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Taina Rodriguez: Road to Independence

by Laura Rourke, Chicago, IL

picture of Taina Rodriquez

When Taina Rodriguez was six months old the doctors discovered that she had Marsan Syndrome. Taina's grandparents raised her. She felt they were overprotective. When Taina hit adolescence her grandparents didn't let her have a social life. She went straight from home to school and back again.

Taina has a domineering character. As an adolescent she rebelled against her overprotective family members. When she finished high school she was 18, a legal adult. She got a job so she could buy a car and have more independence. Despite her loved ones' resistance, Taina demonstrated that she could be successful on her own.

Her first job was at Access Living, an independent living center. She worked part-time as a staff associate. She started a support group for young women who have disabilities. She held this job for a year. During her time at Access Living a co-worker told Taina there was an opening at another place where she could work full-time. Taina now is a staff assistant to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky where she developed skills assisting clients with questions about issues around immigration, social security and more.

Today Taina is an independent woman who lives on her own and plans to return to school to expand her career options for the future.