Megan grew up in Virginia. At an early age, a doctor diagnosed her with a form of autism known as Asperger’s syndrome. She could learn and she could complete tasks on her own but it sometimes it took her longer than it might take someone else. Megan experienced anxiety and had panic attacks when she was in tight spaces or heard loud noises. She also found school to be very challenging – not because the work was too hard but because other children bullied her from elementary school all the way through high school.
Last summer, Megan’s mom got a job opportunity in Manatee County that came with better benefits and better pay. She accepted the offer and the family moved to Florida. Now it was time for Megan to go find her first job. Finding employment was difficult because Megan got nervous and did not always interview well. She decided to apply at Goodwill and was ecstatic when she got a job offer!
Megan was nervous about her new job. She was afraid that it might be like school and she might not fit in.
As it turned out, Megan’s experience was much better than she expected. Megan says she has “met a lot of really great people here who have helped me.”
One member of the leadership team has really taken Megan under her wing. “She knows when I am overwhelmed or get upset. She has helped me overcome a lot,” Megan said. “When my anxiety flares up, she says that I need to step aside and take a few minutes to calm down. It really helps. She has taught me one thing and that is to believe in myself. She never doubts me at all.”
Megan was beginning to feel right at home at her store. Then her GoodPartner Coach spoke with her about the Role Model Worker program. The coach explained that the first step was a reading assessment. Megan was skeptical that she would pass the assessment because tests made her feel anxious. Her coach administered the assessment and, just as Megan predicted, she did not do well. She was afraid that she had lost her chance to become a Certified Role Model Worker.
Megan’s coach explained that she knew Megan was going to succeed in this program. She understood that Megan felt anxious the first time she took the reading test. The coach said that she could try again in a few months to see if her reading score would improve. Time went by quickly and, before she knew it, her coach was back to test her again. This time, Megan was not so nervous. To her surprise, she passed with flying colors. Now she was ready to pursue becoming a certified Role Model Worker.
Megan took some more assessments, along with online classes, and completed the program earlier this month. As soon as she celebrates her six-month anniversary at Goodwill and as long as she continues to display good employability skills, she will earn her gold badge. Megan’s teammates tell her they know she can do it!
Megan says she has gained a lot since coming to Goodwill. She says she is open-minded about trying new things, more confident about her skills, and not as shy as she was in school. She knows she is helpful when she welcomes new team members because she remembers how starting a new job felt to her.
Now Megan has some new goals. She wants to become a Certified Role Model Worker. She also wants to save money to go to college so she can become a veterinary technician.
Megan says she is thankful to Goodwill for giving her a chance and the confidence she needed to believe in herself. She says she got much more than a job when she came to Goodwill – she also got a team that encouraged her to prove to herself what she is capable of doing. It’s what we do …