The year 2012 was a particularly trying time for Rochelle. During a two-month period, her life took a complete downward turn – she was laid off from her job of 17 years, evicted from her home, newly separated from her husband and trying to figure out how to raise four young children as an unemployed, homeless single mother. For several months, Rochelle bounced around from home to home of various friends and family members trying to get her life back on track. Despite her troubling circumstances, Rochelle took this opportunity to show her children how to make light out of a very dark situation.
“I wanted my kids to see me struggle, but not stay there,” she said. “I wanted them to see me overcome my obstacles.”
Rochelle was soon accepted into a housing program that would keep her and her children off the streets. However, in order to stay in the program, she had to find work within two weeks. She applied for many jobs with no avail and was starting to lose hope.
That all changed one day when Rochelle saw a woman wearing a Goodwill shirt out in the community and asked if she worked for Goodwill and knew of any job openings. The woman gave Rochelle her supervisor’s information, to whom Rochelle reached out that day. The supervisor granted Rochelle an interview, and then Rochelle was hired shortly after as an Attended Donation Center attendant, a position she still proudly holds today. Rochelle is the bright, smiling face that donors get to see every day, which makes both them, and herself, very happy.
“I love my customers,” she said. “I also love the people I work for. All around, you couldn’t ask for a better group of people.”
Not only has Rochelle gained a family in her colleagues and donors, but her newfound career has afforded her both the hours and salary to pay her bills and provide for her family.
“I’ve been working for Goodwill for 4 years now, and I’m already making almost as much as I was making at my job of 17 years,” Rochelle said.
Nearly five years after Rochelle’s life took a downward spiral, things are improving, steady and hopeful. As part of the housing program she originally joined, Rochelle took financial courses, learned how to budget appropriately and secured a credit card to improve her credit score. After completing the first housing program, Rochelle joined a different housing program to work towards home ownership, and about a year ago, Rochelle’s dream of becoming a homeowner came true. She has also been able to set money aside in savings just in case unfortunate circumstances come her way again.
“I know what it feels like to lose everything then slowly get it back,” Rochelle said. “I didn’t let anything get in my way because I was determined to accomplish this. I wanted my kids to see me get up and succeed.”
Rochelle is on the path to achieving her short-term goals as well as setting a list of long-term goals for herself in the future. Today, she is looking forward to the possibilities that lie ahead of her.
“I’ve learned so much from this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Now, my main goal is providing the stability my kids need to get ready for life. I’m happy I can give them that stability now.”