(in lower right corner) with coworkers
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.