Joe Robledo: Overcoming Obstacles
I found myself at my lowest point when I lost my father while still in high school. As a result, I felt the burden of needing to step up and fill my father’s shoes by taking care of my mom. Unfortunately, medical issues made this difficult for me to do. I was told I was disabled and unable to work so I attempted to get on disability income with no success.
The barriers continued to pile up, and I found myself jobless, not eligible for disability income, and without health insurance while dealing with medical issues. I had two tentative job offers upon graduation from high school, however, due to my health issues, I was unable to finish and obtain my diploma and was turned down for both jobs.
The feelings of failure and being a burden to my family became too overwhelming for me and this started a downward spiral of depression, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. Eventually, I hit rock bottom and knew if I didn’t make some changes, I would either end up dead or in jail. I started praying for a second chance and made a vow that if given that chance, I would make better choices, choices that would have a big impact.
My prayers were answered when my older sister told me about Goodwill® and was persistent in telling me that I needed to go see if Goodwill could help me. I was resistant at first as I feared the usual would happen and those who were “supposed” to help me would turn their backs on me. I feared that I would be judged and that people would think I wanted a hand out instead of a hand up. Fortunately, for me, I was wrong.
Goodwill encouraged me to pursue my GED. My commitment and persistence to do better did not go unnoticed by the staff. I was encouraged to enroll into Goodwill’s basic computer training course and went on to take the intermediate level computer course. Upon completing the intermediate level course, I was offered a part-time reception position with Goodwill and took the advanced computer training class. I successfully completed all three computer training courses which were eight weeks long; five days a week, and obtained my GED all in two years.
I started my journey as a part-time receptionist with Goodwill in June 2013 and in October 2015, I was promoted to the administrative assistant position working alongside the two chief executives of Goodwill.