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Kellen on career dreams

kellen on kellen on 2
Kellen Swanson peeks out a window while cleaning First United Methodist Church. (MARC LESTER — Anchorage Daily News)

March 27, 2014

If FASD wasn’t an issue, what kind of job do you think you’d be doing?

Kellen: I would probably be doing something besides (being) a (part-time) domestic engineer at a church. I would probably be going for a career with a job that I might find beneficial to myself and my interests, and not just something that I like doing. It would probably be something outdoors like the Fish and Game service, or maybe training (to be) a paramedic, because I like to help people. I like to help when they’re in trouble. Maybe I could’ve thought about doing a police academy job. It could’ve been just about anything. Any type of job would probably be better than what I’ve got now, if I hadn’t been affected. But I really think that because of when I was affected in the womb, that does have an effect on what type of jobs I get. Even though it’s not really something employers are asking — “Are you FAS? Are you FASD? Are you mentally unhinged?” — that kind of thing. But I am aware that my mental disabilities do have a hindrance on my progression to getting a better job, better place to stay, whatever. I understand there’s limits. It’s just really hard to describe those limits.

Say you wanted to be a cop. Is it the academics? What’s stopping you from doing that?

Kellen: Quite possibly a good portion of it would be the academics. Possibly. I mean, I would bank on the academics being a good part to stop me. And another part would be the physical stature. Myself, I’m barely five-foot-even and 110 pounds. If I can’t carry 90 pounds on my back in a fireman’s carry, I’m not going to get into the force. If I can’t do the required limits that they want me to, I can’t — just because of how I am. (She excuses herself to go pray.)

Originally published May 3, 2014.

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