Charles has always been a hard worker, with many of his years spent within the secure embrace of the Goodwill Store. In 2009, Charles decided to step out of his comfort zone and try some community work. He started washing dishes at Carlos O’Kellys Mexican Restaurant. This was an important stepping stone and it helped to build his confidence.
In early 2014, Charles made a decision to leave the Goodwill Store and accepted a second community job washing dishes at Pizza Ranch. Then in August 2014, Charles was doing so well at the Pizza Ranch that he was offered more hours. He ultimately decided to leave his job at Carlos O’Kelly’s which allowed him to consolidate all his work hours at one location.
Charles worked with a job coach for many years, but as Charles became more independent, his need for job coaching was less and less. In December 2015, Charles, his team and his employer decided that Charles no longer needed supported employment. After 33 years as a Goodwill client, Charles left Goodwill services.
We recognize David for the success he’s achieved through the Drug Treatment Court Program over the past year. During this time David has made tremendous strides on his vocational goals. I think it’s also worth repeating that he has been clean and sober since March of 2013.
David is successfully maintaining community employment. He has also set educational goals for himself including going back to college so that he can get a degree and help others in similar situations. David continues to be a mentor and resource for other people in the Drug Court Program, sharing with them that if they are open to available resources, there is nothing that they can’t accomplish. And for David himself, the future is very bright.
Debra has overcome serious health challenges this past year by working with Goodwill’s SCL Team. In 2014, Deb was employed full-time at a daycare and did not make time for her health or doctor’s appointments. Her physical well-being started to decline rapidly and her blood pressure and blood sugars were out of control.
Deb was at risk of losing her job due to frequent missed work for health issues. She’s a hard worker and was working at least 40 hours a week at the day care in spite of her doctor’s recommendation to cut back and take better care of herself. She eventually followed her doctor’s advice and resigned from the day care.
Deb was denied disability benefits, but did find a part time job and is surviving today on her more limited income. She is now eating healthier and exercises by walking. Her blood pressure has decreased dramatically. Deb remains focused on her goals to improve her health and overall well-being, including educational pursuits.
Deb was previously reluctant to accept help from others when she needed it, but she now knows that it’s ok to ask for and to receive assistance. Deb is also becoming more independent by learning and practicing organizational skills related to maintaining her home and by keeping track of her schedule including medical appointments.
Over the past few years, Kalvin overcame his anxiety about moving out of his parent’s home. He is now living a healthier and more independent lifestyle and is more proactively addressing his mental health needs.
While there was an adjustment period after he moved, Kalvin has done wonderfully in his new home environment and at SKILLS. He has made friends with his peers in the program and independently contacts them outside of SKILLS and follows through on plans to get together with them for conversation and activities.
Kalvin previously lost residential placement opportunities because he didn’t feel he could move out of his parent’s home and because he was not able to leave his house to participate in community activities due to his anxiety. Kalvin was fearful to try anything new. Today Kalvin has overcome his fears and consistently reports for programming. This is huge progress for Kalvin.
After realizing that dreams do not just happen overnight, Marcus slowly made changes to reshape his life. Marcus had a history of failing to follow through on steps to which he had agreed, and he eventually left Goodwill services. He later returned explaining that he was ready and committed to start again.
Marcus was hired as a seasonal employee in Lawn and Garden at Home Depot in the Quad Cities. He worked hard to learn his new routine and regardless of the heat, humidity, sun and physical demands of the garden center, he invested effort in the job and at the end of the season, earned a permanent spot at Home Depot.
Marcus continues his work at Home Depot while also planning to take a class or two at the local community college. This will allow him to move ahead with other life goals. He has taken the initiative to talk with his supervisors at Home Depot about his plans, and they indicate they would be flexible as needed with his hours.