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“Ability Beyond Changed My Life”

Enid was qualified, talented and eager to work. But her disability kept her from steady employment until she found the support and resources she needed with Ability Beyond.

She knew she wanted to work in elder care, and had earned a second master’s degree in the study of aging. Yet in her 30s, Enid was struggling to find a competitive job in the field.

“The trouble was finding a job that could accommodate my needs,” said Enid, a native of Puerto Rico, who uses a wheelchair and cannot work full time. “I need to rest more than others and organize differently than others. I don’t drive, and there is also a language barrier. In the beginning that was very difficult.”

In those difficult times, Enid turned to Ability Beyond to find resources, a caring community, and—ultimately—a job that she loves.

“Ability Beyond changed my life,” Enid said. “ They helped me understand that I am more than my wheelchair. I can work. I can help others, like me.”

Caring for Our Elders

Today Enid works directly with seniors at Trinity Terrace, a nursing home in Connecticut, to facilitate accessible, fun activities for residents as they age and their abilities change.

She takes pride in her work, and finds deep joy in the relationships that she can build with residents over time. Enid has a background in psychology, and has always been drawn to the stories of her elders.

“Maybe for me, it’s because, in my situation, my physical situation, I can understand something about what the elders are experiencing,” she said. “I like to be with them, to hear and see them.”

One day, Enid hopes to earn a doctorate in social gerontology, to build on the master’s degree she earned in the subject from Barcelona University in Spain.

“I like to understand life,” she said.

Gaining Confidence on the Job

Enid’s job at Trinity Terrace has provided not only a paycheck, but also a community and a continued education.

“During my first month working with residents, I was scared because of the language barrier, and how to speak with residents one-to-one,” Enid said. “I had never had this experience before. But my coworkers encouraged me, and I felt safe.”

Enid’s supervisors have also celebrated her ideas, including more of her suggestions on the residents’ monthly calendar of activities.

She always does her research, looking up videos and instructions to ensure that crafts are accessible for people with a range of physical and cognitive abilities. Sometimes this means that Enid must help someone place their Bingo marker on the card, or use scissors. But she prefers to let residents accomplish things on their own, with patience and support.

“Puzzles are my favorite,” she said. “When residents finish a puzzle, I am really celebrating with them.”

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Enid is one of more than 3,000 individuals with disabilities that we serve throughout Connecticut and New York. But we couldn't do it without the support of our generous donors. Do what you can today to help ensure more success stories like Enid's!

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