I have overcome lots of odds in my life. I have dreamed of working in the disability field for as long as I can remember.
I just didn’t know what I was going to do yet. But I knew I saw a positive future for everyone like myself who have some challenges in life; where we can create self employment with no barriers.
When I decided to start up my own business, some people didn’t have faith in me, not even employment specialists who work in the field.
Therefore, I knew I had to break down barriers and attitudes of professionals and the public.
Imagine, even doctors told my mom I would never be able to read or write.
However, there were lots of people who did have faith that I could do whatever I put my mind to. It was those people I moved towards for support in reaching my goal. In September 2013, I published the first newsletter, The Kamloops Self Advocate.
A newsletter that focuses on what people with diverse abilities can do, not what they can’t do. One hundred copies go out every month to service providers, businesses and coffee shops around town.
The first thing I did to get my business going was talk to everyone I could think of about my ideas and what is important to me.
One day I was talking to a neighbor and friend and she suggested I start a newsletter.
So I did! I got help from Karen Newman at Community Living BC who helped me connect with Community Futures- an employment service provider that helps people to start their own business.
I was the first person with an intellectual disability that some of the staff at Community Futures had ever worked with.
Justine Richmond from the Community Companion program at New Horizons helped me a lot to put the newsletter together.
I have a great team of supporters behind me who believe in. Karen Newman is still involved, Justine does my editing and Jolene from Inclusion Kamloops helps me now too. I’ve learned how to put things in and how to do interviews.
In January 2016 I am getting my business license in the city of Kamloops so I am going to be an official newsletter business!
I want professionals to know the importance of having faith in us and have confidence in knowing no matter how challenged some of us are, we can do anything we put our minds to with the right support behind us.
If you want to start your own business you really have to promote your product or brand and talk to everyone until people listen, including professionals like employment specialists.
I had a cake with my business logo on it thanks to Shirley from Community Futures.
I also had punch, crackers, coffee, tea, and veggies. It was a great turn out. About 40 people turned up.
I love my newsletter because it breaks down stereotypes.
Thanks to all my support workers, friends, family and the community, this would not have been possible without you guys.
Hope you enjoy reading my newsletters for years to come.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to place an ad in my newsletter or to receive the newsletter.