Brian had tried a variety of community training sites, but was hesitant to look for employment outside of Goodwill. He was fearful of losing the Goodwill support he had become accustomed to and that he counted on. But then finally, the “right opportunity” presented itself. Brian began working at Dave Wright Nissan-Subaru in an internship as a car lot attendant, washing and detailing cars.
Dave Wright was pleased with Brian’s performance and hired him on March 15th, 2016. When Brian started at Dave Wright, he received full-time job coaching support from Goodwill at the job site. He now only receives drop-in visits and has done a great job taking the initiative to complete tasks and to do what needs to be done. If Brian is not detailing a car, you can find him in the parking lot putting gas in vehicles or license plates on cars. Brian goes to work with a positive attitude each day and does a great job of following instructions given by his supervisor.
Brian has overcome several personal barriers including his fears of leaving Goodwill and working in the community. He has found a great working environment at Dave Wright with supportive co-workers. Brian is proud of where he works and loves going to work every day. He is very much a part of the team at Dave Wright and feels accepted for who he is.
Jen was diagnosed with an emotional disability when she was 22 years old. Jen is now 39. Since the time she was diagnosed, Jen has been hospitalized 11 times due to her mental health symptoms. Jen’s last hospitalization was in 2009. She credits therapy, medication, and support for helping her to stay well and out of the hospital.
Jen works very hard every day to stay physically healthy and to control her mental health symptoms so she can maintain a job she loves and keep her apartment in Iowa City. Not only does Jen manage her mental health symptoms, she also exercises daily to help maintain a healthy weight.
Jen’s life is full and busy. She is a life guard and teaches swimming lessons for the City of Iowa City. She also teaches water aerobics twice a week. She volunteers at the Johnson County Crisis Center and the University of Iowa Hospitals once or twice a week. Jen says she likes to give back to a community that has helped her so much.
Jeff is a friendly, tender-hearted, kind man who goes out of his way to help people and never says a bad word about anyone. Counter to his quiet and reserved demeanor, Jeff is the first to give a new activity a try and he also encourages others to do the same.
Jeff overcame a significant personal fear in 2016. He was terrified of swimming. At first during outings to the pool or the beach, Jeff would just observe. He wanted to swim, but was afraid because he had a traumatic experience as a child. As Jeff developed a trusting relationship with his peers and staff, he began taking small steps toward entering the water. Jeff became able to walk on the beach near the water. He became able to sit near the river to fish and he became able to repeatedly enter the swimming pool. Initially he stayed very close to staff for physical and emotional support. Over time he has developed the confidence to move away from staff and spend more time with his peers. He has even tried the wave pool. Jeff is very proud of this achievement.
When Jeff began services with Day Habilitation he routinely brought a sandwich for lunch. Jeff shared that he didn’t know how to cook or how to use the microwave. Jeff also didn’t know how to operate a vacuum or how to do basic cleaning. Over the past year, Jeff has learned to use the microwave and also the stove to cook his own grilled cheese sandwiches. He now assists with cooking activities and is displaying more confidence in his ability to prepare food. Jeff has also learned how to operate small appliances, like a vacuum, and to complete basic cleaning tasks.
Danielle is received Goodwill’s Trainee Achiever of the Year Award because of the immense personal growth that she demonstrated after participating in an eight-week retail training program at Walgreens. Danielle previously had participated in Goodwill’s Prevocational program and experienced numerous challenges with anger, coping and communicating with others.
The Danielle of today is not the Danielle people used to work with. Danielle seems to be a different person all around. She strives for excellence and takes great pride in her work. Danielle is a very friendly individual who is always willing to lend a hand to her co-workers.
Danielle was a star student while participating in the Walgreens program and it was an joy to watch her grow. We are confident as Danielle moves into job development and obtains employment, she will be an asset to any company that welcomes her and gives her the opportunity to shine.
Robert set a goal of obtaining a part-time job in the community to earn income, improve his mental health, and make a positive, meaningful impact on society. Robert wanted a job that he enjoyed and that he could be proud of, and a job that he could maintain with accommodations for his mental and physical barriers, including chronic pain.
A Workplace Readiness Assessment helped Robert determine he could perform the retail job duties at Goodwill and that he enjoyed the work. The assessment also allowed the Coralville store manager to see first-hand Robert’s work ethic and that he could be successful with just a few accommodations.
While Robert did well during the assessment, the store was not hiring at that time. Robert demonstrated his commitment to getting a job at Goodwill by working on a Goodwill janitorial contract until the Coralville store opened a Retail Associate position.
Robert applied and was hired. Overcoming transportation challenges, cycling mental health symptoms and chronic leg and back pain, Robert continued to persevere and thrive in his role at the Coralville Goodwill Store. Robert’s one year work anniversary was March 21st of this year.
After being hired by the Coralville Goodwill Store, Robert moved from a trailer with holes in the floor in West Branch to an apartment in Iowa City, also a major accomplishment on his journey to greater independence.
Robert is a loyal, dedicated, hard-working individual who has put in a tremendous amount of effort and persistence to be where he is today.