I actually had a couple different jobs on campus. One of them, I worked for the Disabled Students Center and I went around and taped classes so when a student had to be out for some reason I would go and get paid to sit in a class and not pay attention—it was great! And I would tape the class and bring the tapes back. Another thing I did a little later on, after, this was after I got my BA but was still one of my very early jobs. I worked as a C-BEST Tutor. In California, all teachers have to take a special test to teach. It isn’t really about everything that you know, it’s just a basic [test], it’s called the California Basic Education Skills Test. After I took this test, somehow, some way, I qualified as a tutor for this test, because a lot of people really have a hard time with it. So I tutored, what did I tutor? I tutored the Language sections of it…sometimes I tutored the Math…I really liked doing word problems so sometimes I tutored Math as well. But those were probably some of my real early jobs.

Karen: And how did those jobs help prepare you for future jobs?

Rusty: Well, I think probably some of the most important things that I learned were just…how to work with people. I remember really enjoying working with some of the students that I tutored. It was a lot of fun but it also sort of helped me understand how to relate to a person who doesn’t understand what they’re doing but who wants to learn, who wants to improve. I think that really helped me to become a better teacher on the whole.

[Video footage: as Rusty finishes talking, the camera follows him as he gets up from his desk and walks past the blackboard toward a projection screen. Next we see short clips of Karen walking with Claire, then with Cristina and Marleena, and Karen talking and laughing with Gabby and Gabby’s boss, Jim. The video ends with quick clips of all the interviewed workers at their jobs.]

Narrator: In this video, you have heard and seen young people in their first jobs, learned how they got those jobs and heard about the importance of work in their lives. In future videos, you’ll have a chance to hear from their employers and hear more from these young adults as well. Thank you for joining us. If you have questions about going to work or want to make contact with a successfully employed worker with a visual impairment working in your field of interest, explore AFB’s CareerConnect website or call toll-free (888) 824-2184.

Special Thanks To: Marleena Coulston, Ray Kimura, Claire Stanley, Christina Jones, Darren Keepers, Ali Faraj, Erika Gallegos, Katie Zodrow, Gabby Anaya, Keith Christian, Drew Hunthausen, Scott Hunthausen, Diana Michel, Olin Patterson, Rusty Perez, Frances Tran, and Betty Walker.

Copyright © 2007, American Foundation for the Blind