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Opportunities Fund For Persons with Disabilities

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Jennifer's Story

Jennifer is a young woman with one daughter, aged 9. Since her daughter was born with juvenile diabetes, and dependant on an insulin pump, Jennifer had to care for her closely and chose her jobs accordingly.

Her husband had been working as a long haul driver and Jennifer decided to help supplement their family income by taking jobs such as: Safeway deli clerk, gas station attendant, babysitting and driving for class fieldtrips. These small jobs allowed her to be close to her home, and offered flexible hours but very little money.

Eventually, Jennifer attended Career Planning at Douglas College in 2006, which identified Early Childhood Education as a good training option. However, Jennifer found it too stressful and decided to build on some other good skills which she already had. With a good driving record for the past 12 years and, occasionaly, having driven tractors, Jennifer started considering the possibility of becoming a long haul truck driver, in order to work in partnership with her husband.

Jennifer has Graves disease, an autoimmune condition which affects her thyroid. In order to avoid flare ups, she needs to minimize stress. Work that would allow her to be close to her family would likely decrease her level of stress.

Considering all of the above, Jennifer approached Community Case Managers with the desire of becoming a Class 1 Driver. She was well aware that if she succeeded, she stood chances to be hired to work with her husband. The family had already received permission from the School Board to home (“truck”) school their daughter for a couple of years, while the parents drive trucks together. The income would, also, be much more consistent. Jennifer's Case Manager being in support of her plan, a full application for funding was submitted to the Opportunities Fund.

Funding approved, Jennifer enrolled in the Class 1 Complete Training Program with Valley Driving School in the spring of 2007. She took her Class 1 road test on July 11, 2007 and successfully passed it. She was, immediatelly, hired by Blue Land as a long haul truck driver with an indefinite contract.

To complete Jennifer's picture of courage and success, it is worth mentioning that she is a very feminine and delicate woman, with innocent blue eyes and a beautiful smile, who does not, in any way, represent the majority of truck drivers.