SPOTLIGHT ON: The Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee
SPOTLIGHT ON: The Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee

Categories: Community Life

Pictured (from left to right): Dylan Brown, Patrick Gallaher, Emily Hoskins, Ann Eubank, Sarah Mueller & Steven Glowicki In Front: Marley, the dog

By Guest Blogger Sarah Mueller, MS, CT, Independent Living Specialist, Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee

There are more than 400 Centers for Independent Living (CIL) currently operating in the United States, and I work for one that can be characterized by its unparalleled level of devotion and drive.

At the Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee (CILMTN) in Nashville, we are committed to providing the five core services of the independent living movement, as defined by the National Council on Independent Living:

  1. Peer Support
  2. Information and Referral
  3. Individual and Systems Advocacy
  4. Independent Living Skills Training
  5. Transition

Having only been on the receiving end of these services prior to moving to Nashville in July 2014, I was new to the concept of becoming a disability-oriented social worker-extraordinaire; though not a stranger to the great need for these centers. Having struggled with millions of other “millenials” to find a job well-suited to my qualifications and experience, I was energized by the thought of working for an organization that was run “by the people, for the people”—and who could be more qualified to work for the disability population than a person with a disability (PWD)?

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Are You Employable?
Are You Employable?

Categories: Benefits & Assistance Programs, Employment

Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder of Employment Options, Inc.By Guest Blogger Paula Reuben Vieillet, President and Founder, Employment Options, Inc.

If the job search was only about matching skills with job requirements, many people would get hired on the spot! However, hiring is more of a process based on what employers need; the more you know about their specific needs, the more employable you can become.

DESIRE Employers first and foremost need your desire to work. If you are not fully ready to return to work or do not want a job schedule or routine, it is best to wait so you don’t waste your time and energy or an employer’s. Consider applying when you are able to accept positions offered to you. If you can’t envision being responsible for job duties, then it would be wise to wait until you are truly available. Desire will help get you hired – employers want people who desire to work and want to do the job.

COMMITMENT Employers need guarantees. If you are going to apply for a job, be sure you can handle its terms and requirements. Read the job description carefully multiple times. Too many applicants decide after an interview that they need more money or the hours are not a good fit, when this information was clearly stated in the job description. Be committed before the interview so all you have to do is say, “Yes, I accept the job!” Do your homework and study the description and the company in detail – preparation is key.

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Seeing the World through a Survivor’s Lens
Seeing the World through a Survivor’s Lens

Categories: My Story

Photo of Zaakirah MuhammadBy Guest Blogger Zaakirah Muhammad, Photographer

I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 20th,  almost four weeks prematurely. At nine-months-old, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma; a rare children’s eye cancer where a tumor develops in the retina. Shortly after, my right eye was surgically removed. Since then I have worn a prosthetic eye. As a result of radiation, I experienced hearing loss, which is still declining to this day, so I also wear hearing aids in both ears.

For the longest time, I limited myself. I never put much emphasis on the word “survivor,” nor truly understood it. It took a really long time to connect the dots—that survivor is actually a positive thing. I made it through something really difficult. Most children with retinoblastoma rarely lived to be a year old. Any light that shone was upon the negatives—my vision and hearing disabilities, which could lead to other disabilities and eventually death. It took time for me to realize that there is so much more to life than focusing on just that side of things.

I was always a quiet child and an introvert, but I have a voice that I have found and used through my photography. At six-years-old, I was given my first camera—a Kodak Polaroid. From there on, nothing could stop me from photographing everyone, everything and every place I went. With a camera, I could allow those in my life and around the world to see life and humanity as I do through my monocular vision.

As a youth, I started with travel and landscape photography, then capturing candid moments of close friends and family. By middle school, I considered going to school for psychology, social work or something similar because of my ability to be a good listener and a good friend to those in need. And I enjoyed helping.

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