Success Stories

Job Connection helped Naomi secure housing, keep working and get back on her feet

When Air Force veteran Naomi found Job Connection this winter, she needed support. She didn’t have a place of her own anymore, which led her to couch surfing in her adult children’s homes around New England. Family time is nice, of course, but she yearned for her own personal stability back.

Like every participant in Job Connection, Naomi had several barriers to personal stability.

“When I came [to Job Connection] I was very high stress at that point. I was really scared,” Naomi said. “I thought, what if I can’t pay for the only place I can afford to live? I had to do something about a car. I was having medical issues. I was overwhelmed by everything.”

Naomi and her life navigator wok at a computer
Naomi talks with her Life Navigator, Carol Bouchard. Carol helps Naomi work through anything that stands in the way of her personal stability.

Her car’s brakes were failing and her job requires her to travel a lot. She has two types of cancer and needs time for appointments and rest. She found a room for rent, but couldn’t pay the upfront costs to secure it.

“I was having a tough time,” Naomi said. “I’m an intelligent person. I know when to ask for help.”

This winter, Naomi found Goodwill Northern New England’s Job Connection. The program helps people achieve stability by providing many resources, including a Career Advisor, a Life Navigator and access to a Participant Access Fund.

Together, Naomi and her Life Navigator (a position combining social work and case management) got to work on the most pressing needs: an affordable place to live and a safe and functioning car. Naomi’s work as a Behavioral Health Professional meant she was often driving her clients, but her 13-year-old car’s brakes were grinding and making her very nervous.

Naomi and her Life Navigator looked at the options and her budget, and decided the best option was to lease a car. The Participant Access Fund covered the first $250 car payment. Assistance ($529) from the Participant Access Fund also helped Naomi secure the rental room she’d found in Portland. “That help alone was huge, Naomi said, “This incredible weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Air force veteran gets workforce help at goodwill and smiles at her life navigator
Life Navigator, Carol Bouchard helps air force veteran Naomi work through anything that stands in the way of her personal stability.

Naomi is great at her job, but can only work part-time because her body gets exhausted from her health situation. So finances are always tight.

Together she and her Life Navigator work on ways Naomi can stretch her income and save money, like utilizing the local food pantry and preparing meals ahead of time. They work on budgets, navigating retirement funds and whatever else comes up from week to week.

For Naomi and other veterans, Job Connection offers relief. “I have a support system,” she says. “I didn’t have to burden my children. I really feel like [my Life Navigator] Carol has balanced me. She’s my balance. If I have an emergency or something, I’ll just call if I’m freaking out—and I don’t normally freak out. It’s like knowing you’re on a high wire rope and you know there’s a net. She’s my net. … We don’t survive things without a support system.”

Goodwill helps people improve their lives – whether through work, recovering from a brain injury or providing a safe place to call home. This work is possible because of support from people like you. Please consider a gift today to make sure people continue to build stable lives far into the future. Goodwill NNE is a nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.

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