Meet Maria-lynn Olsson
Maria-lynn Olsson is a kind-hearted and dedicated advocate for children with and without disabilities. Maria-lynn knows what it is like to grow up having a disability, in her case Cerebral Palsy. Maria-lynn hopes to one-day work with youth with disabilities in a classroom setting.
Maria-lynn is the first enrollee in the Washington Access Fund’s Work Opportunities IDA program through Washington’s Disability Employment Initiative (DEI). Through this program Maria-lynn is saving for a “new” used car, which will take her to and from work and out to work meetings.
Maria-lynn currently works as a Help Me Grow Washington Family Outreach Specialist with the “Help Me Grow Washington” program at WithinReach. Through this position, Maria-lynn is completing her second year as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. After graduating with her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing from Western Washington University, Maria-lynn worked as a Group Leader at the Whatcom YMCA in Before and After School Childcare—this fueled her passion to work with youth.
After moving back to King County, Maria-lynn began volunteering with AmeriCorps. As an AmeriCorps volunteer, Maria-lynn is able to maintain her Social Security Income and health care benefits while gaining valuable work experience for the next stage in her career.
Maria-lynn connected with the Washington Access Fund because she needed support as she makes steps towards moving into full-time employment. Like many others, Maria-lynn is concerned about what moving off of SSI and into full time work will mean for her life, her income, and her health benefits.
Maria-lynn also came to the Access Fund worried about her transportation situation. She is currently driving to and from work, and out to client meetings in her 1988 Subaru Wagon. A car that is almost as old as she is! Within the next year, Maria-lynn needs to purchase more reliable transportation.
The Access Fund referred Maria-lynn to our DEI partners at WorkSource King County. Maria-lynn is currently working with Sue Koeller, a Disability Resource Coordinator. Maria-lynn is considering assigning her Ticket through the Social Security Administration to the WorkSource KingCounty Employment Network.
After connecting with WorkSource, Maria-lynn signed up for the Access Fund’s Work Opportunities IDA program to save for her future car. By September of 2014, Maria-lynn is scheduled to save $2,000. The Access Fund will match her savings and Maria-lynn will be able to obtain a car, allowing her to continue to get to and from work and out to meetings.