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Juanita Hernandez

by Laura Rourke

Juanita Hernandez with two female friends

Juanita Hernandez (in lower right corner) with coworkers

This is the story of Juanita Hernandez. She has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (frail bones). She is 26 years old.

Juanita, born in Texas, spent her first four years in Mexico. When she returned to Texas her biggest barrier was that her family did not accept her disability. While she was growing up it was difficult because her parents did not speak English and, as a result, they did not access social services for Juanita.

At school she did not feel she encountered any barriers because her friends and peers had accepted her and she was able to carry out her studies without problems. One of her goals was to show her family that she could be independent, keep a job and have a social life like any other teenager. Over time, Juanita demonstrated her ability to surmount barriers, and eventually she graduated from the University of Northern Illinois certified in Translation and Business Spanish.

When she finished her studies, Juanita had a series of jobs that led her to her current position at the Illinois Department of Human Services. Her first job was as an office assistant at Northeastern University. She was there for three years. Then Juanita took another position as an office assistant at a local high school. It was at this time she made the switch to social work. Juanita got her foot in the door working as an assistant to a social worker.

Juanita will not give up until she reaches her goals. She is confident she will realize her goals. She also has interest in a variety of activities. After work, for example, Juanita takes time to participate in committees helping her local community of Latinos with disabilities.