Rapid City Team Giving Participants A Second Chance

Back Row:  Michael (2018), Renzel (2014), Stan (Store Manager), Alyssa (2018), Frank (2019), Chris (2017), Kim D (2019)

Front Row: Samantha (Assistant Manager), Pam (2017), Connie (2020), Kim P (Operations Supervisor), Michelle (2017)

Picture on the Right: Wally (2019)

(Year represents year graduated from Work Adjustment Program)

No one can prepare for life’s rough road. We all stumble at some point and need a helping hand.  Everyone deserves a second chance. At Goodwill, we believe in giving a hand up for individuals who might need help getting back on their feet.  Rapid City store exemplifies what we stand for and what our mission is. The Work Adjustment program helps individuals who have brain injury, physical injury, cognitive or mental health challenges gain soft skill development to become ready for employment.

Stan, Store Manager, has hired 10 Work Adjustment Program graduates who are currently working in the retail store today. Stan explains, “People are loyal and appreciative of the opportunities given. Samantha (Assistant Manager) and Kim (Operations Supervisor) are all strong supporters of Goodwill’s mission and provide consistent positive mentoring to each one of the participants who come through the program.  They work as a team right along with our Mission Services team to ensure the success of each participant who comes through the program.”

Participants thoroughly enjoy the Work Adjustment Program and believe they have gained confidence, created relationships, and learned new skills. They enjoy having a purpose and a reason to work.

When you believe in someone and what they are capable of, the sky is the limit! All you need to give someone is a chance.

Denise’s Confidence Renewed Through Goodwill Job Training Program

We all deserve to be respected and treated as a human. This is a basic human right. Denise had a humiliating experience at a former employer. The management yelled at Denise in front of customers and forced her to work on days she wasn’t scheduled. Denise didn’t feel comfortable speaking up and felt her confidence drastically declining. Sadly, this all led to Denise’s mental breakdown.

Denise needed help. She knew she couldn’t be alone in her journey of gaining back her confidence. She was referred to Goodwill’s Pre-Vocational Job Training Program to gain soft skills to become more comfortable working a job in the community.

“At first, Denise was nervous,” Christine, Skills Trainer, observed. She was assigned to scanning books in E-Commerce. After a few weeks, Denise started making strong connections to fellow participants. They were able to relate to past experiences and common interests. Denise knew she found her support system.

A few weeks ago, Denise was asked if she would like to work at the reception desk, answering the phone and greeting visitors. Denise agreed. She was excited, but anxious about starting something new. Denise knew she needed to find a way to cope with her anxiety and nerves. That day, Denise wore a necklace that had her brother’s ashes. “My brother was the bravest person I knew. He battled sickness with strength until he passed away.  If he can be brave, I can be brave too”, proudly stated Denise. At the end of the day, Denise had the biggest smile on her face and knew her brother was with her.

One of Denise’s goals is to pursue her passion for photography. Denise loves photography. The feeling she receives when she crafts the perfect photo is indescribable to her.  Denise operated her photography studio for 20 years and attended the New York Institute of Photography online. She is dedicated to her passion and wants to continue pursuing photography in the future. “When I complete the program, I want to apply for an e-commerce position. I will be able to pursue my passion and work with people I have strong relationships with”, she exclaimed.  

Denise appreciates the support she has received throughout the Pre-Vocational Job Training Program. “Goodwill has helped me in many ways. I have gained my confidence back and have learned how to communicate and speak up for myself,” explained Denise about the significant impact Goodwill has had on her life.

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.