Read the amazing "I AM..." stories of some of our clients, as they share a glimpse into who they are beyond their disability...

"My name is Ramakrishna, and I am a Supervisor at HopeTHRIFT in San Jose. I actually was the kid who could not walk until the age of 5. I worked in jobs that would focus more on my shortcomings. I wanted to find growth in my life, and so I decided to become a client of Hope Services. In 2019, the HR of the store suggested I apply to work as a cashier at HopeTHRIFT. The store manager saw how well I was performing and decided to promote me to a Supervisor position in February of 2021. Working at HopeTHRIFT allows me to feel confident in myself and also makes me feel surprised that I can overcome my challenges that I've had in the past, such as communicating with a lot of people, especially strangers; broadening my views and making sure that I can explain myself. Joining Hope Services has given me the opportunity to feel accepted in the community." #MoreThanMyDisability
"My name is Jane and I am a poet. I like to write rhyming poetry. I have been a Hope Client since the year 2000. And I have been a Hope employee as the Hope Las Colinas Receptionist since October 22nd 2013 and still am. Hope has changed me in so many ways. I am not the same person who started 22 years ago. I have grown as a person since then and I love to help advocate for our program and for those who cannot advocate for themselves. The last thing I will say is I have many wonderful friends in Hope staff and clients alike because Hope is like a big family." #MoreThanMyDisability
"My name is Maya, and I am an advocate for people with disabilities. I started out in the Client Advocacy Committee. I did six years on the Board of Directors for the San Andreas Regional Center and was recently invited back on. So I would say I am a great advocate for all out there in the community. And this is a lot of work serving on a Board of Directors. It takes a lot of commitment. I thought it was very nice that they asked me back on. Also I have grass rooted and rallied in the past at the capitol building in Sacramento. I have met with legislators and aides to fight for funding for people with special needs. And for 4 years, I attended a State Board, representing all the regional centers all the way down to San Diego County. I have been with Hope services since I was 18, and I have proudly worked at Hope Las Colinas for 12 years. I am also a singer, and song writer as well." #MoreThanMyDisability
"I always kinda knew I was different; from the way I acted, from the way I spoke. But, at the same time I wanted to deny it because having a special need was "bad." It was looked down upon. It was not exactly very fond of in the public or in the community. People made fun of me because I was different. Hope has changed my life in many different ways. One, me growing up as an adult. I've become to learn how to take responsibility and it also helped me accept who I was. And it was thanks to them that I've become better, not only as an individual with special needs but also as an individual in general. I've come to know more about myself, and I've gotten to learn that it's okay to be different." - Eli #MoreThanMyDisability
"Hi, my name is April. I have been working for Hope Services for 34 years. I work 2 days a week at Hope, Whittier and 3 days a week at Hope Services, Las Colinas. I love my job working here at Hope Services. I love being with the people here. I love waking up each morning and having a job and making money and I like working with my coworkers here at Hope Services. I wouldn't know what to do without the services that I have right now with Hope Services." #MoreThanMyDisability
"I'm Mary and I am a weaver. I have been weaving for six years. I love weaving with my friends, making scarves, purses, and wallets. I am working right now on a table runner. Some of them, we sell over here and some of them in the community. Some people buy my scarves. I made a lot more before covid. I make commission on my sales and then make more." #MoreThanMyDisability
“My Name is Joe and I’ve been working at [the] Winery for 14 years. I ride my bike every morning to get here. Before Hope Services it was hard to find a job and all that. There was nothing for me after college. I was kind of lost out there, trying to find something to do. I just wanted to work. Before Hope Services, I had no friends and it was kind of hard and difficult to find friends. The first day I walked into Hope, I made a lot of friends. They just came up to me and asked me how I was and from the first day I walked in there we all became friends and family. Hope Services changed my life because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at here today, doing all the work I’m doing, and helping my team. I’ve been with Hope since 1987.” #MoreThanMyDisability
"Twilla and Larry were both living in the same residential care home and Twilla's step mom was visiting with her when she noticed Larry and she said, 'Twilla look at the guy, he looks like a catch!' And Twilla started to take notice. Little by little, that romance sparked from there. I know that they're very fulfilled with each other and it's a good example for the other seniors. In 1998, with the blessing of both families and the residential care administrator all involved and helping them realize their dreams, they got married. Hope has continued to support them in that transition from working, to marriage, to now retirement. And that's the unique thing about the senior center as well is that in retirement, you can just enjoy your golden years." - Program Staff #MoreThanMyDisability