Deana’s Journey to Reaching Her Dreams

Social anxiety is a condition where an individual has difficulty feeling comfortable interacting with people. Deana had been dealing with social anxiety for years and she didn’t feel comfortable leaving the comforts of her house. Unfortunately, her husband lost his job due to the plant shutting down. There was no income coming in, so they had to do something to put food on the table and a safe home for their goddaughter who they just received guardianship for.

Deana and her husband went to the Department of Human Services to receive assistance during this difficult time. They applied for Food Stamps and they helped her husband get a job. However, to receive this assistance Deana had to enter a Goodwill program. Deana started the Employment Skills Training Program through the South Dakota Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Deana’s work site was provided through Goodwill.

Deana was nervous about working at Goodwill and didn’t know what to expect. “My first day in the door I didn’t know what to think of these people. I was shy and quiet,” Deana said. After about 3 days into this 6-week program Deana fell in love with Goodwill and the culture. She knew that this was where she was meant to be. After the 6-week period, Deana and the staff knew that she still had areas to improve upon. The program was extended to 12 weeks. Deana didn’t have a problem with this though. She said with positive attitude, “I had nowhere to go but up.”

Family is an important part of her life both at home and at work. “We are a strong family at Goodwill,” Deana said.  Deana believes that coming to work with a great team is everything to her. Deana’s family extends to her customers also. “We laugh and pray together,” Deana stated with joy.

Deana is now in the LEAP UP program working towards receiving her High School Diploma. The LEAP UP program has been a challenge for Deana because she has a learning disability, but Deana is determined to work towards her goals. Deana said gratefully, “I have great plans for my life that I never would have achieved had it not been for Goodwill.”

A chance to succeed is a crucial part of the Goodwill mission. At Goodwill, we give people the resources to create a better life for themselves and their families. Our philosophy at Goodwill is we give people “a hand up not a handout.”  We believe that if people are given the resources to succeed they will be able to become self-sufficient.  We serve many people like Deana who need some assistance with developing job skills. Making a monetary donation is a vital role that you can play in supporting Goodwill programs. These donations are not only tax deductible, but you are helping individuals find employment to reach their goals.

A Forever Home and Family Found at Goodwill

At the age of 12, my Grandma who raised me died and I had no place to go. Seeing that I was headed for the Boys’ and Girls’ home, a kind lady that Grandma knew adopted me.  She was a cook at the Goodwill summer camp; hence I spent my first summer with her at camp.  I loved the experience and the people that worked there.  I met other children who had unique life situations and it was a very meaningful experience for me.

I attended camp each year after that as a counselor and would pop in to the Goodwill main offices after camp was over and do volunteer typing for them. I also began attending the Church of All Nations, operated by Goodwill, in the poor community known as “the South Side.” These folks were immigrants from all over; they spoke different languages, but all got along great together; it was an eye-opening experience for me as I grew up among them.

I did not live in that area but would take the bus every day after school to Goodwill and participate wherever I was needed. In the midst of that little community was the Goodwill store that served the clothing needs of these wonderful people; some worked in the store and some in the plant sorting clothes for sale. The rest all worked in packing houses. I was adopted into the community and accepted as one of the Goodwill family.

I married, had 5 children of my own, and left Iowa for ten years. Came back in 1971 and got a job working for a company that closed for two weeks at Christmas time.  I went to the Goodwill and said, “what can I do for you for two weeks?”  I started stuffing envelopes and performing odd jobs.  When it came time for me to go back to my job, I did not go.  Goodwill hired me, and I have been here ever since.  47 years!  And loving EVERY MOMENT of my time here.  I feel like this is my family and love everything Goodwill stands for.  To me, it was a GOD THING.

Bring Good Home

When you put an awesome find in your Goodwill® cart, you’re not just thrifting. You’re being a local hero.

Last year, more than 2 million people engaged in face-to-face services at Goodwill to help prepare for and gain a good job, build their financial assets and advance in their careers. More than 36 million people connected with Goodwill online to access education, training, mentoring, learning services, virtual career fairs and employment opportunities offered by Goodwill organizations. Together with our donors and shoppers, Goodwill helped more than 300,000 secure jobs and start their journeys to a brighter future.Collectively, more than 87 cents of every dollar spent in Goodwill stores is reinvested in communities to support job training programs, onsite and virtual skills training and provide community support services for job seekers — such as child care, financial education, free tax preparation, transportation, and career mentoring. Here’s how that happens:

  • People donate clothing, household items and more to local Goodwill nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Goodwill sells the donated items in more than 3,300 stores, providing the critical revenue that helps fuel our nonprofit mission that helps people find, earn and keep good jobs and create better futures for themselves and their families.
  • People who buy unique finds from Goodwill stores and online at use their items with pride. And, shopping at Goodwill gives their communities a reason to celebrate because purchases support Goodwill’s nonprofit mission of providing job training, education and more to people in local communities.
  • People build their skills and find employment, with help from Goodwill.

Give your community a reason to celebrate!

The Story Behind the Stores – Idd

Idd came to Goodwill as a participant. He completed his program and was extended for another 6 weeks to get more work history established. He worked in general retail at Kiwanis and was a major asset to the team while he was there. He showed up with a smile every day. He showed up on time and never complained. He was eager to learn new tasks especially with his barrier.

A little back story to Idd, he immigrated here from Somalia a few years ago. While he was there he was subjected to terrible violence and was the victim of a terrible explosion. In the explosion his hands became mingled. This is his barrier. He needed to learn how to become a productive member of society in America. Idd is a fighter. He is a learner also. He adjusted and adapted to his new situation and has overcome many obstacles put in his way. Every obstacle he faces he does so with determination and a big smile.

Idd was my first client as an employment specialist. We hit the ground running hard. He was determined to get a job and I was determined to find one for him that he could excel in. We successfully found that job at JCPenneys. They took him on and accommodated his barrier so that he could remain successful there. Idd has found his work family! The way the embraced him and his barrier is rather inspiring. They saw what a great asset he was and they have taken the time to really train him. Idd is very happy at his work and it shows when you see him working. He constantly has a big smile on his face! He is a true success story.

The Store Behind the Stores – Delilah

Delilah has been in the Project Skills program since the first part of the year.

Carrie from Project Skills reached out to Goodwill to provide a work setting for Delilah. She learned her tasks very quickly, and has become a model and mentor to others while they learn their responsibilities. Delilah works very hard to ensure new people either working in the store or coming in for a program feel comfortable and welcome.

Delilah states she has always been confident and happy but became nervous in new situations. Coming to work at Goodwill was her first work experience. When Delilah started her program she was very shy and rarely spoke to people. As she became more confident and got to know people through talking to them and asking them how their day was, their life was, and opening up a bit herself, she has become more confident in her work and around people.

Delilah is happier and enjoys getting to know and help out other people. Delilah feels good about the organization and our mission, and is proud to be able to contribute to the mission and helping others. Delilah talks to her family and friends about how her opportunity with Goodwill has helped build her confidence both in and out of the work setting. Goodwill’s teams have no doubt that in the future Delilah will enter an employment situation where she can be happy and successful.

Goodwill programs work to encourage and prepare participants to move on to greater successes and independent futures. Delilah is looking forward to the next steps in her life to help her meet her goals, and stated she will always be thankful for her time at Goodwill.

Quote from Delilah:
“Goodwill has provided me a place where I can learn and feel confident.”