Goodwill Faces: Shak, Anja, J.C., & Asia

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
November 29, 2016

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series! 

#GoodwillFaces - ShakShak moved from Hawaii to Seattle a year-and-a-half ago out of necessity, with no means of income. One of his three daughters needed a kidney transplant and had to be close to Seattle Children’s. Living out of a car for a year-and-a-half while his family stayed in Ronald McDonald Program housing, Shak discovered Goodwill’s free Job Training and Education Programs. He completed the Industrial Vehicles Training Program, among others, earned his Commercial Driver’s License, is now employed full time and is looking forward to moving into a place with his family soon, since his daughter recently received her new kidney.

“When I was in the van, I could see my kids at the park. There was a big park outside, and I would just come and see them at the park. But while I was in the van, I was like, ‘I need to do something.’ That’s when I went to the library, got a library card, and that is when I went online and I saw Goodwill and the programs they offered. It’s helped me to be self-sufficient, and it helps me to provide for my family, and it also keeps me busy. It’s hard to even just maintain a positive attitude, your daughter waiting for a kidney and living in a van. I’m not use to this weather, so I’m still getting accustomed to this rain. Being able to have (learned) a lot of the programs, man it helps a whole lot. Not only do you get job training, but you get more personal things that you can hang onto for a lifetime. The main thing, at least where I come from, the man should provide for the family. Not saying the lady can’t, but with the CDL, I can definitely provide more than If I wasn’t driving, and so it’s a blessing in every way.”


#GoodwillFaces - AnjaAnja found herself confined to her new home after leaving life behind in Germany in order to move with her husband and kids to Bremerton. She had no friends, no job and began experiencing depression. Anja sought help, she wanted to work and was directed to Seattle Goodwill where she took classes and earned her GED. Anja now works at Goodwill’s Silverdale location as Retail Supervisor following several job promotions.

“It was a little bit from everything, probably—no family here, not really friends. The first two years were hard. I got bored at home. I gained a ton of weight. Then I started this therapy group. I met a lot of people. I just kind of found my way through all this. The therapy, it helped. It helped going out, and it helped a lot being in this class. I liked being a material handler, too. It was like I was needed. The money you make, I mean it’s nice to have all these extra things. I could take my kids to places now and you don’t have to think about every dime we spend. It was nice to help support a family. I’m much more positive now. (Goodwill) helped me get out of my depression, helped me get a new start, feeling more confident in myself. Goodwill itself, working here, it’s fun. We have a great team. It’s fun to work for a company like that, that does such great things. There were people in my class that literally came from the street, and it feels good when they find a job. It feels good being a part of that and that is one of the main things that keeps me here. I like what we do and what we are doing it for.”


#GoodwillFaces - J.C. J.C.’s family has always had close connections to nonprofit and human service-type work. His mom recently retired as the CFO of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and his dad worked for the Urban League and other nonprofits. His aunt, Peggy Maxie, was the first black woman to be elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. J.C., though, spent 30 years working at for profit companies before discovering Seattle Goodwill. J.C. was between jobs and his family was encouraging him to look into nonprofit work when a friend alerted him to Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Programs. J.C. got hired on as an instructor and after teaching the retail and customer service course, he now serves as Goodwill’s Employer Liaison Manager, forging strong relationships with employers from Goodwill’s sector programs. He’s impacted countless lives through the work he’s done with Goodwill’s JTE students.

“Once you’re involved with (the students), it’s just like they love you to death, forever. Literally, I might not see a person for a year or something and I’ll see them and they’re like, ‘Oh, J.C.,’ and they know everything and are like, ‘How’s the wife and kids,’ It’s just so cool… I had a retail student who graduated from the program, just kind of middle of the road. She had a lot of anxiety and angst to speak publicly, but we kind of got her through it. She had never had a job before. The last week (of the program) we really focused on completing a lot of job applications and sending them out. She got three job offers. She was like, ‘I’ve never even had a job. Now I have three job offers,’ and so we asked her to come back, and I think we gave her an award at the graduation. But what I didn’t even know until the graduation was she said, ‘Part of my problem was people always telling me I couldn’t do it.’ And she said, ‘I have a learning disability,’ and I don’t know what it was because I never noticed it. She always just seemed a little shy, but she said for the first time in my life—she was probably 26—she said you guys really made me believe that I could do it. And she’s been working ever since. It’s that kind of stuff. It’s super cool.” -J.C.


#GoodwillFaces - AsiaAsia, a Seattle Goodwill Youth Aerospace Program student, spent her early youth in California before moving to the Philippines for high school. Asia moved back to the U.S. after high school and was directed to Goodwill’s YAP, where she’s underwent a major personal transformation while discovering a promising career path.

“I am kind of the home kid, because I don’t really explore a lot outside. I’m like the quiet kid who just sits up front and listens. Once I made friends thesecond day, that’s when everybody clicked. Once we made some friends, we became a whole family. I think the whole experience that I’ve had here has really changed all of us. At first we were all just kids that came from everywhere and didn’t know anyone. It changed me a lot. I was that kid who always locked up and ever wanted to show my true me. My mom sees it; I’m out going more. This program is just changing all of us from teenagers to becoming real adults.” - Asia


Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.

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