Participant of the Year, “Never say never.”

“Never say never. Set your mind and go after what you want,” is Helen’s motto. It has served her well. Abandoned at three months old, shot in the head as a teen, then abused by a husband for years, Helen is the epitome of a survivor. Seeking a fresh start and self-sufficiency, she found her way to Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota. Through our various employment readiness services and programs, Helen found her voice. She enthusiastically and diligently worked on her communication and confidence, even though she suffers from a traumatic brain injury, aphasia and depression.

“With Goodwill-Easter Seals, I learned not to let your disability get in the way of your future, of your dreams,” Helen said.

She expanded her capabilities and experience assisting the building maintenance crew and training in one of our retail stores.

“I got a chance to work in retail and painting, which I had never done before,” Helen said. “I was able to do a lot of things at Goodwill that I thought I wasn’t able to do. But that shows me – and want to show others – that you can anything. You just have to set your mind and go after it.”

Helen now works as a housekeeper at a nursing home. She says she loves her job and the residents. “I feel like they need me and I need them,” she said.

Helen also enjoys being a greeter at her church, going to the movies and spending time with her nine children, 28 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Someday, she would like to travel the world.

“Goodwill-Easter Seals helped me find my place. And helped me with things that make my life better to live, and be happy and successful in. They helped me, my whole world. It just gave me a whole different look out on life. Now I know what I can do. I had a chance to try and they were there to back me.”

Watch Helen’s story