Keeping My World Wide (A Self-Advocate’s Perspective)

Jessica Renner with DDC Director Ed Holen

My name is Jessica Renner, I live in the 33rd district. My road to employment has been a journey of ups and downs, twists, turns, and loops. Starting in 2001  the year after I graduated from high school with DVR, WISE, and the Job Connection just to mention a few  agencies before ending up currently with DDD and SKCAC Industries and Employment Services. All together to date I’ve worked with a total of 10 job specialists overall. All of which have one thing in common, nobody has been able to find me permanent employment, all my history have been volunteer, and temporary positions. I know that finding employment is not easy especially for people with disabilities, and although I’ve had many successes while on my path to employment, including being a current active member of the DDC, SAIL, as well as having temporary stints with the City of Kent, Veolia Transportation, WAEYC, and the Renton Community Foundation, all of which have been great work experiences,  however having the word staff associated with my name has not been one of them. It is my hope by sharing just a small piece of my story, I can change some minds, and open the eyes of everyone. I may have a disability, but I have always  had the ability to be a active and productive member in my community, and want, and deserve employment that gives me added meaning and quality in my life! As I want to be an example for others, and let people know that others can find there own successes on their own pathway.

I would like to thank you for being in support, and continuing to stand behind all services, and bills related to, and that effect people with disabilities. Being an individual that receives services myself, I am fully aware that without Medicaid personal care, and respite service hours, my life would be greatly impacted. Not allowing me to lead my life, not only in my home, but in the community, resulting in being extremely limited in what I do during my day as well as my pursuit to find, and maintain employment. I am lucky, and grateful to have my mom as my primary care giver, and a strong family unit to help me with all my day to day living needs, so I can continue to do what I enjoy, and advocate not only for myself but others who may be in similar situations, everyone needs services, and should have the right to access the services that fits their own situations Thanks again, for listening, and being in the continuous support of the developmental disability community.
Jessica Renner,
Employment Day Speech
February 13, 2013


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