Success Stories

University students score jobs in the field of Deaf Services

Melissa, a woman who works at LIfeWorks Deaf Services, sits smiling at the camera.

When Melissa Price first walked into Goodwill’s LifeWorks Deaf Services she thought, “I think I’m home.” With her degree in Linguistics and American Sign Language (ASL), she was initially not sure what to do when she graduated. But, after hearing her classmates talk about LifeWorks Deaf Services, she found her way there initially as a volunteer. It wasn’t long before Melissa’s volunteer opportunity turned into a job. This program, in Scarborough, Maine, helps adults who are both Deaf and have an intellectual disability live and work as independently as possible.

“This job stretches, models, and shapes me in ways I did not know was possible. I didn’t know how much I needed this community,” Melissa said.

Traveling along a similar path, Niomi Poirier, came into LifeWorks Deaf Services about the same time as Melissa, in October 2022. Niomi, a student at the University of Southern Maine, came to the program as an intern. Much like Melissa, her internship turned into a job opportunity.

She learns both in the classroom and on the job. Niomi was drawn to the ASL field when her son was born with a neurological disorder. She learned simple signs to talk to him until he was able to speak at about four years old. When her children were teenagers, she went back to school for ASL.

“I have learned working here that everyone wants to fit in, to feel loved and supported. Really, we are all the same,” Niomi reflected.

Working alongside the people in the program, Melissa and Niomi teach skills in independent living, work readiness, relationship building, self-advocacy and health.

Activities at LifeWorks Deaf Services

LifeWorks offers a full kitchen to teach meal-planning, cooking and clean up. There is a large common area for crafts and games as well as other group activities for learning health and selfcare. But LifeWorks is not limited to a building. Staff and participants go into the community and do things like visit an aquarium, go to the beach, or take hikes along an adaptive nature trail.

LifeWorks’ participants explore their independence and autonomy in a safe and nurturing environment. The smiles and laughter of the folks in the program are evidence that joy is infectious!

Goodwill is now accepting new clients to LifeWorks Deaf Services who are Deaf and have an intellectual disability. Openings are also available in LifeWorks Services in Portland, Augusta, and Waterville for adults who are hearing but with an intellectual disability.

To learn more about LifeWorks Deaf Services, please visit https://goodwillnne.wpenginepowered.com/programs/LifeWorks/

Woman knitting with clients at Goodwill LifeWorks Deaf Services
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