Each month we take a moment to highlight a DEC Consumer, their experience with our Center and our staff, and their Success. This month we spoke with Gina Baum, who is not only a DEC Consumer but a DEC Staff Member serving as a peer mentor.
I originally came to DEC because I was looking for employment and a place to work where I felt like my education and life experience may possibly benefit others. There was an advertisement in the paper for a Peer Mentor at the Disability Empowerment Center, and I thought it would be a good place to apply. I interviewed and was hired for the position. Never did I realize how much that would open my life up to a whole network of opportunities.
Through my work at DEC, I also became a consumer to help me continue my independence. The staff at DEC walked me through each step and made sure I understood everything they were teaching me at the time. Everyone was very encouraging.
Through DEC’s services, I was able to communicate on the computer through Dragon speak, a software program which transcribes speech. I also was able to get a new wheelchair, which was a benefit to my new position because it enabled me to be more independent in my work life.
In my position as a Peer Mentor, DEC gives me the opportunity to share my life experiences as well as teach others what DEC has taught me.
Since becoming involved with DEC, I have met so many goals. I feel like I finally realize that my life has so much to offer.
I feel accomplished and empowered, achieving my goals and feeling good about myself and who I am as a woman, and encouraged to keep learning and growing.
It has become my second home.