Jason’s Story

Jason emigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. at the age of 7. Jason experienced significant trauma at an early age. His father was executed for war crimes several years after Ethiopia’s civil war ended in 1991. Jason was placed in an orphanage for two years when his mother also died. He was adopted by a couple from Evanston at the age of 7.

Jason prides himself on the quality of work he produces…[he] is genuinely excited at the prospect of becoming more independent.

Jason, Impact Participant

Jason had some struggles during his adolescence but demonstrated great resiliency by graduating from New Trier High School in 2010 as a National Merit Scholar. He attended Indiana University the following fall but left school after 2 semesters and returned home. This is when Jason’s mental illness came to the forefront. He found himself unable to concentrate, became suspicious of friends and family and eventually withdrew from activities he enjoyed as well as friends and family. Jason found himself a job at a local sandwich chain but his job left him feeling unfulfilled.

Jason came to Impact in 2014 with the goal of working in a hospital because he “could relate to how people in the hospital felt” based on his own experiences with hospitalization. With the assistance of the Employment Services team, Jason applied for a position as a Patient Transporter with Aramark at Evanston Hospital. He was selected for an interview and worked hard with his employment specialist to prepare himself as a professional job candidate. After a successful interview, Jason was offered a full-time position, earning $11.75 an hour, as a Patient Transporter where his role is to safely and efficiently transport patients to and from various departments at Evanston Hospital. Jason prides himself on the quality of work he produces and makes every effort to learn patient’s names and put them at ease as he enters their rooms and takes them their next stop. Jason is genuinely excited at the prospect becoming more independent, eventually moving out on his own and the opportunity to enjoy a career with Aramark. He continues to receive support from the Employment Services team to help him manage his symptoms and succeed at work and he reports a great relationship with his supervisor, Chris, at Aramark.