Corey’s Optimistic Energy Carries on Despite Life’s Challenges

Corey was a hard-working, licensed car insurance agent for 15 years when she heard the heartbreaking news that shook her world. Her mom had cancer. Corey’s mom meant everything to her. Corey needed to decide, would she keep working or take care of her mom? It was an easy decision for Corey. She would stay with her mom and be her support system through this difficult time.

Three years later, Corey lost her mom to a hard-fought battle with cancer. Corey was devastated. “Losing an immediate family member was hard for Corey. She couldn’t gain control and spiraled,” explained Christine, Skills Trainer.  “It was a difficult time for me,” Corey acknowledged. To cope with losing her mom, Corey resorted to alcohol. Corey knew she needed help and couldn’t do this on her own. She started therapy and was in recovery when she was referred to Goodwill.

Corey was anxious on her first day of training in the Pre-Vocational Job Training Program.  This program offers services for individuals with disabilities or mental illness to support additional soft skill development.  Corey had doubts if she would be successful because of her gap in employment. “I was excited to work but I was nervous,” reflecting on her first day of training. Encouragement and support from the entire Goodwill team gave her the courage to carry on.

Corey excelled during the training and was quickly moved from scanning books to reception. After a few weeks, she started working in the store stocking clothing.  Vickie, Sioux City Store Manager, noticed Corey’s excellent work ethic. “She is dependable and reliable. If I give her a project, she completes it to the highest level. She makes a difference to me and the team.”

Recently, Vickie asked Corey into the office to ask her an important question. “I have an opening for a Team Lead. Would you like to be my Team Lead? You have the characteristics I am looking for and I would love for you to join us.” Corey didn’t hesitate for a second. She knew she wanted to continue working at Goodwill and be a part of something she is passionate about.

If you walk into the Sioux City store today, you will find Corey with the biggest smile on her face. Her positive energy is contagious, and her optimistic attitude inspires us to believe anything is possible and to never let the past define who you are.

Connie’s Journey to Achieving Her Goals Through Goodwill

An individual who has low self-confidence can have a difficult time finding a job. As Connie was entering the Work Adjustment Program this past fall, she was struggling with self-confidence and physical health. (The Work Adjustment Program is a 6-month program for individuals over 18 years of age teaching soft skill development and employment readiness serving individuals with brain injury, physical injury, cognitive disabilities, and health challenges.)

Jill, Program Manager, helped Connie set goals and work towards gaining confidence in her abilities. Connie worked in the retail store as part of her training and created relationships with her co-workers who had been through the program and could relate to what she was going through. This helped boost her confidence and gain a support system. Stan, Rapid City Store Manager, noticed her significant progress as she was working in the store. Stan offered her a Retail Associate position as she was nearing the completion of the training program. Stan added, “Connie is dependable and flexible. I didn’t want to lose her to another employer.”

Connie was beaming with excitement over the generous offer of employment. She graciously accepted and is making tremendous strides to achieve her goals. One of Connie’s goals is “to prove myself worthy of the job I was given and to make customers happy.” Connie believes never giving up and the support she received throughout her program helped her become successful.