Hello! My name is Jerrica and I work in our Prevocational Services Dept. I help guide and support our program participants in learning and obtaining job skills necessary to prepare for successful and competitive employment. My favorite part about my job is being able to help our program participants find their strengths and watch them grow once they also see what they are capable of.
If you have 3 adjectives to describe yourself what would they be?
I would say I am passionate, positive and enthusiastic about what I do.
“Since Josh has been with us he has made huge strides even within the past year. He has come a long way being able to control the way he communicates to people”. Josh has become more productive in his work since he has been with Goodwill,” says Molly, skills trainer to Josh, looking over to him with pride.
One of the challenges that Josh faced in a job was communicating clearly with co-workers and customers. When Josh first started in the Pre-Vocational program he would allow for certain situations to affect his mood. Molly has been working on coping skills with Josh to help with mood swings. These skills have helped Josh become more productive and happier with his work.
Josh loves to work in the store helping customers and producing wares. Josh is proud that he has become successful with Goodwill. Josh has made significant progress going through the program and is currently still working on goals that he wants to achieve which includes working out in the community.
Joey has witnessed crime first hand. She worked in the court system and has had to deal with people coming in and out of the court system. Joey knew that her life was not going to get any better living around this crime, so she made a decision. A decision that she knew would be hard but had to be done for the good of her son. With her son she moved to Spearfish in search of a better life.
About a year and a half ago Joey tragically suffered from a head injury that caused short-term memory damage. Joey knew that during this difficult time she needed help and support. She moved to Sioux Falls where a friend helped her adjust back to normal life.
Joey was referred to Goodwill’s Pre-Vocational Program to learn how to get back into the job setting. It has been hard for Joey to learn how to do her job and McKenna, Program Manager in Sioux Falls, encouraged Joey to keep trying and learning even when it is difficult. Joey said, “I have had a hard time getting adjusted, but I know who to go to for help. The physical part of the job has been difficult for me, but I am thankful for the encouraging words from Goodwill staff.”
Our Pre-Vocational Program at Goodwill helps train individuals with disabilities and mental illness. Pre-Vocational services are available for up to two years to support additional soft skill development with a goal to become work ready. When you make a monetary donation, donate your goods, or shop in our retail stores you are helping people like Joey work towards becoming work ready.
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.
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.