Catch up with Goodwill's #GoodwillFaces series
Complicated health issues were blocking Arthur from landing a job, but his determination has never diminished. He had been out of work for more than 10 years and wanted to get his life back on track. That started with finding a living-wage job. Arthur came to Goodwill’s King County Job Training and Education (JTE) Center at the recommendation of his mom, who volunteers at Goodwill. Arthur enrolled in a Goodwill writing and computer class, participated in mock interviews with an employment specialist and received vital support services such as housing assistance and clothing vouchers. Arthur was previously on disability and told my doctors his health problems were so severe he would never be able to go back to work. Between Arthur’s strength and Goodwill’s support, Arthur now works two jobs and is positioning himself to start a family of his own – a dream Arthur once thought was implausible.
“Most of all, Goodwill gave me hope. My health, everything was failing. I literally thought I was going to die before my mother. That is not something I wanted to put her through. No parent wants to see their child go before they do. It was tearing me up inside. I was really in a hopeless situation. I didn’t think my health was going to get better. I didn’t think I was going to have kids, and now I have hope with that. Just Goodwill being there and helping me with my resume and being supportive and saying, ‘You can do this, just keep trying,’ that is mostly what I needed.” – Arthur
Growing up in foster care, Karen endured a rough upbringing. Now she’s determined to help youth who experience similar disadvantaged childhoods. For 30 years, Karen worked as a housekeeper, but in December 2016 she suffered a work-related injury that prevented her from continuing her career. Suddenly, late in life, Karen found herself needing a career change and was connected with Goodwill’s Skagit County Job Training and Education (JTE) Center. Karen married in high school and didn’t finish her education, so she enrolled in Goodwill’s High School Completion program and pursued a Washington state diploma through their High School 21+ option. Through hard work and guidance from Goodwill staff, Karen earned her diploma and is enrolled at Skagit Community College, where she is working to obtain her associate’s degree in human services. Karen is exceling academically and already has her sights set on a bachelor’s degree.
“I grew up in foster care, so I said that I wanted to go into human services. I want to work with foster kids. Goodwill was a big support system for me. I told them what I wanted to do, and they said, ‘You have your head on straight. You just need to get out there and apply yourself.’ Goodwill has been a really big help for me. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this, there is no way.’ I just kept plucking away and studied hard. Never in my right mind did I think I could make it through, because it has been so long that I’ve been out of school, but it’s worked out in a positive way. I graduated on the honor roll with high honor cords.”– Karen
Sukhi use to focus more on her barriers than all she has to offer. Sukhi ended her college education after being told her learning disability prevented her from advancing. Meanwhile, her physical disability caused by Polio worsened. She had a hard time finding work, started a family and had limited time to focus on a career. She had given up hope of becoming a teacher until two years ago when Sukhi’s church connected her to Goodwill. At Goodwill’s Whatcom County Job Training and Education (JTE) Center, Sukhi built confidence. She took nearly all of Goodwill’s classes and received help crafting a resume and applying for jobs. Recently, Sukhi built a local connection and earned a job as a paraeducator at a Bellingham school where she is thrilled to teach and impact young lives with her knowledge. Sukhi speaks Punjabi as well as English and is working toward becoming an interpreter so she can continue helping her community.
“This is my dream come true, teaching. I believe in God, and I think it takes time but you will get there. Before I was, ‘When is it going to be my turn?’ My turn came. I’ve always had people look at my negative things but not my positive. Here, they look at my positive things instead of the negative. My confidence has gone higher. They’ve had my back here and said, ‘Yes, you can do it.’ My confidence was at 50 and now it is 95 percent.” -Sukhi
Community means everything to Amelia. She needed community the most when she lost her mom at 16 years old. Amelia, her dad, grandmother and older brother felt lost. So family, friends and loving community members embraced Amelia. She sees similar parallels in the way Goodwill supports its Job Training and Education (JTE) students. Goodwill provides free job training programs to community members in need and also provides wrap-around services to alleviate life pressures for students so they can focus and excel in the classroom. It’s this approach that drives Amelia’s passion to donate her time to Goodwill. Amelia, Sr. Director of Engagement & Diversity at Avalara, has been a Goodwill board member since 2007. She currently serves as the board’s Vice Chair and has been on Goodwill’s Glitter Gala Advisory Board, Executive Committee and Marketing Committee. She’s volunteered on career-day panels and mock interviews.
“I think of Goodwill as your aunts, uncles and cousins and the community and family many of us have and take for granted. But if you don’t have that because you immigrated to this country or lost your spouse or family member, (Goodwill) can be your family now. When you support Goodwill, you are supporting our community in a way that is tangible and real. It’s an organization that knows how to get results, that has a strong brand and that has proven their results over time.” – Amelia