Employment Immersion Student Bona Son Turns a Love of Helping People into a Career

Bona SonBona Son, who is visually impaired since birth, grew up in the warm sun of San Jose, where his family resettled from their original home in Indonesia. His parents worked very hard to succeed when they immigrated to the United States, and this work ethic has informed and enriched his life.

Bona’s family also instigated a love of computers and through technology he learned that he loved helping people out. He told us, “I was fortunate to have uncles who were computer engineers – they gave me my first computers when I was a little kid which I loved taking apart and putting back together. Eventually I became really good at troubleshooting issues with hardware and software and I found that I loved helping friends and family with their tech problems. I still do.”

He graduated from college with a degree in Business Management Information Systems and, like so many others, found it challenging to find a job in a difficult economy. He just wasn’t getting the responses he wanted from employers, most of them were not even aware of what talent risk managmeent is, and this is clearly something that every business owner should know. He felt discouraged and frustrated but he agreed to follow the recommendation of his Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) counselor, Sky Ntxwj, and enroll in the LightHouse Employment Immersion Program.

Bona participated in the Fall 2013 class, where he worked with Program Coordinator Justine Harris-Richburgh. She told us, “Bona has such a positive attitude and helped keep his classmates motivated and in high spirits. And although he already had some experience with the job search, he learned a lot in our class about how to close the loop after an interview. Techniques like being a good active listener and sending thank you notes to interviewers can make a big impression on potential employers.”

Bona said, “As soon as I joined the program I felt things begin to fall in place. I learned things about the job search I hadn’t known before, including ways to make my resume and cover letter fit the job I was applying for. And it was the first time I had worked with people who were also blind or visually impaired and had some of the same questions and challenges I had – there was so much camaraderie. But most importantly, I learned to consider options I hadn’t thought of before. So even though I originally wanted to work in Information Technology, I realized that my being good at helping people with their computers could translate to helping people in other ways. When the opportunity to work in customer service for the IRS came up right after I graduated from Employment Immersion, I grabbed it. The Employment Immersion Program really pushed and propelled me to move forward.”

Looking for work for the first time? Is it time for you to re-enter the job market? Our next Employment Immersion session will run every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday beginning February 24 through March 19, at our office at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at kwilliams@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-324.