Top 10 of 2016

Happy New Year!

We value and appreciate those who visit, share, and comment on the stories we post. As one year ends,  we welcome the next, and look back at the posts you liked and shared the most throughout 2016.

Top posts for 2016:
iStock_000057740652_Full  10. Choose Your Path With PRIDE
American flag outdoors in a meadow on july 4th.  09. Independence: An opportunity for All
PRIDE Youth Services _ Melissa04  08. A New Perspective on Life
PRIDE Industries _ D Ramsey _ Los Angeles AFB  07. PRIDE is Like Family
PRIDE Industries_JeanineM  06. A Meaningful Alternative
PRIDE Industries_MsAlice  05. What I can Do
PRIDE Industries _ Charlie01  04. Can You Believe It?
PRIDE Industries _ Joey  03. An Opportunity for Meaningful Employment
pride-industries-_-richard_w  02. Feels Like I Never Left
PRIDE Industries_Dani  01. The Power of a Support Team
Thank you again,  we look forward to sharing more amazing stories in 2017!

A New Perspective on Life | National Foster Care Month

PRIDE Youth Services _ Melissa04

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” — Walter Hagen

As a very young girl, Melissa was exposed to violence and a hostile environment. “I started doing things that I should not have been doing,” says Melissa. “I got into the drug lifestyle,” she told us, and from there it spiraled. “My environment was pretty violent with a lot of crime.”

Melissa’s life came to a screeching halt when she violated probation and was sent to Juvenile Hall. She served seven months. Shortly after her release, she found herself there again. Facing the possibility of six years in jail and an uncertain future, Melissa agreed to enter Koinonia Home for Teens. Koinonia is the last hope for many youths before long-term incarceration. The fear of losing her freedom motivated Melissa to take action.

Koinonia is a highly structured group home that provides treatment to chemically dependent youths ages 13-18. While there, Melissa was given the opportunity to grow and develop skills which could lead to self-sufficiency upon graduation. She learned how to make healthy choices, create structure in her life, and most importantly, how to maintain sobriety. PRIDE Industries works in partnership with Koinonia to help youths get on the right track.

Making positive change is never easy, but with support and guidance, Melissa’s life did, in fact, begin to transform. “When I wanted it, I was able to take advantage of all the help that Koinonia and PRIDE Industries were giving me,” says Melissa. “I really started getting it.”

Recovery happens in phases at Koinonia. During phase two, teens are allowed to seek a job. PRIDE Industries’ Youth Services program provides job search assistance, resume development, interview preparation, counseling, paid work experience, and more. PRIDE’s paid internship are made possible by generous donations to PRIDE Industries Foundation.
Melissa was drawn to mechanical engineering. She likes to see how things come together. Her passion for this area landed her a paid internship with PRIDE’s electronics department. “I really enjoyed it,” she tells us. “So much so, that I ended up working three extra months.” Through the internship, Melissa learned the importance of quality, proper communication with management, and, most importantly, accepting constructive criticism.

In her former life, criticism would result in conflict. “Coming where I came from, criticism led to confrontation,” says Melissa. She had trouble with authority, listening, and trust. Because of the skills gained through her internship with PRIDE, and the structure provided at Koinonia, Melissa is now able to take advice with grace and poise. “Be open to constructive criticism without taking offense,” Melissa recommends. “It is meant to help, not to hurt me.”

The transformation was arduous; there were many good and bad days along the way. But she did not give up. Melissa graduated the recovery program and earned a high school diploma. Today, she is living independently, has a job in the community, and is looking forward to a brighter future. “I feel pretty excited,” says Melissa. “It is a big accomplishment for me because I never thought I would make it to age 18 much less get a high school diploma.” Looking back at her accomplishments still feels a little surreal: “I was shocked. I am alive, healthy, and I have been sober for almost two years. It is pretty crazy.”

Though the voyage was difficult, Melissa explains: “I had to stop because I was going too fast in life; growing up way too quickly. I never stopped to smell the flowers. Finally, when those flowers were out of reach, I realized that I needed to stop before I never got the chance again.”

As she reflects on the past, she has a new appreciation for her journey. Though she once thought probation and the loss of freedom were horrible, she is now grateful for the intervention. When asked what helped her get through the dark days and tough times, she replies: “My freedom is something that always made me want to live.”

Nowadays, she enjoys the simple things such as sitting on the couch, painting, drawing and listening to music – something she longed for while behind bars in juvenile hall. These days, she can relax without the weight of the world on her shoulders. Melissa recalls being under so much stress she had to be reminded to breathe. “I would stress out so much, I felt like a fifty-year-old,” she tells us. “It was because of my lifestyle.” In contrast: “now, I feel my age, which is pretty amazing.”

Melissa has completely turned her life around and is focusing on the future. She has big plans. “I want to be a firefighter or a mechanical engineer,” she says. “If not, I will join the military and get into the Marines.” With a new perspective on life, these professions provide the physical activity and structure she enjoys and a way to give back to her community. “I feel that would help me give back for my past mistakes.”

We at PRIDE Industries are proud to help individuals like Melissa prepare for their future lives – and we wish her the very best!

 

Saluting Those Who Serve: Charles Green

PRIDE Industries Charles G_FB

In the battlefield, when the United States Army needs advance information about the enemy, they call on the Scouts. This was Charles Green’s first job in the military during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Acting as the commander’s eyes and ears on the battlefield, Scouts track and report enemy movements, and engage the enemy whenever necessary.  In all, Charles served 21 years and was deployed multiple times. In between deployments, he was stationed at Fort Bliss, where he works today for PRIDE Industries.

Charles retired from the military in 2011. His time in the service took a physical and mental toll. Like many veterans, he struggled with the transition from military to civilian life. “I was used to taking care of myself and being financially independent. This period was difficult to adjust to,” says Charles. He got a job with a company that supplies the military but was laid off after 18 months due to company restructuring. Charles decided to attend a trades college to earn his associate’s degree in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).  A classmate told him about PRIDE Industries’ facilities work at Fort Bliss. Charles applied for an externship to gain practical, hands-on experience. He excelled and was hired in October 2013 as a Material Trades Helper. Charles’ work ethic and talent stood out – he was promoted twice more within a year, first to General Maintenance Worker and then to an HVAC Tech II.

Charles takes pride in his career as an HVAC technician. He has found a welcome and comfortable place to work on the base, surrounded by soldiers and military personnel. “I love my job. I have never been with a company that provides the type of training and support that PRIDE provides,” says Charles. In a place as hot and cold as the Texas desert can get, Charles says: “It brings me great satisfaction when I can fix a soldier’s air conditioning or heating.”

PRIDE provides a helper for Charles due to his physical limitations. Training provides an opportunity for advancement and career growth. Charles appreciates the support:  “Other companies give you the service orders, and you are on your own.  PRIDE gives you an opportunity, despite your disability.”

Charles’ contributions have been recognized by both PRIDE staff and military customers on base. He greatly enjoys working on a military installation and the opportunity to continue to serve the troops. He is comfortable being around military members and can relate to them on their level.  He prides himself on knowing his Military Customs and Courtesies and is happy to use them still on a daily basis. “I love my job,” Charles says. “Being an HVAC Tech has changed my perspective and brings me great satisfaction.”

 

Where Are They Now

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM brings the issue of employment for people with disabilities to light. Individuals with disabilities face unemployment at nearly four times the rate of the general population. This stubborn statistic is not due to lack of interest or skills – but a lack of opportunity.

Last October, we introduced a group of women who participated in the “Presenting Yourself Positively in an Interview,” makeover event. The event exclusively supported job seekers with disabilities.

Seven women enrolled in PRIDE Industries’ Supported Employment Program received makeovers. The event served a diverse group of women from all walks of life, each with unique obstacles and stories.

We followed up on their progress, and here we share with you:

Alysha

PRIDE Industries Success Story AlyshaAfter participating in the makeover event, Alysha got a boost of confidence and soon after landed a job. We are happy to report that in December 2014, Alysha joined PRIDE Industries’ custodial team ensuring that the Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B is sparkling clean.

Alysha has an anxiety disorder. Although there were many disability-related challenges, Alysha made an effort to pursue self-sufficiency and independence.

When asked how life is different now, Alysha replies: “I do not spend so much time in my room, or look for other ways to avoid interacting with people.” Working at the airport has also helped Alysha overcome her anxiety.

More about Alysha’s journey, click here.

Ashley

PRIDE Industries _ Ashley02Employment success often follows a windy path for individuals with disabilities. Ashley has, not one, but multiple challenges. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Asperger’s – an autism spectrum disorder. She has attention-deficit hyperactivity, depression and anxiety and mood disorders.

Despite the challenges, Ashley never gave up. Soon after the makeover event, she landed a retail job. While the job was only seasonal, it was a great learning experience and a step forward on her journey.

Now, Ashley is a courtesy clerk with the locally headquartered grocery chain, Raley’s. Working at the grocery store provides a welcome environment where she sees the potential for a long-term future.

More about Ashley’s success, click here.

Pamela

PRIDE Industries WeaveWorks Sacramento _ Pamela 03Pamela has a learning disability. Because of her disability, her search for work was fragmented over four years.

At the time of the makeover event, Pamela was a volunteer at a thrift shop. Soon after, she landed a paid internship at WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion in Sacramento. Pamela earned the internship through PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Program.

She excelled in the internship and WeaveWorks offered her a permanent position. At WeaveWorks, Pamela assists the receiving team and is a valuable asset to the group.

More about Pamela’s journey to employment success, click here.

Four more women received makeovers as part of their employment journey. One is thriving as an in-home care provider. A second recipient volunteers with a local hospital and hopes it will translate into regular employment. Two remain unemployed. One continues to pursue an opportunity in the insurance field; the other put the job search on hold due to disability-related setbacks.

For 49 years, PRIDE’s mission has been to create jobs for people with disabilities. We know that disability does not mean inability and that employment builds confidence, self-reliance, and dignity. The path can be long and full of twists and turns. For some, it can take a few months; for others it could take years. However, when a person with disabilities becomes gainfully employed, we know that opportunity will greatly impact him/her and those around them.

Pamela, Ashley, and Alysha are just a few of our countless successes. We look forward to following all of the women along their paths and will continue to cheer them on.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

People with disabilities are four times more likely to face unemployment than the general population. The persistent statistic is not due to lack of desire or ability to work but to a lack of understanding and a shortage of opportunities for people with disabilities. National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), shines a light on the issue of employment for people with disabilities.

At PRIDE Industries, we focus on abilities rather than disabilities. For 49 years, PRIDE has been creating meaningful opportunities for individuals with obstacles to employment. We serve those who are born with – or acquire a disability – including veterans, and young adults leaving the foster care system. Through training, job skills development, coaching, and placement, we create opportunity daily. The result is changed lives.

PRIDE Industries_ Connie LFor Connie, opportunity meant finding her calling and contributing to something greater than herself. Click here to learn more about Connie.

PRIDE Industries _ Ramon T 02For Ramon, opportunity means participating in, and contributing to, a team. For more about Ramon, Click here.PRIDE Industries_Internship program_ JoshuaFor Josh, it meant finally getting the chance to prove himself while developing professionally. More about Josh, Click here.

PRIDE Industries Fort Bliss MacAnd for Mynor, it meant being able to provide for his family and secure a future for his young daughters. Click here to learn more about Mynor.

The opportunity we create through employment allows people too often excluded from the workforce to accomplish their personal goals – and more. Employment is essential to an individual’s sense of purpose, dignity, and inclusion. That individual success extends to families, friends and entire communities.

Won’t you join us in creating jobs for people with disabilities? The life that is changed could be your own.

Contact PRIDE Industries at info@prideindustries.com to learn how your business can employ individuals with disabilities.

The Meaning of Success

PRIDE Industries WeaveWorks Sacramento _ Pamela 03

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

Pamela Adams is a Processor at WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion, Sacramento – a nonprofit recycled clothing store and an extension of Weave Inc. The store supports crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County. Pamela became a permanent employee of the thrift store after excelling in a paid internship that she earned through PRIDE Industries.

“I have a learning disability that causes me to need help,” says Pamela. Her search for work over four years was fragmented and the jobs, short-lived, as a result of her disability. She worked at a preschool, a retail shop, and other thrift stores. Pamela became frustrated and went to the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) for help. DOR connected Pamela to PRIDE Industries and programs that help individuals with disabilities prepare for and find employment by developing skills that will guide them to lasting employment.

Pamela began working one-on-one with a PRIDE job developer and attended Job Club meetings. Job Club provides an opportunity for individuals to gain hands-on interviewing and job-seeking practice. Enrollees learn job etiquette skills, receive help in translating strengths into a resume, and get assistance with conducting a job search. They learn how to manage typical work situations with peers, managers and customers. After a few months of job searching, and a very special makeover, Pamela landed an internship with WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion in Sacramento. In February 2015, she was hired on.

At WeaveWorks, Pamela currently assists the receiving team but has set larger goals for herself. She wants to become familiar with high-end designers, to identify their creations, and to become proficient at pricing goods. She learns a little differently but continues to excel.

“Pam has been a tremendous asset to the Weave receiving team,” says Amy Sugimoto, Director of Retail Operations at WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion. “She brings professionalism and strong desire to succeed with her to work each day.”

For Pamela, the job means much more than a paycheck – or first-hand dibs at great deals in fashionable goods! “It is more than just the clothes; it is about the people,” says Pamela. “Her ‘can do’ attitude has made her a valuable member of our team,” says Amy.

Pamela feels good about contributing to Weave’s mission through her work. “Weave helps people coming out of abusive relationships,” says Pamela. “Sometimes they need a safe house to get away from the abuse. The money from the store goes to help Weave’s mission. I feel good about that.”

Some measure success by a title or the number of zeros attached to a paycheck. For Pamela, success is finding her place in the labor force, enjoying what she does, and contributing to something greater than herself.

Through PRIDE’s Employment Services Program, Pamela has found her place at WeaveWorks thrift store and is making a difference in the life of others. We are so proud of her accomplishments, and we look forward to following her progress. Keep up the great work, Pamela!

For more information about Weave and WeaveWorks visit www.weaveinc.org.

Success is a Journey

PRIDE Industries _ Ashley02

For individuals with disabilities, employment success often follows a windy path, full of bumps in the road. For Ashley Perea, 24, the journey has required patience and perseverance, but the rewards are tenfold.

Ashley has not one –but multiple challenges. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Asperger’s – an autism spectrum disorder. She has attention-deficit hyperactivity, depression and anxiety and mood disorders.  “I don’t like that I have it,” says Ashley, who chooses to focus on the positive. “I focus on what I can fix and that helps.”

Three years ago, the California Department of Rehabilitation referred Ashley to PRIDE Industries where she received Employment Services support and placement.  With assistance, Ashley landed a job at Panera Bread.  While working there, Ashley uncovered a previously unknown skill: customer relations. She excelled at interacting with the customers and quickly became a favorite.

Ashley remained employed for over a year until life threw her a curve ball forcing her to take a break from the job.

When she was ready to return to the workforce, Ashley reconnected with PRIDE Industries and began the journey anew. With professional guidance and appropriate medications, Ashley gained coping skills and made remarkable strides. When anxiety kicks in, she uses breathing exercises, counts to ten backward, or picks up the phone and calls her job coach, Katie Edwards. With better focus and help from PRIDE’s Employment Services, she fine-tuned her resume, polished her interviewing skills, and worked with the team to identify jobs that might be a good fit for her strengths.

“Ashley has overcome many interpersonal barriers and has found a position which allows her outgoing personality to shine,” says Katie Edwards, a PRIDE Industries job coach.

After a few months of job searching and a very special makeover, Ashley landed a retail job. While the job was only seasonal, it was a great learning experience and a step forward on her journey – and Ashley did not give up.

Ashley refocused again and landed a job with the locally headquartered grocery chain, Raley’s. She recently passed her 90-day probationary period and is now gainfully employed.  Ashley is a courtesy clerk – a perfect fit for someone who excels at customer service.  “I love it!” says Ashley, “Connecting with the customers, and making sure they feel welcome at the store.” Working at the grocery store provides a welcome environment where she sees the potential for a long-term future. “It is like one big family,” she says. She hopes to work her way up to the assistant manager position one day.

One step at a time, Ashley is accomplishing her goals of independence.  Her latest achievement: the purchase of a new car.

We asked Ashley which accomplishment she is most proud of; she replied: “Going from a bus to a car and overcoming my shyness to be successful at Raley’s.”

Ashley’s next two goals are to go back to school and move out of her parents’ home. “My mom used to be a writer; I would love to do something like that,” says Ashley.

Individuals like Ashley remind us that success is a journey, not a race and that people can achieve their dreams when given support and opportunity. We are so proud of your achievements, Ashley!  Keep up the great work.

A New Life Chapter

PRIDE Industries Success Story Alysha

“When I was little I was extremely outgoing and you could not get me to stop. I loved crowds,” says Alysha Seadorf, 24, a PRIDE Industries employee providing custodial services at the Sacramento International Airport – Terminal B. “I do not remember exactly when that stopped.” Alysha has an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause people to feel excessively frightened, distressed, or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not experience the same feelings, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). According to NAMI, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the U.S, affecting 40 million adults in the United States. Furthermore, most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21, and women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than are men.

It was in middle school when Alysha first noticed a change; she would get more and more anxious and preferred to be alone. Alysha explains, “I would spend as little time as I could at school.” The older she got, the more time she spent indoors hiding in her room to avoid interaction with others – including her family.

Anxiety disabilities can include panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Left untreated, individuals can take extreme measures to avoid triggers and anxiety, such as refusing to leave their home and finding themselves unable to work.

Although it was difficult to take the first steps toward self-sufficiency and independence, Alysha made an effort to find employment.  For two years, she applied for numerous job openings with no results. Eventually, Alysha connected to PRIDE Industries through the Fair Oaks Department of Rehabilitation. Alysha then began working with a PRIDE job developer and attended Job Club meetings.

Job Clubs provide an opportunity for individuals to gain hands-on interviewing and job-seeking practice. Enrollees gain job etiquette skills and receive help in conducting a job search and other employment- related training.

“There were a few things covered that I already knew, but I did not realize that I was doing a lot of it wrong,” says Alysha. “I did not realize how much body language was part of getting the job.”

With a few tweaks to her resume and equipped with the do’s and don’t’s of job searching, Alysha landed a job. In December 2014, Alysha joined PRIDE Industries’ custodial team ensuring that the Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B is sparkling clean.

The first few weeks on the job were challenging; due to the holidays she had to deal with masses of people going through the airport. “Alysha was shy and quiet in the beginning; she would get stressed out very quickly,” says Karen Long, Alysha’s supervisor. “But after a few weeks, she was excited and eager to learn. She had opened up and was happy and bubbly.”

Before, large groups of people and interaction with passengers could cause anxiety and stress for Alysha, but that is no longer the case. “I can deal with the crowds now; I do not freeze up when somebody randomly talks to me,” she says. Working at the airport has also helped Alysha overcome her anxiety about flying, her fear of heights and wariness of large groups of people. She is looking forward to her summer trip to Florida; it will be her first flight in over ten years.

When asked how life is different now, Alysha replies: “My relationship with my dad and stepmom has improved. I do not spend so much time hiding in my room, or look for other ways to avoid interacting with people.”

Additionally, Alysha has made efforts outside of work to overcome her anxiety disorder, getting the support and treatment needed to work through her triggers. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, effective medication or talk therapy treatment have been shown to improve the quality of life for many patients.

Progress with her anxiety disorder is helping in other ways. “I have been spending a lot more time with my nieces and nephews, which is awesome,” says Alysha. “I went shopping all on my own, the other day. Shopping alone was something that was hard for me because going into a store and finding what I need was difficult with the amount of people that would be in the store.”

Alysha is not the only one noticing her vast improvement. “Alysha has come a long way from the shy girl to the talkative girl who gets excited telling a story,” says Karen Long. “I am very proud of all she has accomplished, and she is a great asset to my team.”

“I am proud of myself,” says Alysha. “So are my stepdad, my dad, and stepmom.”

Currently, Alysha is saving money to purchase a new car and is working on transitioning to full-time employment. Also, Alysha aspires to move out of her parents’ home to share an apartment with a friend.

For individuals like Alysha, a job means much more than a paycheck. Alysha has begun a new life chapter. We are proud to have Alysha on our team and are grateful she found a place with PRIDE Industries.

Learn more about anxiety disorders and treatment click here.

Survival and Perseverance

PRIDE Industries _ Ramon T 02

Ramon’s story is one of survival and perseverance. At the young age of ten, Ramon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After multiple surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments, the tumor subsided. The battle cost Ramon much of his teen years, as he was in and out of Mexican hospitals battling the cancer. It also took away most of his sight in his right eye. “My left eye is okay, but the right one … I cannot see with it,” says Ramon Telles, 30, a Materials Handler at PRIDE Industries. “With my right eye I see darkness.”

In search of a new beginning and better life, his family relocated to the U.S. in 2001. In this country, Ramon faced new challenges: learning a new language, navigating a new city with a disability, and struggling with financial instability. “I never worked; I stayed home,” says Ramon.

Despite his many challenges, Ramon was determined to be a contributing member of his new community. He got a job at a fast food restaurant making hamburgers. But, his triumph was short-lived. After just three days on the job, he was let go. His vision made it nearly impossible for him to see the monitor where orders appeared. Ramon was devastated.

Fortunately, he connected with the local vocational services agency and was referred to PRIDE Industries. Eager for an opportunity, Ramon began working in PRIDE’s manufacturing department. For two years, Ramon worked on a variety of packaging, assembly, and order fulfillment projects at PRIDE headquarters in Roseville, CA.

During this time, he also attended night school to learn conversational English. Once he felt comfortable with his language skills, he studied for the citizenship test. In 2007, he took the test and passed, becoming a United States citizen.

Still, Ramon wanted more for himself. His seemingly never-ending energy and aptitude for the work led him to pursue other opportunities within PRIDE. “Eight years ago, when we began PRIDE’s high-volume shipping line, we were searching for a skilled hand-packager,” says his supervisor, Matthew Weiss. “Ramon was eager to apply his skills to our new service offering.”

Ramon was thrilled for the opportunity. “I got a permanent position in the shipping department,” says Ramon. “It changed my life.” He now has financial independence and, most importantly, health insurance to cover his routine medical expenses. He adds, “I get paid vacations, too.” Plus, he is saving for his retirement through his 401K account. “I am happy because I am making money, and I have a 401K.”

With the position came new challenges, “When I first started, I was confused, and I made boxes too big.” His confusion did not last long. He learned rapidly and surpassed expectations. “We discovered his talent for making boxes and making them quickly,” says Weiss. As simple as it sounds, the complex folds can confound many.

PRIDE Industries employs a model of social enterprise, offering manufacturing, distribution and facilities service solutions to businesses and public agencies while creating meaningful jobs for people with disabilities.

Jobs for individuals like Ramon are created through PRIDE’s business enterprises, and by partnering with other community employers. With the support of management and trainers, individuals with disabilities develop professionally, creating a foundation for the rest of their working lives.

