“I Never Imagined My Life Could Be This Great”

JenniferHer workspace might be a little different than yours. There’s no desk, no computer, no cubicle. She did have some pretty incredible views of the St. Croix River, however, while working on the high bridge in Stillwater. After coming to Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, Jennifer became one of only a few women who are pile drivers in Minnesota.

There was a time when the biggest barrier to success she faced was herself. “I was very self-destructive for a little while, which got me into some trouble,” she recalls. Eventually, she found Goodwill-Easter Seals’ ReEntry program. When her ReEntry counselor suggested the construction training program, she was skeptical. “I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t do construction,’” she remembers. “But it turned out to be the best thing ever.”

The people in the programs made the difference for her. “Every single person I met was friendly. They didn’t treat me like a criminal, or like a girl who doesn’t know how to do this stuff. It was the positive support I needed, that I didn’t have anywhere else in my life. It helped give me the extra drive to keep going and to believe that I could do it.”

Besides gaining the skills she needed to start a new career, Goodwill-Easter Seals’ FATHER Project gave her the support she needed to be a better parent to her young daughter. “I can take care of my daughter now,” she says. “It means the world to me.”