How Nicole found her purpose

By Staff Blogger LaDonna Seely

Nicole lost her job as a Personal Care Assistant in 2010. The money she earned from a second part-time cleaning job wasn’t enough to pay both her bills and rent. After she and her beloved cat, Rocky, were evicted from their apartment, Nicole was losing hope. She was living out of her van when she met Goodwill-Easter Seals Employment Support Consultant Bill Allexsaht.

Bill learned that Nicole had experience in child care and a desire to attend college, so he encouraged her to enroll in an Early Childhood Education Bridge Class at the Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning.

When the stress of homelessness began taking a toll on her mental health, Bill referred Nicole to our Working Well Mental Health Clinic so she could begin seeing a therapist and social worker. One of our Career Navigators helped Nicole find part-time jobs in childcare and arranged for our Community Resource Assistance Fund to provide gas cards, bus cards, phone minutes and rental of a storage unit, so she could continue to get to school, work and keep her belongings in a safe place. A second Career Navigator helped Nicole enter the FastTRAC Early Childhood Education program at Saint Paul College in 2011.

“My job, I love it,” Nicole says. “I know God put me here to work with kids. That’s my purpose, I know my purpose now. When you think positive, positive will happen. I don’t want to look back. I just want to move forward.”

Nicole will receive her Associate of Arts degree this summer, and she plans to attend Metropolitan State University so she can earn a bachelor’s degree. She now dreams of buying a townhome so she and Rocky will have a place they can call their own.