From Participant to Employee
I remember when my MRC counselor first brought up Triangle. In my head I said to myself, “great—finally somewhere they can’t discriminate and tell me that I was a great candidate for the job but just not what they were looking for.” I remember after a while feeling as if maybe people like myself weren’t meant to be in the working world.
I finally made an appointment for a tour of Triangle. As my dad and I pulled up to this place I had heard only briefly about, suddenly I was hesitant and fear-struck. I told my dad in a panicked shaky voice that I wasn’t going in there; I felt like I didn’t identify with the other Triangle clients. There was no way any professional in there could help me find a job because I was independent. I could do everything else myself. Why couldn’t I do this?
I remember the only words my dad said to me. “You’ve come too far to turn around, now just go in there with an open mind.” Well, let me tell you, at that moment I was anything but open-minded. I was stubborn and defiant, forgetting that these people who seemed so different from me just wanted to obtain that same goal I wanted. In high school I had interacted with people with disabilities because I was one myself—even though 99.9% of the time I didn’t want to admit it. I was too proud to admit that I had abilities that made me see the world different from others.
Looking back, I am so glad I gave Triangle a chance, because I now get to call myself an important member of the team. I get to fulfill many different roles here and expand my experiences. One of my jobs is being the receptionist at the front desk, which is exciting because I get to be the friendly face you get to see when first you walk into this wonderful place. Other roles include working in Development with the team where I take on a variety of tasks—anything from administrative duties to writing marketing content. Triangle opened my mind to how many things I am actually capable of doing if I am less afraid of asking for a little assistance along the way. I have been working here for one year, since I transitioned from participant to staff member in January 2016.
Now that I work at Triangle, I have a better understanding of what our participants are searching for. I now know that all they want is acceptance—to have people look at them as people with ability, not disability.
By Brianna Butts, Receptionist