My Story: Paula Buford

Retired Nurse Pursues a Second Career

Paula Buford was a Qualified Medication Aide for 25 years, working primarily in nursing homes. In 2000, she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder resulting in varying degrees of paralysis. She went from working in a nursing home to living in one for seven months, receiving intense physical and speech therapy.

“I wasn’t ready to retire, but my condition made it impossible to continue my career,” Paula said.

Through a program offered by Goodwill to persons 55 and over (the Senior Community Service Employment Program), Paula was given a second opportunity at a career. She was immediately connected with Guest Relations at Methodist Hospital where she currently delivers flowers and mail and escorts visitors. Goodwill also paid for Paula’s preparation course at the Indiana School of Phlebotomy as well as her transportation costs to attend.

“I enjoy working at Methodist Hospital and plan to pursue a second career in the lab department once I pass the state licensing exam,” Paula said.

Aaron Roberts, Paula’s case manager at Goodwill, is also helping her get her driver’s license reinstated, preparing her for her next step toward greater independence.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed as individuals without disabilities. In acknowledgement of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Goodwill is highlighting the stories and contributions of employees like Paula, who overcome daily barriers, and inspire us all through their optimism and persistence.

NOTE: As originally posted on Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana