Heather Howe said it best when she said, "everything is starting to pay off!" A single mother of a 9 year old daughter, Heather has shown that with hard work, persistence and support from DRS, success can happen!
Heather came to DRS in 2004 with a desire to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois. Heather, who has Cerebral Palsy, was specifically interested in counseling. DRS was able to provide services such as vocational counseling and guidance, tuition and child care costs, and job placement.
The assistance that Heather received from her Rehabilitation Counselor, Lisa Brink, enabled her to see the value of a rehabilitation counselor. Said Heather, "I became interested in state employment because I realized I could help others like DRS had already helped me." At the time of her graduation, Heather heard that McKendree College was beginning a Master's Degree in Professional Counseling. She discussed with her vocational counselor, Lisa Brink, that she would like to focus her career towards rehabilitation counseling. Lisa agreed with Heather, and in May 2009 she graduated with her Master's Degree in Professional Counseling.
Lisa continued to assist Heather with job placement assistance, both in the community and through the State of Illinois, and was offered a job as a therapist in the community. Heather still completed a State of Illinois CMS 100 application (pdf), and with assistance from Jaci Debrun, Disability Services Coordinator through CMS, was matched with job titles related to counseling. Heather knew she must be persistent to reach her ultimate goal of a rehabilitation counselor.
Heather's perseverance paid off, and on April 15, 2010 she accepted a job as a Rehabilitation Counselor Trainee with the DRS Home Service Program. When asked what impact DRS has made on her she states, "I owe my education and career to the DRS program and to my counselor Lisa Brink for helping me accomplish my goals in life, and now it is my turn to help others to accomplish their dreams."
Heather's success has happened due to perseverance and hard work by many dedicated individuals. The support she received as a customer will only strengthen her experience and abilities in her work as a counselor. For Heather, it's all come full circle.
Are you an individual with a disability who wants to apply for state employment? Learn about the Successful Disability (SD) Opportunities Program
To learn more, call 1-877-761-9780 Voice, 1-866-264-2149 TTY, (312) 957-4881 VP, or read about DRS's Services. Refer yourself or someone else for services using the online Rehabilitation Services Web Referral.