For National Disability Employment Awareness Month, meet Jenny Smith, a SCI educator, SCI emotional support staff and author from Kentucky.
In the comments below, please share if you are ❤ working post spinal cord injury, 💚 when you started, and 💙 what you love most about your job 👍
Where Do You Live?
How and When Were You Injured?
“C6-7 ASIA A. July 11, 1989. Injured while I was tumbling.”
Were You Employed Your Injury?
“I coached gymnastics (for a year and a half) and had babysat since I was 13.”
What is Your Current Job and What Do You Do?
“In February I began a new position supporting people with the emotional impact of disability.” “I’ve written a workbook (will be published Jan 2024) called The Journey: Discovering Emotional and Physical Health after Disability. I’m using this with groups and individuals to support people with the emotional impact of disability. In addition, I host workshops, speak, and connect with others with disabilities in person. I work through a ministry called Paraclete Mission Group.”
How Did You Find Your Job?
“I was ready to apply my knowledge of cross-cultural transition and debriefing to the world of disability. I started looking for an organization that would catch my vision.”
How Long Did You Search for Your Current Job?
Please Name Any Programs That Supported You Finding or Maintaining Your Current Job:
“I’m grateful for Voc Rehab’s support in providing modifications and hand controls so I can drive.”
What Kind of Disability Accommodations, If Any, Have You Requested and Received from Your Employer?
Do You Have Any Tips or Tricks to Share on Finding a Job?
“Volunteer and work part-time jobs so you can figure out what you love (and hate!) to do. Then make it your job. I’ve found I’ve used the same skills of listening, encouragement, and counseling in all of my jobs, just in different capacities. Getting work experience and my degree in counseling psychology were an important part of the process.”
Do You Have Any Tips or Tricks to Share on Maintaining Employment for the Long Term?
“Working a 32-hour a week job allows me to have room in my schedule for other activities and relationship. Life with a disability takes longer and more enegery. I’ve had to learn to accept that a 40-hour a week job is too much. This has kept me working for 20+ years.”
If You Could Go Back in Time, What Advice Would You Give Yourself Before Pursuing Your Job or Career Path?
“Marry someone rich? 🙂 Honestly, I’ll never make big money working in the non-profit world. But I love the different positions I’ve had over the years and wouldn’t change a thing.”
Is There Anything Else You’d Like to Add About Your Job Search or Employment Experience?
“If the job doesn’t exist, create it.”
— Follow Jenny at https://www.instagram.com/jenny.smith.rolls.on