I came to the United States in 1989 from Jordan. I wanted to secure my college education here; my desire was to be an engineer and work for NASA.
A year after coming here, my father passed away and my family fell into financial hardship afterwards. I left college and started working any job I could get so I could help my family and my siblings. I supported them financially to help their education as well.
A year later, I was diagnosed with a genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, called RP for short. I was told I would be losing my vision in a few years. I knew that the only way for me to succeed was to get my education.
I got connected with the New York State Commission for the Blind, and they helped me through college. I received my bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Baruch College CUNY.
With a graduate degree, I thought that I would be among those who would be employed. To my surprise, it wasn’t like that. I was referred to several employment agencies, but I was not successful in finding employment for myself. It took me about four years of hard work, and I still could not find a job. No one wanted to hire a visually impaired or blind person. I was, for the first time, discouraged.
Then sometime later I was introduced to Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey. I liked the way they approached their work and how to find a job for a person with a disability. I worked with a job developer, Martha Jackson; she basically focused on my abilities, my education and my determination. She saw these things as my keys to success.
Goodwill Industries left no stone unturned. They followed every lead they had. Finally after two years of hard work, I obtained a position in the finance division at a law firm. I worked from home for about the first year as a remote employee with assistive technology. Later on, I relocated to upstate New York where their offices are located.
Again, Martha Jackson was there for me and she actually helped me find an apartment that was close to my job. A year from getting employment, I married the love of my life, the sight of my eyes who I owe a lot to as well.
Goodwill helped me attain my goals and helped me make a new life. I got chills when Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by getting and we make a life by giving.” Goodwill gave me the chance I needed. They worked harder than anyone else, they know what everyone needs and how to put the right person with the right job with the right employer. I can’t thank them enough.
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