Goodwill NY-NJ supports women in their journey to achieve their goals throughout the year. Our Beyond Jobs program supports women who live in New York City in navigating their individual career path. It provides a holistic integration of career services with family and financial strengthening services.

In addition, for the past two years, our Jobs-Plus program at The Bronx has helped find work for residents of the Clason Point, Sack Wern and Monroe New York City Housing Authority developments.

Each week this month, Jobs-Plus will feature a different woman in its Facebook page to honor the women who are striving to improve their lives and achieve their career goals. But today, we offer you here a preview.

Meet Lavonia Chisolm.

Lavonia Chisolm headshotQ: Have you done something you felt was successful?

A: As a young girl, I failed school. When it came to writing, I received “F’s” on every subject, which made me think that I wasn’t good at writing and I wasn’t smart. As a result, I dropped-out of school in the 11th grade and went to work.

I was fortunate to find jobs that used my creativity. I’m a great cook, I designed store windows, and I modeled at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. I learned to hide not being able to read or write very well from everyone around me. I kept it a secret.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. When cancer went into remission, I felt my life had been spared. I had a second chance. I asked God what I could do to make a difference in this world. He challenged me to do the very thing I feared the most: Go back to school.

In an episode of The Cosby show I watched, Theo was struggling in school and his parents discovered he was dyslexic. This gave me an insight on what I had dealt with all my life. I was tested at the Auden Society and received assistance with my dyslexia.

Since then, I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree with Honors. It was the first time in my entire life that I received an “A” in school. I continued and now I have my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. The best part of it all is that I begin my Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) training. I anticipate that I will complete it this summer.

Facing my fears and pursuing my career goals are two things that make me feel successful.

Note: Lavonia Chisolm joined Jobs-Plus the first week of February 2015. She starts CASAC training this month. Her Jobs-Plus life coach helped her apply and join the training program. She also received financial counseling from Goodwill’s Jobs-Plus program and participates in the Women’s Group.

Your purchases support the mission of Goodwill. To get the latest fashion trends and tips and learn about our upcoming promotions, please read our thrift fashion blog A Good Look

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