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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Demico is an open and
honest person about his life. He knows where he has been and where he would
like to go. Recently, he was released from prison on parole and living in a
halfway house. Demico knew that he needed to get a job to get his life back
together. However, it was difficult for him to get a job with a record. Most
employers wouldn’t consider giving him a job because of his background.
Demico knew about Goodwill and the services they offer. He contacted Goodwill about needing assistance with finding a job. He was referred to Chasity, Employment Specialist, who helped place him in the Employment Skills Training Program.
“The Employment Skills Training program is a 6-week assessment that teaches individuals the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in the competitive work field. We train our participants on their tasks according to the area they choose after coming through on a tour. They learn how to be on time, clock in and out, interact with coworkers and how to deal with every day work issues”, Chasity explained.
Demico worked hard on both his soft and hard skills during the first 3 weeks of the program then he was asked by Brad, Store Manager, if he would like to apply for a job. He graciously accepted a job in the backroom testing electronics and stocking merchandise on the sales floor.
Demico has excelled in both areas by making sure that the best merchandise is placed on the sales floor. “He takes pride in his work and genuinely cares about the customers experience. Demico is a great example of an individual not letting a barrier stop him from gaining competitive employment and keeping it”, Chasity stated confidently.
Make a difference in someone’s life today by donating to Goodwill of the Great Plains. Your donation is not only tax deductible, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping individuals like Demico in your community find job training and employment. Monetary donations directly support our mission programming by ensuring we have professional and trained staff, adequate facilities and technology to support individuals enrolled in our programs. We make it easy for you to donate funds quickly and securely online through PayPal. Donate now and find out how great it feels to support Goodwill!