Brijida was born in Frankfort, Germany to where both of her parents were Army service members. When she was four years old, she moved to Brooklyn, NY with her mother where she grew up and graduated high school. She left home when she was 17 and was on her own for several years. During that time, she went into Job Corps and studied auto mechanics.
Brijida joined the Army National Guard when she was 20 years old and shortly after became a security guard at a housing, social, and mental health services facility for adults and families who were low-income and/or with disabilities. She worked there happily for five years until tragedy struck.
At 26 years old, Brijida was a victim of a crime. She was on her way to a military assignment in uniform and she was accosted by several gang members and stabbed in the chest. She said she was attacked because she was wearing a uniform in the wrong area of New York City.
Brijida was unable to work for six months due to her injury and had complications of bronchitis and pneumonia for some time after. When she was able, she returned to her job as a security guard but continuously suffered from complications of her injuries after the attack. Sadly, because Brijida was a Reservist instead of being on Active Duty, the military has refused to provide any assistance even though she was in uniform and on duty at the time of the attack. Although she still experiences a great deal of physical pain on a daily basis, Brijida says she has learned to live with it and will continue to move forward despite the pain.
Brijida left New York two years ago to be with her family in Florida and get away from the cold which intensifies her painful condition. She moved in with her sister until she could get on her feet. During her job hunt in Florida, Brijida was unable to find a security guard position because of her medical issues and the demanding physical requirements of that job.
Brijida’s employU Employment Specialist, Joyce, discussed her options with her and together they were able to find Brijida an on-the-job-training position working at Light Years Ahead Child Care Facility in Altamonte Springs. Brijida loves being around the children and does everything needed of her with a smile. Her responsibilities include clerical work and sometimes assisting with keeping an eye on the children. Although she cannot be a full-time childcare worker due to her medical condition, Brijida does everything necessary to keep the facility clean and make sure it runs smoothly.
Brijida says “It is physically challenging but so fulfilling. I love being around the children every day! It is a new lease on life. I was in desperate straits because I could no longer do the job I had done for more than 20 years and I was beginning to lose hope. Thank you, Joyce, and employU for helping me find Light Years Ahead Child Care. This is the best thing that has happened to me since I came to Florida!”
Even when in extreme pain she always gives 100% effort. Brijida is an inspiration to us all!