Renee Proctor, Who has Multiple Disabilities, Lands Dream Job Tutoring Special Needs College Students
Ocala, FL – Renee Proctor’s list of disabilities is a long one. She’s in constant pain, has dystonia, a neuromuscular movement disorder that distorts her muscles in a painful way and can put her in the hospital for days at a time, and has multiple lung issues, among other disabilities, but that didn’t stop her from graduating Phi Theta Kappa with honors from the College of Central Florida.
“Renee has come so far!” says Stacy Duscher, her Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor. “She’s such a beautiful person and always has a great attitude. She’s the only person I’ve worked with who can go to the hospital three times in a college semester and still get A’s in all of her classes.” Renee credits her mom with instilling a positive attitude in her from a young age.
After graduation with her Associate’s degree in health information technology, Renee managed to land her dream job. She works in Student Services for the College of Central Florida tutoring special needs students in various subjects, although she says she tries to avoid math. She’s proud to say that she’s brought around some failing students to passing their classes. “I’m doing something I love and that’s helping people,” she says.
While she was a student, Renee was a member of a mental health self-help group called P.R.E. P. or Psychological Rehabilitation Education Program that supports students so they can get through their classes and thrive in school. Her advisor for the group, Madelyn Ballard, had a major impact on her life and is now her supervisor. She also volunteered with the school building community connections with other organizations.
Recently, Renee was asked to serve on the Florida College System Disability Services Task Force. "The goals of the Task Force are to help ensure that all aspects of services for students with disabilities in the Florida College System are identified, thus providing a potential road map for future strategic planning," she explains. "Since joining the Task Force, I have collaborated on improving technological resources in order to improve accessibility standards throughout the state."
Renee is grateful to Stacy and VR for staying with her through all of her disabilities and helping her complete her degree so she could gain employment. Throughout the process while Renee’s disabilities continued to mount, Stacy made sure she provided Renee with counseling and guidance for emotional support as well as tuition help, a wheelchair with a lift, vehicle and home modifications, a laptop, and dental and medical assistance.
“Without VR I probably couldn’t have done it,” says Renee. “They made my house wheelchair accessible. They put a lift in my van and extra suspension to support the wheelchair. They also bought my wheelchair, and it’s not just any old chair, this one has some get up and go to it!”
Stacy is very happy that Renee finally reached her goal and is working. Renee is too, “I like the fact that I have my independence, and I’m thankful every day that I have a job because I like to be busy.”
About Vocational Rehabilitation
Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, http://www.FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 89 offices across Florida, and last year helped 7,214 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.