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.

Jon’s Support System Found in His Goodwill Family

Can you imagine being misunderstood most of your life? Jon had been in group homes as a teenager and never had someone who believed in him and what he was capable of until he came to Goodwill.

Jon’s family believed he wouldn’t amount to much of anything. He would never get out on his own and be completely dependent on them for everything. Because of this mindset that was instilled in him throughout his life, Jon struggled to find his place.

Several dead-end jobs later, Jon was referred to Goodwill’s Employment Skills Training Program. A 6-week program teaching individuals the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Participants learn essential job skills that they will be able to transfer to a job. Jon’s life changed forever when he found a mentor and friend in Chasity (Employment Specialist).

Jon did various janitorial duties while he learned transferable job skills such as being professional and communicating with co-workers and managers. Chasity saw Jon’s potential because he came to work with a positive attitude and took pride in his job.  After Jon’s completion of the program, Chasity helped him get a job at Shopko as a Hardlines Team Associate. At first, it was hard for Jon to fit in with his co-workers and managers. With Chasity’s encouragement, Jon continued to work hard and managed to gain their trust. Jon replies, “These people became my work family and I still keep in contact with them today despite Shopko closing.”

On the last day of work at ShopKo, Jon was presented by Christine, Assistant Manager at Shopko with the Star Service Champion Award. Cynthia told Jon, “We are presenting the Star Service Champion Award to you because you went above and beyond our expectations. You truly went the extra mile for the customers.” At that moment, Jon was in tears. He had never been complimented in his entire life for anything he had done. This was a defining moment for Jon and when he learned, “People in the community see me for who I am.”

One of the goals Jon had when he first started at Goodwill was to move out on his own. Today, Jon has found his own apartment and is becoming independent. “Moving out on his own was a big step for Jon,” explained Chasity about Jon’s progress.

Today, Jon works as a gatekeeper at 1st Class Security. Chasity continues to work with Jon and according to Jon is “a light in his life.” Jon credits Chasity for the support and encouragement she has given him to be the best version of himself.  

Exciting Announcement about Camp Goodwill

As you may know, the board and our leadership team made a strategic decision a few short years ago to transition camp to a higher purpose and market it for sale. As the saying rings true, everything has its time and purpose. I am pleased to announce that we have found the perfect fit to hand off the virtual “camp baton”. Salvation Army of the Western Division has purchased the camp property. Their leadership team is quite enthused to carry on the legacy of youth services and camping. They have much experience operating youth programming and summer camping. They had a similar camp property in Nebraska until it was devastated by the flooding in 2019.  Countless more adventures will be had at camp, and they will continue to rent spaces out for events and gatherings as we have done. Our rich history will live on through the Salvation Army, and youth services will continue under their management and ownership for years to come.

  • John Hantla, President and CEO, Goodwill of the Great Plains

New Year, New You!

What is your New Year’s resolution this year? Is it to lose weight or get fit? Are you wanting to save money and reduce waste? Do you want to relax with a good book? If your resolution includes one or all of these, Goodwill can help!

Fitness and Wellness

Workout

If you are planning to work out this year and need some activewear on a budget. Look no further than Goodwill! Sweatpants, sports bras, capris and shorts are a few of the activewear pieces you can find at Goodwill.

Healthy Eating

Meal planning is an excellent way to eat healthier. You are not only planning what you are eating but you are saving money by not eating out. This helps to prevent cravings, curve impulse eating, and eliminating food waste.

A reusable water bottle you can fill up during the day can help you get healthier. Water refreshes and cleanses the toxins in your body. A reusable water bottle can help you save money because you are not filling your body with caffeinated, sugary beverages throughout the day helping you slim down. At Goodwill you can find reusable water bottles in several colors and styles.

Reading

Midwest weather can be brutal during the long, winter months. This is a perfect excuse to cozy up with a good book. If you love mysteries and cracking the case or the thrill of learning about the history behind the famous figures in US history excites you or you want to learn more about improving your wellbeing, we have books for everyone.  

Do you tend to forget to read? (Helpful hint: Set aside time in the morning or at night and set reminders on your phone to remind yourself to relax with a good book.)

Save Money

Every time you make the choice to shop in our stores you are saving money because we have high quality items at amazing prices, plus for every 87 cents you spend in our stores you are helping individuals in your community find job training and employment.