Overcoming vision problems to succeed in life
I first spoke with Jorge in October 2004. He was very interested in the Ticket to Work Program and wanted more information on the services. He sounded very determined and ready for work. I have never been so impressed with the motivation of an individual to find work and support himself as Jorge. Here is his story.
Jorge, 28 years old, is multi-talented. His passion is music. He graduated from Fresno City College with a major in Music and continued on to Fresno State studying Music Education. Out of high school he joined the Marines as a Platoon Guide. He was World Champion at the Drum Corps Internationals and a Junior Instructor for Karate and Kung Fu. Jorge also enjoys working with computers and as a carpenter.
At the age of 25, Jorge started having problems with his vision. He discovered that he had Stickler's Syndrome, which causes blindness. He has undergone several surgeries; however, he is still very limited with his vision. Due to his medical condition, he signed up and was approved for SSI.
Jorge would not allow this setback to stop him from accomplishing his goals and to support himself. Jorge received his Ticket in the mail in October 2004 - only one year since his approval for SSI - and took advantage of the service immediately. He assigned his ticket to us and started participating in Job Readiness. He was having problems with housing, so we referred him over to Center for Independent Living in Fresno. With a little help he was able to obtain Section 8 housing. In addition, he had another surgery in December 2004.
On April 11, 2005 I called Jorge with a job lead that was in the Lemoore area, 50 miles from his home. I explained to him that this position was specifically for someone who was visually impaired, working on a navy base in an office supply store. I thought Jorge might turn down the opportunity since this would mean he would have to relocate. Also, this would be difficult since he relies on the transit system in the city to get around town. To my surprise, Jorge agreed to the interview. He wanted the job. We helped him with his resume and sent it to the company. The interview went well and he was offered the job. The company agreed to pay his relocation costs, pay for his trip and expenses to Wichita, Kansas for job training, and help him continue his college education. Jorge arranged for transportation to and from work through other employees. Jorge not only had to adjust to a new job, but also had to adjust to a new living environment.
Jorge has been working since August 1, 2005. He is a full-time employee and supporting himself along with continuing his educational goals. Jorge is definitely a success with "A Ticket to Success".
submitted by Linda Singleton (11/1/05)
Tulare County Office of Education
A Ticket to Success
626 North Akers Street, Visalia, CA 93291
Linda Patino, Employment Services Coordinator
(559) 730-2737 • fax: (559) 635-8754
Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219
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