MASON, Ohio -- It took Brianne Hoagland eight years to find an employer who would give her a shot.
Like anyone, Hoagland dreamed of pursuing a career that would make her happy and fulfilled, but finding a workplace that could accommodate her physical disability proved incredibly challenging.
“I needed a job that would be flexible with my schedule and that would allow me to have my care staff with me and all of that good stuff," she said. “It was very difficult to find that balance."
Hoagland enlisted Rich Halter, an employment specialist from Goodwill, to help her with her search, but the pair still struggled to find a job that would hire her.
“We could not find that company that was willing to accommodate her needs,” Halter said.
Hoagland then decided to start volunteering with the non-profit group Building Blocks for Kids, which raises money to help children with physical and developmental disabilities. Her passion for the work caught the attention of management, and they quickly decided to bring her onto their staff.
"(It was) a combination of relief and joy," Hoagland said. "I was like, ‘Finally, I can do something that can show what I can be.'"
Hoagland’s first project has been promoting a fundraiser for the organization: a performance by Josh Blue, a comedian who also has cerebral palsy.
"The amount of work and passion she puts in is more than we have seen from other people," said Dynette Clark, Building Blocks for Kids’ executive director. “She appreciates working with a non-profit and working with families."
Hoagland’s message to other people living with disabilities is the same motto she used to encourage herself during her job search: “Never give up, always fight for what you want, and always have faith."
Building Blocks for Kids' upcoming Benefit Night featuring Josh Blue will take place Nov. 30 in Liberty Township.