Breaking barriers

HARLINGEN — Kaila Silva is not your ordinary young woman.

But she is doing ordinary things such as going to school and surfing the Internet just like many college students in America.

Silva 24, said when she is not at work or at school, she enjoys revisiting classic rock music from AC/DC on the Internet.

“I really like the ‘High Voltage’ and ‘Back in Black’ albums,” Silva said. “I like the Bon Scott era because he was a good showman and I like his voice.”

Silva said from the video she has seen, Bon Scott was more entertaining and made the concerts more interesting.

What is not as typical for Kaila as it is for others, she needs an electric wheelchair she controls with her left hand in order to get around.

She said she has had to use a wheelchair since she was just three years old.

Silva suffers from cerebral palsy.

When she was born, there was bleeding in her head and that caused her to lose her motor skills.

She said the wheelchair was the best gift she ever received because she didn’t have to rely on people to help her move.

Silva rolls into the Salvation Army administration building three times a week.

She greets people coming into the office looking for services.

And she answers the phones to let people in need know what document is needed to qualify for services from the Salvation Army.

“When they call, I tell them all the documents they need to bring in order to qualify,” Silva said. “I really, really like this job because I get to help people and that is what I like to do.”

Silva said with her disability, she can’t help a lot of people, but she believes she has found her calling at the Salvation Army.

She said she was recommended to the former major to help around the office three years ago.

“This has been my only job,” Silva said. “I get to interact with different types of people and I’ve learned there are different situations for everyone.”

She said she has learned how to work with many types of people who come in or call in looking for services from the Salvation Army.

“I have learned how to deal with different kinds of people,” Silva said. “I really like working here and being here helps me a lot.”