Intern Gabrielle graduated from the University of Central Florida earlier this year. Her work with BAC has propelled her into a career working with organizations catering to those with disabilities.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who work to live and those who live to work. Fortunately for me, my summer-turned-fall internship was a place I looked forward to attending every day. In part because of my coworkers, mainly because of the clients Brevard Achievement Center serves…

Each morning I would enter the office to be greeted by the receptionist, Chris, welcoming me with a smile and a hello. I’d then walk down the hall passing beautiful artwork hanging on the walls created by clients in Heidi’s classroom. Before the end of the hallway was reached, I could see Robert’s, VP of Employment Services, door open as he’s always one of the first people in the office on any given day. Turning the corner towards my desk I’d immediately run into Phil from Transportation, always hard at work and always performing with excellence. Taking my seat, I’d hear Mary Jo on the phone scheduling appointments with her clients and contacting employers for potential On-the-Job Trainings. These micro, daily interactions I won’t forget. The enthusiasm in the building was a powerful one, one that motivated me to ask questions, to learn and to educate others on my newfound knowledge.

Prior to Brevard Achievement Center, I had little familiarity on those with disabilities. I wasn’t by any means looking down on those with varying abilities, but instead, simply just not aware. It is only human nature that until you engage with someone of a different walk of life you’re not conscientious of their daily challenges. You’re not truly responsive to what it’s like being in their shoes.

Through interacting with staff and clients, to not being shy about the amount of questions I had, I have evolved into a better version of myself. I am more mindful and more attentive to those different than me. I pass along this understanding to my friends and family and advocate for the success of all those with disabilities. Working here has opened my eyes even more to how vast our little community of Brevard actually is and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to expand my fluency and gain a stronger sense of self-exploration.

Moving forward towards a career, I realized I wanted to stick with work within this realm. I ended up securing a position creating visual content for a Behavioral Analyst with a focus on intellectual disabilities. If you were to ask me where I’d see myself a year ago, working in public service positions such as these would not have crossed my mind. Now that I’ve gotten a taste at how I am able to impact the lives of those society often looks down upon, it is my mission and my goal to continue to change that perspective and to offer whatever services I can to better the lives of those who just need a chance.