I’ve been determined for a long time. It’s something my mom instilled in me when I was just a little girl. I was born with extreme hearing loss in my left ear and limited hearing in my right ear. Because of that I grew up being told “you can’t.” I was told that because of my disability, there was a lot I couldn’t do. My mom, however, drilled the opposite message into my head.
I was introduced to Goodwill of North Georgia when I entered the Projects With Industries program. The program identified job and career opportunities for people with disabilities and trained them for the positions. Once the program’s graduates were placed in a position, job coaches provided support to make sure they were successful on the job. After I finished the program, my first career opportunity was here at Goodwill. I was hired as a Projects With Industries job coach. Now I’m an employment specialist for youth in Goodwill’s “Youth Employment Services” program. After being on the receiving end of coaching for so long, I feel like I’ve come full circle. As an employment specialist for Youth Employment Services program, I work with youth ages 16-24 to get them prepared for the workforce.
My job allows me to make a difference in the lives of others and it’s also making a difference in my life. Helping people with disabilities and other challenges go from unemployed to successfully employed makes me feel really good about myself. It’s like waking up on a Christmas morning. Challenges and discouragements have all been a part of my past. But now, my story is one of hope, encouragement and triumph.