LAUSD/DACE - Abram Friedman Occupational Center
Emma Garcia tells us her story in her own words.
"My name is Emma Garcia and I am thirty-two years old. I was born in Guatemala. Since I was seven years old, I have had seizures. With this medical condition it has made it difficult for me to find employment. I was given the drug Dilantin by my doctor to help with the seizures, but it caused many side effects. The side effects were so severe that I became acutely depressed. To assist with this side-effect, I was then referred to a mental health clinic, which in turn referred me to the Department of Rehabilitation.
"The Department of Rehabilitation informed that I qualified for vocational/career training, so I enrolled at the Abram Friedman Occupational Center, where I have been studying to be a computer operator. To fulfill the requirements for Computer Operator, I have also taken keyboarding, Business Math and Business English. Upon more than successfully completing my Computer Applications class, my teacher suggested I apply for a student aide position. I now work part-time in the business department assisting the students with their assignments. This has helped my depression, while increasing my skill level. I feel valuable when the students tell me how much I have helped them.
"Just when things seemed to be going so well for me I had an accident in June 2004. I was cooking my dinner when I suddenly had a seizure. I burned my left arm so seriously that the doctors had to put on skin grafts. My doctors felt I had the seizure because my medication was not strong enough. Once again, my medication dosage was increased which led to more side-effects. Now in addition to the pain of my burned arm, I have had to put up with confusion, increased depression, numbness and dry skin. Other medications have been tried out on me, but the seizures continue and medications cause problems.
"Despite all these obstacles, I continue to advance in my classes. I now type 40 net words per minute and my English skills in both writing and speaking have improved. I feel proud of myself for persevering and building a foundation for my future. I know my life can and will be better with my newly acquired skills."