I’m part of a new phenomenon. Until recently, people with my form of Muscular Dystrophy didn’t live very long. I’m thirty-one now. I look at my life as a continuous journey toward living independently, a goal I recently attained with the help of RIL.

I have always been a self-motivated person with well-defined goals. Until I got involved with RIL, the dream of living completely on my own had eluded me. After working as a volunteer at RIL, I learned how to rent a wheelchair-accessible apartment, to arrange for unintrusive attendant care, and to begin a new phase of my life.

I am now employed as a Special Projects Analyst for the Department of Consumer Affairs. I guess I’d always known which doors I wanted to go through, but RIL gave me the keys to open them.

– Rik Berkenpas

a photo of Mai Nguyen

I came to the United States with my family two and a half years ago. I lost my hearing when I was twelve years old. Since I did not know English or sign language, it was very difficult for me to communicate, which made it very hard for me to adjust to life here.

Through RIL I have learned to read sign language and to speak English, and I’m getting better at typing. RIL also helps me with job interviews and other situations where I need an interpreter. I’m feeling more confident all the time.

– Mai Nguyen

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