Maria Alcala Garcia
Maria has a rosy outlook for the future thanks to Goodwill’s Connection Center.
Maria was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, a metropolitan area of 4 million people in central Mexico. Growing up, life was not easy, and she dreamed of greater opportunity. Maria took a job as tailor in a furniture factory, and later spent twenty years as a professional photographer in Mexico, taking personal photos for weddings, graduations, and family portraits.
Maria never stopped dreaming, though. It was not until her daughter immigrated to Sioux City, Iowa that Maria decided the time was right. She took the daring step of leaving her home for great opportunity with her daughter in the United States.
Her migration up north has been difficult. Speaking through an interpreter, Maria said, “It was harder than I thought. My biggest barrier is the language difference.” Maria also said “There are many in my situation, and what is hardest for us in the Latin community is learning how and where to take that first step toward assimilation.”
For Maria, that first step was Goodwill Industries. Maria discovered Goodwill through Workforce Development Services. She enrolled in the Vocational Services Program, a program designed to provide paid work opportunity and on-site job coaching. From there, Maria has studiously dedicated all of her free time to learning English through ESL classes and language learning software at the Connection Center computer lab.
As she continues to learn more English every day, her life is slowly changing. She said, “I am very thankful for Goodwill. It has opened doors for me, and is doing a good service to the Latin community.”
As for her future, Maria’s primary goal is learning English. In the mean time, she is also saving money for a vehicle, plans on picking up photography again, and still dreams of achieving that great job. With Goodwill’s help in job training, employment assistance, and English language training, Maria’s dream of better opportunity may not be so far off, after all.