Hannah earns her independence

“Just before I turned nineteen I was put in a group home,” she told us.

Hannah is a woman with an inspirational story. A variety of challenges growing up led to her losing guardianship of herself and being put in a group home. We met her a month or two ago at Goodwill-Easter Seals’ offices in Willmar.

Referred to Goodwill-Easter Seals by her Vocational Rehabilitation (VRS) counselor, she admits she was pretty unsure of herself at first. “She was just a scared person,” remarks Dave Kocka, one of her case workers at Goodwill-Easter Seals. She came to Goodwill-Easter Seals hoping to get the job and life skills she needed to be able to live independently and to then be able to regain her guardianship.

Hannah credits Dave Kocka and Willmar’s Services and Programs Manager Shelly Huseby not just with giving her the skills and confidence she needed to find a job and do it well, but also with helping her successfully navigate the steps involved in regaining her guardianship.

“I can’t say enough about Dave and Shelly,” she says.”Dave helped me with applying for jobs, filling out applications, filling out a resume and with my interview skills.”

“Mainly it was listening to what she needed and challenging her a little bit,” Shelly says. Dave adds that “She needed to make the decisions herself. It was her plan. I was just along for the ride.”

“Once you start getting your self-confidence and once you start getting trust in people, then you’re able to make great decisions for yourself,” Dave explains.

It’s definitely worked for Hannah.

“I feel confident again. That I deserve to have a job. That I’m worth it.”