Cassandra's Story: Making Weak Things Strong
For many people, physical disabilities are an unbreakable barrier standing between them and professional success. For Cassandra, however, being deaf gave her the motivation to succeed not only in a career, but in life.
Cassandra, who is the oldest of four girls in her family, grew up in Hawaii. Although her disability was a struggle for the family, they always believed she could succeed in whatever she put her mind to.
“I learned early in my childhood, from my father, how to face life’s obstacles and how to overcome personal fears because of my deafness,” Cassandra said.
Despite the challenges she faced while growing up, Cassandra graduated from high school and went on to attend the only post-secondary school for the deaf in the United States.
After being crowned Miss Deaf Hawaii, she also used her experience to uplift others. “It was an overwhelming obligation to represent all of the deaf citizens living in the state of Hawaii,” she said. “But when I did face up to my new obligation, it changed my life.”
Having succeeded in her educational pursuits and work in the community, Cassandra knew that she could succeed in the work place. However, she struggled to know where to find career opportunities, until she visited the employment resource center in Honolulu.
“My challenge was to prove that even though I am deaf, I have the abilities to meet the requirements of full-time employment,” she said. “When I met the employment center associate manager, I felt peace.”
“We had to use a notepad to communicate,” said Associate Manager Vonn Logan. “But it didn't take long for me to understand what an asset she would be for the employer fortunate enough to hire her. She has such an engaging personality that just radiates compassion, and her technology skills are first rate.”
After learning about her work experience and interests, Vonn referred Cassandra to a local company owned by members of the Church. After being interviewed, Cassandra was hired to work as a human resource specialist and fiscal clerk.
“I am very thankful to them for allowing me to demonstrate my employable skills,” Cassandra said. “Upon hiring me they focused on my abilities and possibilities instead of my deafness.”
With the help of her employer, Cassandra has found ways to work through her disability. She communicates in the office with American Sign Language, using an interpreter, and also through e-mail, instant messaging, electronic notepads, and other tools.
But the greatest tool, she said, in being able to succeed was prayer. “I know that my Heavenly Father has always been with me. His love has blessed me with meaningful life experiences and He has provided for my every day needs. It is because of His blessings that life for me is beautiful and fulfilling.”