A week ago Nala and I went to an interview at an agency that could potentially become my field placement in January. I had initially been upset about the suggestion of interviewing there because I felt like the only reason it was being given to me was because it was a place that works with disabled people. But, I got over myself and decided that I needed interviewing practice anyway and that maybe it would be more than I thought. I'm glad I pulled my head out of my butt long enough to realize that this was a learning opportunity because it went well.
I took a door to door transport service because I didn't know how to get to the placement. I didn't want to spend time getting lost or being stressed out about being lost right before the interview. The service is a service that runs throughout the entire county and is designed for people with disabilities and seniors. When i had first booked my ride the time I had wanted wasn't available and I was concerned that I would arrive much too early. However, things worked out the way they are supposed to because the driver couldn't find my place for over 15 minutes. So, by the time he picked me up and drove me to the placement, I was early, but not overly so..
I probably don't have to tell you about how much of a super star Nala was because she's always amazing, but I'm going to anyway.
She took me right up tot he open bus door and found me a seat. She kept her nose to herself and rode nicely. We were the only ones riding, but the driver still commented on her calmness and professionalism. When we arrived the driver insisted on getting us to the door and although I conceded I asked him to walk behind us. I wanted Nala to do the work of finding the stairs and the door. I didn't want to refuse his offer of help completely because I was in a strange place and also because one day I may need his help, or someone else may, and he might not be as open to assisting someone if I were to tell him to go away.
Upon entering the building I was greeted by the receptionist, who I found out later is a volunteer. All of the receptionists are volunteers and work a four hour shift. He showed me to the waiting room and I had Nala follow him. She did try to get past him at one point because Nala must always be out front, but she fell back behind him when I told her to steady. She foundme a chair and we settled in to wait for my potential field supervisor. We didn't have long to wait.
We introduced ourselves when she arrived a few minutes later and moved off into a room that was off of the waiting room. She said it was the kitchen. We talked for probably two hours. Needless to say, the interview went well and she offered me the position even before I left. I took the position. That said, there were two turning points int hat interview that I think need to be noted..
The first was when I asked her about whether or not her organization had a program designed to help disabled people become physically active. She said no, but that if I wanted to I could put together a proposal and we could potentially run a pilot project to see how something would do in this area. That sold me.
The other point was when she asked me about my experience with Leader Dogs for the Blind prison puppy raising program. It was my opportunity to explain to someone how meeting the inside puppy raisers and being involved in a small way in that program is what finally gave me the push to become a social worker. I had always known "the system," whatever system it may be, was broken and that it needed to change. I knew I wanted to be a part of that change, but I didn't know how. But seeing what the guys were doing made me want to be a part of that. I'm not articulating it well now which I don't think I articulated it well in the interview either. It was such a powerful experience for me that it's hard to explain without sounding cliche or cheesy.
I just have this to say: if any of the guys still read this blog, or their family members, please know that you efforts have completely changed my life course. I am forever grateful that I was allowed to come in and meet all of you and I'm only sorry that I never got to tell you properly. The Leader Dogs puppy raising program has far reaching consequences...positive ones...and I'm hoping that when I graduate I'm able to be a part of the process that implements or at the very least keeps these types of programs going. Thanks guys. You have taught me a lot.