PRIDE Industries _ Ramon T 03Ramon has been part of the shipping team for eight years now. His co-workers call him ‘Speedy Gonzales’ because of his rapid box assembly. “What makes Ramon so amazing is that he can succeed despite having extensive vision loss,” says Weiss. “We estimate that he makes over 1,000 boxes per day!”

Although, Ramon is tremendously successful at PRIDE Industries, he still encounters challenges. “I cannot read for a long time, or else I get headaches,” says Ramon. “And, I cannot drive a car.” Despite his many achievements, his inability to get a driver’s license or drive a car is what he laments the most. Now and then, he becomes irritated that he has to rely on public transportation. While he lives less than 20 minutes from work as the crow flies, his trip takes nearly an hour each way due to transportation wait times.

Still, Ramon is an optimistic individual and focuses on his blessings. “I am happy here,” he says. “In the United States, I have the opportunity to work.” He is reminded of his good fortune when he visits family in Mexico. “In Mexico there are no jobs. In my hometown, many people are poor.” Despite his vision loss, Ramon counts his blessings and is grateful that the tumor was not malignant and has not returned. He is also thankful to have found PRIDE. “This company changed my life, and I thank you very much.”

We are glad you found a place with us, Ramon, and we’re thankful to have you at PRIDE.

A Second Chance

PRIDE Industries _ Diana L 01

Disability does not discriminate; it can affect anyone at any time through illness or injury. Overcoming initial, everyday challenges is just the beginning of life with a disability.

Diana Leal is a shipping clerk at PRIDE Industries headquarters in Roseville, CA. Two decades ago, Diana suffered what her doctor referred to as a “baby aneurism” – a small, broken blood vessel in her brain, after the early onset of menopause.

In Diana’s family, most females experience an early onset of menopause; something they attribute to their rare blood type. Typically, women go through menopause in their late 40’s or 50’s. Diana experienced it in her early 30’s and dealt with life-changing side effects. She suffered a number of medical complications that resulted in her unemployment from 1994 to 2006. She sought vocational and physical rehabilitation to help her overcome the new challenges.

“My brain did not function like it had in the past,” says Diana. She also experienced temporary vision loss and had difficulty focusing on tasks. “I couldn’t think like myself.”

Still, Diana was motivated to heal and return to the working world. “I always said that I would get well and go back to work.” Although it was an arduous time for Diana, she worked tirelessly to overcome challenges by focusing on her goal of regained self-sufficiency. As a single mother of three, she knew her family was counting on her. “It took a long time for my brain to heal and to be able to focus on tasks.”

In 2006, Diana connected with PRIDE Industries. She began as a materials handler providing support at PRIDE’s warehouse in Roseville. Her outstanding work ethic, dedication, and diligence earned Diana a promotion.

As a shipping clerk, Diana finds the most cost-effective and expedient solution to customers’ logistics needs. On a daily basis, Diana processes hundreds of orders for the most efficient delivery. It can be a demanding task requiring focus and multitasking, but for Diana it has become almost second nature. “Diana is one of the most accurate shippers in the department,” says Francisco Espinoza, Diana’s supervisor. “I have yet to see her make a mistake.”

PRIDE Industries_Diana L 02For Diana, working at PRIDE Industries means much more than a paycheck. “I see people with disability challenges, and I know what it’s like to be on that side,” says Diana. More than 2,800 individuals with disabilities work at PRIDE Industries; Diana can relate to them on a very personal level.

Diana talked to us about the importance of a second chance in life; feeling good about oneself; the ability to succeed and carry on with life; and the significance of fitting into the working world. “Pride, self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment – this is what PRIDE Industries has given to me,” says Diana. “I love this company, and I am going to stay for the next 12 year until retirement.”

Individuals like Diana remind us that life can change in the blink of an eye and that people have the power to control their destiny when given support and opportunity. “Never give up. Never lose faith in yourself,” Diana says. “For anyone who has dealt with a serious medical complication – never lose faith, because it can be turned around.”