For individuals seeking self-sufficiency through the power of work, Goodwill has long been an organization to provide resources and hope. Inspiration for those seeking improvement in their life comes from a variety of sources. For one Valley mother, that inspiration has come from her daughter.
Estrella Lopez was first referred to Goodwill of Central Arizona in 2001 by Home Base Youth Services. After working with a counselor in Goodwill’s Youth Program, Lopez eventually lost touch with Goodwill. During that time, the 18-year old Phoenix resident was lost personally and professionally and couldn’t hold a steady job.
Several years passed and Lopez became very depressed that she was unable to provide for herself with a good job. It wasn’t until 2003 with the birth of her daughter that Lopez made the final decision to commit to a path of self-sufficiency.
“I had nothing to call my own except for my daughter. I had forgotten who I was and my potential.” said Lopez. “If I hadn’t gone back to Goodwill, I don’t know where I’d be.”
With her mind made up to become more economically independent and get off of welfare, Lopez only needed the resources to do so. Goodwill provided those resources through its Computer and Customer Service Training (CCST) course, where Lopez learned competitive computer skills including the Microsoft Office Suite software, networking, building a resume, and typing skills, as well as training to help be successful in the interview process.
“There was not one thing that I learned during the class that I didn’t apply in my job search,” said Lopez.
After completing the course, Lopez attended a job fair hosted by Goodwill in Glendale, Arizona. Goodwill provided Lopez with resources such as bus passes to attend interviews as well as clothing vouchers to their stores to dress in proper business attire.
“I went to the Maximus booth and gave them my resume,” said Lopez. “Because I had prior management experience I got the job.”
At 26, Estrella Lopez currently works for Maximus at the Arizona Department of Economic Security as a counselor and case manager. For almost a year, Lopez has helped people like herself find ways to overcome barriers to employment. Her goal is to someday be promoted to a supervisor position. She continues to credit Goodwill for helping her find a stable career, and giving her the ability to care for herself and her daughter who is now four years old.
Lopez occasionally goes back to the CCST class to recruit for Maximus and tell her story of success.
“It’s amazing the doors that have opened,” commented Lopez. “I really contribute my success to Goodwill and the counselors there.”