Californication: A post-college year in the Golden State
July 30, 2013 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Having spent my entire life doing what was expected of me when and where I was supposed to do it and clinging fairly tightly to my parents and home life, I'd like to take the next year or so to inject some vigor and excitement into my young years before I settle for the rat race to the picket fence with my . I'm thinking the most drastic and simultaneously safest way to do this would be to spend time in California. I've been there twice and loved it each time. Trouble is that, given my unique set of circumstances, that's starting to look more like a pipe dream than a feasible reality. Is there any hope of finding a good, well-developed reason to move out there own my own, at least for a year?

A little about me:
-23 year old student with a B.A. in psychology but a rough transcript on account of an unrelenting battle with depression during undergrad. Take a look at my resume for a better look at where I stand:

- ( The bombshell): I have cerebral palsy. This means I'd need accessible housing and transportation, but it also means that I have difficulties with speech fluency when I get anxious, which might limit my opportunities
- I'd like to find something with some sort of structure. I can't bum around or temp... not ready for that level of independence unfortunately.
- I'd want to make some sort of money and to improve my chances of starting a career when I come back to NY. I can't afford to make this year entirely about soul searching, much as I might like to.
- If I can't make money, I'd at least want experience ( of any kind) and whatever I do to be affordable.

So, now that I've created a mountain in 5 bullet points: Is there anything I'd be able to occupy my time with and avoid having a traumatically lonely and rude wakeup call, finding out I was betting I could live on a prayer? I'm talking programs, internships, jobs, volunteering, etc etc etc. You get the point ( I hope). I just want a reason to go to California that extends beyond pot and nice weather. Give me some hope?
posted by marsbar77 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Eep. A link to the resume:
posted by marsbar77 at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2013

My first thought was AmeriCorps. Looks like California is eager to provide accessible opportunities:

"CaliforniaVolunteers strives to ensure that all Californians, including persons with disabilities, are empowered to serve. Through our disability inclusion initiative, we hope to increase the number of persons with disabilities serving as AmeriCorps members and volunteers across the state."

Americorps also has special funding to "pay for reasonable accommodations if needed." (Link with some info I don't quite grok on SSDI and other funding that might be applicable to your situation.)

Give your resume, you might also look into California Jewish organizations, though I don't know of any off the top of my head.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:59 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, there are a BAJILLION one-year domestic service programs in the US and many have placement sites in California. I just finished one myself. There is a list/clearinghouse of them here: Not all of the programs are Catholic, but most of them have some variety of religiosity. A lot of them provide housing and medical insurance. You should definitely be very open during the application process about any accessibility needs you have for your housing, but I think at least a few of them should be able to work with you.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:25 AM on July 31, 2013

Your resume and question together give me absolutely no idea what you want to do for a job, either temporarily or as a career after your "gap year". Is that because you don't know yourself?
posted by jacalata at 12:28 AM on July 31, 2013

Exactly :( This could giv me a chance to field test a few things.
posted by marsbar77 at 1:01 AM on July 31, 2013

You should consider moving to Berkeley! It's both a very cool city with a ton of young people, cool shops, a great community college if you want to take a class or two, and a ton of disability services - which means that the surrounding infrastructure and community is pretty used to dealing with folks with accessibility issues.

If I were you, I'd research the organizations on this list and reach out to any that are geared toward folk with physical disabilities. One of them is bound to have either housing or internship type options for you.

You should also check out the Ed Roberts Campus, a brand new campus that houses a bunch of NGOs dedicated to independent living. I don't know too much about the details of their programs, but I walk by it every day and it's a very active spot with a lot of interesting stuff going on and people coming in and out. Start researching and see if there are any programs there you can get involved with.

You should be able to find both support services and NGOs dedicated to helping folks like you find internships and volunteer opportunities and generally become as active as possible.

You can totally do this! The world is your oyster.
posted by paddingtonb at 10:53 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you aware of UCP? They have many California affiliates who could probably be very helpful in figuring out some of your practical questions.
posted by jasper411 at 11:25 AM on July 31, 2013

Great suggestions so far, thanks guys! Keep em coming :)
posted by marsbar77 at 12:27 PM on July 31, 2013

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