Imagine wanting to work, but having no idea of how to get where you want to be in life. This is how Jurdy was feeling at the age of 26. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy and limited vision, Jurdy became “lost” in the “system.”

Jurdy and her family heard about successes other individuals with disAbilities were having by bringing people together, who believed in them, in an informal setting through the HOPE Team process implemented by The Full Life Ahead Foundation. They decided that this was something they needed to pursue. When Jurdy had her first HOPE Team meeting, friends, family members, FLAF staff, Vocational Rehabilitation providers, service providers and others joined together to brainstorm her gifts, strengths, dreams and desires. Everyone there wanted to help make a difference. The driving force that produced the first lead was ultimately Jurdy’s love for animals.

Soon after, one of the HOPE Team participants took Jurdy to visit the Birmingham Humane Society where Jurdy asked if they needed any volunteers. They were impressed with her enthusiasm and interest and offered her the opportunity to volunteer. Approximately ten days later she was hired as their receptionist and greeter. She had her first check in hand just four months after her first HOPE meeting. Three years after beginning her job at the Humane Society, Jurdy was named Supported Employee of the Year by the Birmingham Area Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities.

Transportation continues to be a challenge for work each day. Careful planning is done each week to ensure her transportation plans are in place for the week. Initially this was furnished through the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who arranged for her to be picked up and taken home each day, freeing her mother for the first time in 27 years from being the sole source of transportation. Jurdy has participated in Partners in Policy Making of Alabama. She is ecstatic about her new life opportunities and lives her life with great expectation of living Life to it’s Fullest!