Samantha Knows a Song will Move the Job Along

By Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Samantha is quickly approaching her 6-year anniversary of working at Goodwill, and looking back, it’s easy for her to see how much the job has impacted her life.

She was hired on at Goodwill on Nov. 13, 2006, and currently works with supervisor Bonnie Slattery in the clothing rack department at the Duluth store. She helps to sort clothing by size and category, along with pricing and preparing it for sale.

She says the job has definitely helped her to become more outgoing.

“Before I started working here, I didn’t have many friends and I was shy, stuck in my shell,” said Samantha, 26. “When I started working in the rack department, though, Bonnie got me out of my shell a little bit. So without her I’d still be shy, not a lot of friends, not able to try anything.”

After graduating from Northwestern High in Maple, Wisconsin, Samantha, who has attention deficit disorder, had trouble finding the right job.

“I applied for a dozen jobs right after I graduated,” she said. “Every single one of them turned me down.”

She worked at the Animal Rescue Federation (now Animal Allies) in Superior, but found that she wasn’t getting enough hours. Next she tried hotel housekeeping, but the job wasn’t a good fit.

Finally, she landed at Goodwill through a referral from the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She trained in various areas before finding the right job in the rack department. Not only does she enjoy the work, but the acoustics of the area make it a perfect place for her favorite pastime, singing.

“The way it is down here, the building design, I can get my voice perfect,” she says.

Samantha knows that singing a song can brighten up any day and make any job more enjoyable, and she occasionally shares her musical talents with her co-workers.

In her free time, she also enjoys writing lyrics to her own original songs.

“I love music, I love singing,” Samantha says, adding that music provides her with a great outlet for her emotions.

“I get to express how I’m feeling. I sing what’s true, what’s happened. Sometimes when I sing a sad song, I try to put emotion to it, like I’m about to cry.”

Her favorite song at the moment is “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” by country artist LeAnn Rimes.

She also enjoys reading classic literature, such as stories about King Arthur.

Gaining Self-Confidence at Goodwill

by Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Goodwill’s job training services for people with barriers to employment provide them with the job skills they need to succeed. But even more importantly, Goodwill’s programs give a brand-new sense of confidence to people like Jenny.

Jenny, 21, has worked at Goodwill for about two years. She got involved with Goodwill through the Department of Workforce Development after graduating from Superior High School.

“I was kind of interested in something that I could do,” Jenny said. “I tried it out.”

Jenny has thrived in many different areas of work at Goodwill’s main facility, including the sorting belt and the store. Her main work area right now is the rack department, where she sorts and categories clothing to be placed on sale in the store.

She enjoys her co-workers at Goodwill.

“I like the friends that I’ve made,” Jenny said.

Not only has Jenny met new people and gained valuable job skills; working at Goodwill has also given her new self-worth and pride in herself.

“I think it’s helped a lot with my confidence,” Jenny says. “I used to have low self-esteem and be really shy.”

Goodwill staff members have taken notice of Jenny’s hard work and increased confidence. At the 2012 Awards Luncheon, Jenny was honored with an achievement award for: “Increased assertiveness, a positive and friendly attitude, and dependability in both the rack and presort departments.”

Though she enjoys working at Goodwill, Jenny’s dream job would be to become a writer. In her free time, she loves to read and write stories. She also enjoys ice skating and traveling. One of her favorite recent trips was a vacation to Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has also been to Montana and Washington, D.C.

Jenny lives with her parents and has 20-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jeff. Josh works at Goodwill in the mattress department.