Bonny has had to overcome employment challenges because of her limited reading and writing abilities. After several other jobs that just weren’t quite the right fit, Bonny was hired by the Coralville Goodwill store in 2015 as a Retail Associate. She was determined to achieve workplace success. She takes her job very seriously and consistently strives to improve her job performance. Bonny has come a long way over the past three years increasing both her job skills and confidence.
Bonny has had to manage health issues too. A diagnosis of celiac disease meant it was imperative for Bonny to change her diet and follow the many food restrictions to a T. She is doing so successfully. Bonny has worked hard over the years to support herself, to take care of her family, to start saving for the future and to contribute to the community.
Bonny is now the mother of a high school graduate and that son is currently enrolled at Kirkwood Community College. Bonny is proud of his accomplishments.
Lon Gilbert was an honorably discharged Army Veteran working as a welder when his life changed significantly. On February 27, 2014, at the age of 33, Lon suffered a stroke that left him with extreme difficulty in understanding language and communicating verbally. Since then, Lon has worked hard with his speech pathologist to regain some of his language skills and with Community NeuroRehab of Iowa to rebuild his independence with basic living skills.
Community NeuroRehab helped Lon apply for a job as an usher at Coral Ridge Cinema in December of 2016 and sought job coaching for Lon from Goodwill. Lon started out needing job coaching throughout his shifts at the theater. His coaches had to show him the tasks and describe things slowly so he could understand the instructions. Lon immediately showed he was a detail-oriented worker, not only by thoroughly completing his usher duties, but by taking photos of any maintenance issues that he noted. With the support of his job coach, Lon relayed those issues to theater management.
As Lon continued to be successful in his theater job, his job coaching faded. Lon currently works 16.5 hours per week during the busy weekend times. The manager also gave Lon a monthly 8-hour shift where he performs maintenance duties throughout the theater because he has proven to be a strong problem solver and handyman. Lon is also willing to pick up extra shifts at the movie theater and took on extra work at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the busiest times of the year.
Ultimately Lon would like to get back into welding. He recently attended a welding class. The instructor determined that Lon’s skills are great, gave him a letter of recommendation and said Lon did not even need to finish the class. Lon is currently working with Goodwill staff to search for welding positions. Lon says that when he gets back into welding, he wants to keep his monthly maintenance shift at the theater because that is largely where he regained his confidence and independence.
Jenny has overcome several traumatic experiences this past year while still maintaining her emotional health, physical well-being and independence throughout.
Jenny has been able to develop a budget and stick to it. This is a real improvement over when she first started with our SCL program and was living off credit cards. She now puts away money every month for specific purchases and has an emergency fund. Jenny was also able to obtain a bank loan so she could pay off her past credit card debt at a lower interest rate.
Jenny had a seeing eye dog named Coal, but had to make the difficult decision to give the dog up because they weren’t a good match for each other. After finding a new home for Coal, Jenny has started the long process to get a new service dog.
In December, Jenny lost her mother, who was a big support to her. When Jenny was ready to return to work after using her leave, she learned her position at work had been cut. Jenny has done a good job of handling these difficult experiences while maintaining herself emotionally.
Jenny has made so many improvements over the past few years which have allowed her to take the stresses of life and the losses she has encountered in stride while still maintaining her independence. It has helped too that she has made friends through her church and is building a natural support network.
Jenny has demonstrated such a positive attitude even through all of the recent challenges that have come her way.
James has been attending Day Hab since the program began in the Quad Cities. James has increased his socialization skills tremendously over the last five years, as well as his level of responsibility. James has gone from not interacting with his peers to interacting with a few peers to interacting appropriately with all the individuals who attend Day Hab. James is now sought out by his peers as a friend that others want to be around.
While at Day Hab, James exhibits a great attitude and is always willing to assist with whatever needs to be done. He sets a great example for others in the program. James is always aware of his personal goals and shows excitement when he knows he’s made improvements. He takes great pride in his accomplishments.
James lost his mother this past year. He’s dealt with this loss with a great level of composure. James has independently sought out aid when feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Although James had this personal tragedy take place, he recognized the importance of continuing to work his job at a local pharmacy and to regularly attend Day Hab.
Seeing the growth in James is exciting for our Day Hab team. His progress makes others believe in what they can accomplish if they focus and try.
Anthony became involved with Goodwill services in April 2017 after a referral from the Linn County Drug Treatment Program. Anthony had many entry-level positions over the years, including work at fast food restaurants, convenience stores and hands-on work in flooring, asbestos removal and screen printing.
After starting in Goodwill Contracts operations, there were periods of ups and downs for Anthony as he worked with the team, but he remained motivated. Anthony began to seriously apply the new skills he was learning and he showed more focus in his work. Anthony completed the Fork Lift Certification Course offered by Goodwill to enhance his skill set. As his time in Contracts was nearing conclusion, Anthony applied for several jobs. He eventually got an interview and was hired by ReVosWel making trusses. Anthony remains there today where he enjoys both the work he is doing and the pay that comes from it.
While learning how to be successful in the work environment, Anthony continued to overcome his long history of substance abuse. Anthony began using illegal substances when he was only 12 years old and the habit controlled his life for many years and prevented him from maintaining employment. Anthony has been clean and sober since December 19th, 2016. Anthony participated in the Linn County Drug Treatment Program where he attended treatment sessions and followed through on the rules, expectations and accountability required of the program.
Anthony also followed through on the commitment he made to participation in Goodwill services which helped him to make positive changes in his life. Today, Anthony is focusing on finding healthy ways to deal with the stresses of everyday life. Upon his graduation from the Linn County Drug Treatment Program, Anthony will benefit from the removal of the charges from his record which will offer him a clean slate to move forward with his life.