#MissionMonday - Mary

Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.

Mary has had an eventful two years since she got a job assisting on the sales floor at Goodwill. She went from speaking very little English to speaking well enough to carry on conversations with her co-workers and store customers. Mary was on leave recently for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic but she made very productive use of her time. While she was home, she spent her free time studying for her citizenship test.


When Mary first came to Goodwill, she met Diana, a bilingual GoodPartner Coach who could speak to Mary in Spanish. Diana encouraged Mary to work on her English skills and to practice those skills as much as possible in the workplace. However, Mary found English a difficult language to learn. She would often ask coworkers to translate when a customer had a question. She usually sat alone during breaks and avoided situations where she would need to communicate in English with others.


Diana noticed that Mary seemed sleepy much of the time and sometimes had a hard time focusing on her work. Mary’s supervisor had noticed as well. Her supervisor was concerned that perhaps Mary was not going to be a good fit for the sales floor.


Diana sat down with Mary to discuss her personal development plan. At first, Mary was reluctant to talk about herself. However, Diana put her at ease and Mary eventually shared that the medicine her doctor prescribed for her made her drowsy. Diana suggested she ask her doctor if she could take her medicine at night instead of in the morning. Diana also suggested that Mary try interacting with others more, even if it was just a smile and a hello. These simple gestures would make her seem more friendly, which is essential for workers who deal with customers. Mary promised to do both. She liked her job very much and was willing to take Diana’s advice if it meant keeping her job.


Mary’s doctor approved her request and, as Diana suspected, switching the time she took her medicine made a big difference. Mary now slept all night and was alert all day. She also did as Diana suggested and started interacting with customers by simply smiling and saying, “Hi!” as she passed them on the sales floor. Every day her confidence grew as customers smiled back and replied to her greeting.


Everyone noticed the difference in Mary. Her supervisor was no longer concerned that she might not be able to perform her job. Her coworkers found her more approachable and soon she was sitting with Spanish and English-speaking coworkers during breaks and becoming more comfortable about conversing in English. Diana continued to encourage Mary and would frequently ask her questions in English to prepare her for the citizenship test. After work, Mary listened to English-speaking radio stations and studied for the exam.


The day finally came. After all of her studying – along with the support from Diana, her supervisor and coworkers – Mary’s hard work paid off. She was recently sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Mary says that none of these things would have been possible without the help of her GoodPartner Coach and her new family at Goodwill. She is glad that she had the support she needed to attain such a significant goal in her life! It’s what we do …