Alexandre's Story

Photo of AlexTo me SWAP was a last resort in being able to be a fully functional adult in society. After being rejected for years by employers and other social services finally being able to have an ally to help not only find employment, but feel secure in my own being was exactly what I needed. While SWAP was not well known to me at the time I started services on October 29th 2014, it quickly became the service that I realized would help me succeed in life. With the help of Michelle Casner and her always on smile and helpful demeanor I was able to not only find a job in which I am happy and glad to be at, I was able to feel like I could indeed be the adult that I wanted to be. Her support and encouragement kept me from giving up or giving into a months’ long depression. Without her help I know for a fact I would not be where I am at today, and will always be thankful.

Our work included job searching and weekly meetings, we would go through several job listings and discussing the pros and cons of the position available. Over time our list for available work shrunk as Michelle and myself saw firsthand the state of the jobs market version of my disabilities. We applied all over and saw nothing but more rejection. We managed to find a job with a food service call center which was something that we wanted to try out. It did not work out in the end as the social demands of the position did not agree with my issues. While I did not keep the job it was a valuable learning experience. We attempted to find employment with the library system but found nothing but disappointment and frustration. It came down to a point where we were putting in applications to where ever it seemed possible for myself to find employment. Our desperation lead us to attempting to apply for a job as a Paraprofessional with the Academy School District 20 which didn’t pan out until months after the application. We were desperate, we had to try something, anything. As it would turn out when I started on July 30th, 2015 being a Para is the best job that I could imagine even three months in. I am happy with the work and the environment that it provides. I do not need to fear my allergies being a problem, and I do not need to fear that my other disabilities will play against me and hurt my ability to operate as an employee. I feel like one of the family, like I belong. I never would have thought of or found this job if it wasn’t for the people at SWAP. Thanks to SWAP I have found my place, while I am not sure where I will go from here, I at least have that start that I wouldn’t have had before. I will always be grateful to Ms. Sunny Lane my case handler, and to Michelle Casner because without the both of them and the help they provided me I would still be lost in a world that my mind was not built for, feeling like I was a failure because I was not like the others around me. Through them I regained my confidence that I could get my life going, and could be self-sustaining, that I could be an adult in and of myself. I know that I will always need a little help, because if I wasn’t able to admit that to myself before I wouldn’t be here now. Even if it is just someone to believe in the hardships one faces with disabilities it can make the world of difference as it has for me.