Leticia always wanted a college degree and enrolled right after high school graduation. She began classes but then her life took a big turn; she discovered she was pregnant. She dropped out of school, but told herself it was only temporary. One day she and her husband would have enough money so she could stop working, go to school and finish what she started.
That was over ten years ago.
It seemed every time they got a little ahead, something would happen to set them back. She and her husband struggled to pay bills and raise their 4 children even though they have full time jobs. Through it all, she still held on to her dream of being able to provide more for herself, and her family. She knew she’d need an education to do it. But, wasn’t sure how to make it happen.
She eventually found herself at Goodwill. During new hire orientation, she heard about the GoodPartner Coach program (a free life coach offered to all Goodwill Manasota Team Members). She listened as the speaker told the group that employees are encouraged to work with their coaches on various goals. =
One of the questions asked during when Leticia first met with her coach was, “if you could go to school what classes would you want to take?” Without hesitation, Leticia responded, “culinary arts.” She said she loved to cook and even thought about one day having her own restaurant. Her coach wanted to know why she hadn’t done it. Leticia explained that she thought about it often, but knew school would cost too much and she still needed to work. Her coach asked if she would go to school if the barriers were gone. Leticia quickly answered, “Yes!”
Within a few days, Leticia’s coach was back with lots of information. She gave her a list of websites about scholarships and the school website where she learned classes ended early enough that she could work part time. Her coach was glad to hear she already talked to her husband and had agreed they could manage as long as she still worked part time. Leticia’s coach also encouraged her to discuss her plans with her manager, which she did. Leticia was relieved to report back that her manager was glad to hear she wanted to better herself and promised to work with her regarding her schedule so she could attain her goal. Lastly, Leticia’s coach told her about the Goodwill program called Credentials to Careers that included a case manager who teaches prospective students a course about going to school called College 101 (CC101), and then works with them until they attain their goal. Leticia was excited. She was starting to feel going to school was not impossible. However, there was still the issue of how to pay for it. Leticia’s coach told her not to worry, there are resources out there. They just need to be found.
Recently, Leticia got a phone call from her coach saying that the school where Leticia wants to go is offering an express culinary class that is the foundation for the full program. Best of all, most of the tuition will likely be covered. Also, because she took the CC101 course, she is now eligible for some financial assistance that will pay the rest. Leticia couldn’t believe her luck! She and her coach went back to the school’s website and completed the enrollment application. Afterwards, her coach asked what this means to her. Leticia told her this opportunity means a better job which is great. “However,” she said, “the most important reason I want to do this is to prove a point to my children.” She’s proud of how far she’s come and says she’s never hidden her past from her children. She says she wants them to see that no matter what your life has been like in the past, if you want to make a change you can do it!