TOURING THE Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County in July of this year changed Hannah Peels’ life. As part of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program in Shelbyville, a summer program to support young adults with disabilities looking to enter the workforce, Hannah participated in a tour of local businesses to better understand expectations of the workplace and to get a feel for opportunities that were out there. When Hannah came to the Community Clinic of Shelbyville and Bedford County, she was immediately intrigued.
Hannah loved the environment that would encourage interaction with pa- tients and other team members. She was interested in the work the clinic does and how they support the community. She was hooked. Patricia Simmons, medi- cal supervisor of the clinic, recalls as the group was leaving Hannah proposed, “If you need help, I’m your girl!”
Patricia was impressed with Hannah and her outgoing nature, including the questions she asked while on the tour. Patricia hired Hannah to work two days per week when the clinic is open. She schedules and confirms appointments, bringing joy to their patients and staff alike.
Hannah is a 2021 graduate of Bedford County’s Community High School and is enthusiastic to be in the workforce. As a wheelchair user, she recognizes that people often see the wheelchair first and draw their own conclusions about her capabilities. She thrives on contributing and pulling her own weight. She is eager to learn and grow in her posi- tion, believing that God has given her this opportunity and will guide her next steps. She hopes to be able to transition to a full-time job that would give her financial independence and the ability to support her future family.
Hannah asks the residents of Bedford County, especially those who own and manage businesses, to give people with disabilities a chance to prove themselves. Being able to earn a good living is critical for a person to be independent. They might look a little dif- ferent or need some support to be successful but once you give them a chance, you might wonder how you ever got by without their help.-GN