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David’s Story – Overcoming health barriers to employment, with Avivo’s help

David’s career in maintenance came to an abrupt halt when his health declined. In a short span, David experienced significant sight loss and was declared legally blind. Separately, he experienced heart failure, which led to a life-altering three-week coma.

David was unable to do many activities people take for granted, like walking. “I had to be re-trained to walk again,” shares David. “I was really trying to figure out what I could do to get myself back to work.”

“I had to be re-trained to walk again … I was really trying to figure out what I could do to get myself back to work.”

David returned to Avivo to learn new skills to help him work through his physical limitations. He had graduated from Avivo maintenance training program in 2006 when he first started his career. He recalled feeling empowered by Avivo’s training then, and wanted that feeling again. That’s why he picked Avivo.

“The first thing I could think of was when I went through training at Avivo. [My experience] made me come back,” shares David. “It was exactly what I thought it’d be. I got the support I was looking for.”

Avivo’s career education team worked with David to provide visual and audio support, which helped him finish his classes. Staff also linked him with external resources for individuals living with blindness.

“Avivo works with people with disabilities,” he says. “I just wanted to get back to where I’d be able to work.”

“Avivo works with people with disabilities … I just wanted to get back to where I’d be able to work.”

Now, David works in building maintenance at the YMCA’s downtown Minneapolis branch. He walks and moves around quite a bit in his new job, and feels healthier as a result. His doctors concur that his heart is the healthiest it’s been in years.

“I’m the type of person where I don’t allow a disability to keep me from achieving my goals… It’s like since these problems came up, they just made me stronger.”

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