During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we’re saluting people who have stepped ahead, above and beyond in the name of equitable opportunity and employment for people with disabilities.

Meet, Lily.

I had graduated high school and was out in the real world. I wanted a job so I worked with Voc Rehab Services to find work. I was living with a friend who used to work at MDI, and that’s how I first heard about them. I’ve been on the day shift for just over a year, and I really like it. It’s a good place to work. I like my routine folding the totes, but I get moved around because I do really well on all my jobs.

One of my biggest goals was to move into my own apartment, and my job helped me do that. I play on my computer in my tiny living room and read. And then I wanted a kitty, and I was able to get a gray tabby kitten—I named her Jayfeather, and I play with her a lot. When I’m not working, I like to bake sweets like cookies and cakes and cupcakes to bring to my mom when I visit her sometimes.

I’m a quiet person, and sometimes it’s hard to talk to people. Being around people on a daily basis helps. Plus MDI gave me time to get used to my job. So now, if someone new comes, I can help show them how things work. I remember that when I started out, I didn’t want to do anything but folding because I was too nervous. Now I’ve gained the courage to do other things. They asked me to handle weld more often, and so I did it. I think it brought me out of my shell. Sometimes I just have to think, it’ll be ok—let’s give it a try!