How This OC Non-Profit Is Changing People’s Lives

Imagine a workplace free from employment discrimination; a place that hires anyone who wants to find and keep a job regardless of their mental health diagnosis, developmental disability or criminal record. Imagine a community that dismantles these barriers by accommodating every worker’s unique need, permitting them to work and live with a newfound autonomy and dignity. That place exists in our own backyard—Goodwill of Orange County, a non-profit organization founded in 1924 that’s dedicated to changing people’s lives. Here are five individuals’ testimonials that depict how Goodwill has enriched their lives. Orange County Community

 

1 | Debra Orange County Community

Facing addiction, homelessness and trouble with the law, Debra was, by her own admission, lost. “I was a bad girl,” she says between laughs. Then came Goodwill’s Employment WORKS program, which provides adults living with mental health diagnoses individualized job placement and job retention services. Today, Debra has a fulfilling career in e-commerce and a work family who cheers her on every day. “I think I’m a better person now. I found a purpose in life,” she says.

 

2 | Salvador

“Confident and worthy of a second chance at life” is how Salvador describes himself and his circumstance today. Salvador’s manager saw beyond his past in the justice system and hired him after Orange County’s Young Adult Court referred him to Goodwill’s Young Adult Life Launch (YALL) program. YALL provides local youth like Salvador an opportunity to grow and thrive, starting with finding a job. It also provides free employment and education training, paid work experience, job placement support and other services as needed, including housing, transportation, clothing and legal assistance. Today, Salvador is an e-commerce clerk for www.shopgoodwill.com and is a shining example to his siblings.

 

3 | Carter

Despite his developmental disabilities, Carter shows up to his job at Chick-fil-A with a contagious smile. Carter was hired with the help of Goodwill’s Employment First program, which increases career opportunities for individuals living with disabilities to work as independently as possible in places of their choosing. With the support of a job coach that provides door-to-door transportation, Carter has thrived at Chick-fil-A for the past four years.

4 | Jose Orange County Community

Even after a hiking accident changed the course of his life, Jose never stopped dreaming. Goodwill’s Assistive Technology Exchange Center, or ATEC, evaluated Jose’s abilities and provided him with assistive technology to help him complete his schoolwork at California State University, Fullerton, including speech-recognition software that helps him turn out papers in a third of the time. ATEC empowers individuals with disabilities like Jose by increasing their independence and functional capabilities at school, home or work by equipping them with technology suited to their needs. With the help of ATEC, Jose is on track to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s in psychology before moving onto pursuing a master’s degree. His current dream: becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. “I’m not able to help people physically, but if I can help them emotionally, I think that would be very rewarding.”

 

5 | Noemi

Noemi earned her first job with the help of Goodwill’s Deaf and Independent Living Services. As a result, she’s been working at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base’s dining facility for more than a year. Noemi hasn’t only learned valuable professional skills from Goodwill, however, as she’s also also gained a support system. Beth Hostetler, deaf services supervisor at Goodwill, encourages Noemi and others who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing throughout their job search process—and has done so for over 35 years.

 

To learn more about Goodwill of Orange County’s programs and opportunities, visit www.ocgoodwill.org/programs.

 

Goodwill of Orange County
410 N Fairview St
Santa Ana, CA 92703
714.547.6308

Photography Provided By: Goodwill of Orange County/Brocoff Photography

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