Lucille had been out of work for some time when she initiated contact with Vocational Rehabilitation. She was anxious to learn the skills she needed to reenter the workforce. Trained as a respiratory therapist, Lucille hoped to find work in the medical field that would fit her skills and experience. As willing as she was to work, Lucille felt there was one obstacle that would prevent her from getting the job she desired: her appearance.
Last year, Lucille had her teeth removed for medical reasons and couldn’t afford to have them replaced. Her therapist and a senior center manager at Lyon Park recommended she contact Coordinating Council for Senior Citizens, a United Way member agency. When she arrived at the senior center, Lucille’s caseworker, Juanita, noticed Lucille covered her mouth whenever she spoke.
“I only said what I needed to say, not a lot. Not opening my mouth not smiling. I was really depressed,” Lucille said.
“She came into the office and indicated that, not only did she need glasses, but she also wanted and needed dentures,” Juanita said. “Improving her self-image and enhancing her overall quality of life were important to her. Lucille felt she would look more suitable during job interviews if she had dentures.”
At the time, there were no resources available to assist in purchasing dentures. Juanita contacted the United Way and applied for a Response Fund Grant, and within a few days, her request was approved. Upon learning she had been approved, Lucille immediately went to Affordable Dentures.
“She came into the office the next day smiling and beaming,” Juanita said. “She was very excited about being able to talk and smile without covering her mouth with her hands.”
“I knew what the United Way did, but I didn’t know they did things that big,” Lucille said. “Now, I’m looking for a job. I didn’t have any teeth and now I do. Now, I’m feeling better about it.”
Today, Lucille is a volunteer at the Duke Street Senior Center, where every Wednesday, you can find her assisting seniors with quilting projects, and arts and crafts every other Friday.
Charity GROW is a proud sponsor of the United Way.