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Inspiring Tyler woman encourages employers to hire the disabled

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TYLER (KYTX) - It's everyone's favorite thing about 26-year-old Amanda Mack: her laugh.

Coming in a close second, is her radiant positivity.

"I have cerebral palsy," she says. "I don't let that get me down. I let that bring me up. People say I can't do it, I turn away and say that I can do it."

Amanda was told she'd never graduate from school, or get a job. Well, she's studying now at Texas College and has been working at Walmart for three months now.

"I do everything," she laughs. "Clothing, shoes, baby clothing."

It suits her, because clothes are her passion.

"My dream is to become a fashion designer," she says.

The words "you can't" have constantly driven her to be even better.

"It made me motivated. It made me do it more!"

Landing her job at Walmart was life changing.

"It makes me feel that I can conquer the world!" Amanda says.

"She's part of the family at this point," says Jim Camp, who is in charge of all Tyler and surrounding area Walmarts, including the one on South Broadway, where Amanda works.

He is also a key part of an event called "Breaking the Mold," which unites East Texas business leaders and urges them to hire people with disabilities. Every year it is put on by the East Texas Center for Independent Living, Workforce Solutions East Texas, and the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, or DARS.

"It's extremely rewarding because we give folks an opportunity to gain meaningful employment and to become financially independent," Camp says.

Camp says hiring the disabled and having them contribute to the community positively impacts the economy. He hopes other employers will follow his lead.

"We need them to have an open mind about individuals with disabilities, and measure their success one applicant at a time," he says.

An open mind gives people like Amanda, a chance to shine.

"We're just like normal people. Just because we have a disability, don't close the door in our face," Amanda says.

To anyone with a disability who's ever been told "you can't," Amanda has a message: "Don't take no for an answer. Take yes. If somebody tells you that you can't do it, bring yourself up. Don't let other people determine what you can do and what you can't do."

Oh yeah, and never stop laughing!

 

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