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My Journey at Galt

By Amber Cook

Two hands holding large compass pointing north full

I recently started working as an internal employee for Galt Foundation here in Portland and I’m so pleased at the idea of being able to offer other people the opportunity to benefit from Galt the way I did when I was a member of the field staff.

A few years ago, after being an author and artist for over a decade, I had to start looking for a job but didn’t have a recent work history. Yikes. And with the added disability of not being able to work on my feet. Double yikes.

It took time, but after starting to rebuild my work history by volunteering, assignments through Galt, and tax-season work with H&R Block, I began applying for permanent positions. Yay.

But then, boo. Just about that time, I developed severe sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen at night quickly became so bad, it was going to destroy my health entirely. Every CPAP machine mask I tried leaked, so the equipment hardly helped. I was left unable to work in either a permanent position or a part-time one with regular hours. It would take me forever to get approved for SSDI, and I was more than willing to work. Sigh.

What could I do?

Happily, I could continue doing assignments for a state agency I’d developed good relations with through Galt, and over the next year the agency called me in often enough to be able to scrape through financially. While also being such a good place to work, it helped keep my spirits up. Smile.

With the help of naturopaths, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, the sleep apnea is gone and has been for almost a year now. Big smile.

I don’t know what I would have done in 2016 without the ability to work frequently but with enough time off in-between to catch up on the sleep I was so desperately lacking. Nowhere else could offer me that but Galt Foundation. And I’m not sure how I would have gotten through in 2017 as I recovered enough to finally be able to start looking for a permanent position again without Galt Foundation.

And now I get to work here as an internal team member and help others.

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Amber Cook

Staffing Associate, Galt Foundation
Amber Cook is Staffing Associate at the Portland office who particularly enjoys building relations with community partners and other local organizations serving employment needs for people with disabilities. She's an author and artist, loves language and literature, was partly raised in Germany, and adores the marine world.

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