Vocational Rehabilitation of Florida Shares Success Story as Birth Defects Awareness Month Concludes

Committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers, Vocational Rehabilitation shares a long-time success story of Karina Mendez who continues to work towards her goals and doesn’t let her disability get in the way.

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Photo of Karina Mendez

Photo of Karina Mendez

Karina is an incredible person because she has overcome a lot of obstacles ¬ coming from another country, the language, and not having any job experience or a high school diploma. But the biggest obstacle is her disability. I just admire her.

Oakland Park, FL (PRWEB) January 29, 2014

Karina Mendez came to America eight years ago from Peru in search of a better life. Born with congenital deformities and from a very poor family, her prospects back home were slim but now her future continues to be bright thanks to Vocational Rehabilitation of Florida and the Center for Independent Living of Broward.

Karina was born without hands on either arm, no foot on her right leg, and no knee and foot on her left leg. She uses prostheses on her legs. VR provided Karina with counseling, clothing, vocational evaluations, and, most importantly, a bus pass. “She was insecure because of her English,” says VR Counselor, Lucia Mavrakis. “I encouraged her to go to school and get her GED. She has improved her English and writing.”

Thanks to this assistance and with the help of the Center for Independent Living of Broward, Karina is a part time greeter at Walgreens where she welcomes customers, hands out flyers and translates when necessary. “She’s doing great,” says her former supervisor Latonya Roblejo. “The customers and employees like her. She’s reliable and has a good attitude.” The only accommodation Latonya had to make for Karina was to give her a chair so she can sit down periodically. Most accommodations for persons with disabilities cost under $500 with many being free.

Lucia has been very proud of Karina’s progress. She says, “Karina is an incredible person because she has overcome a lot of obstacles coming from another country, the language, and not having any job experience or a high school diploma. But the biggest obstacle is her disability. She’s something else, I just admire her.”

Karina says that life is so much easier for her here than in Peru, even such things as crossing the street. “In Peru, when you cross the street you have to run,” she says. She enjoys working at Walgreens and hopes to become a full time employee.

Vocational Rehabilitation has been working with Karina for five years now and would like to share that she is still happily working at Walgreens where she is challenged each day but never gives up and continues working towards receiving her GED. She has hopes to continue on to college and get a job working with children with disabilities so she can help others the way she has been helped.

People with disabilities in search of employment, vendors and Florida employers who are interested in taking part of this uplifting and gratifying experience, are encouraged to contact VR at (800) 451-4327.

About Vocational Rehabilitation:
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers. Our employer-focused website, http://www.FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 80 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,523 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.