Jul 18, 2018
Nico had difficulties managing his psychiatric symptoms, especially in social situations. “I dropped out of school at 16. I was depressed,” he said. Nico was able to secure work after leaving school, however, he wasn’t able to hold a job for long due to social anxiety related to his condition.
Nico bounced from one job to the next. His turning point came earlier this year when he began to struggle with losing yet another job. “I worked at American Auto Cote and was very overwhelmed and not keeping up,” Nico said. “I panicked and wanted to quit. Ottawa County Community Mental Health suggested I look into Goodwill for help.”
In April of 2018, Nico came to Goodwill’s Employment & Training Center in Holland for Supported Employment. Goodwill Job Coach Denise Lopez taught Nico strategies for working through his anxieties. She helped him learn to be comfortable around groups of people and provided him with stress-coping mechanisms. She also began working with Nico’s new employer, the Jenison Meijer store, where Nico was able to secure a position as third-shift stocker. “Nico has very understanding managers at Meijer,” Denise said of his employer.
Denise coaches Nico on the job at Meijer at least once a week. This continued support “motivates” and “inspires” Nico to not get overwhelmed. “I still have my ups and downs but it is better,” he said. “I like my job at Meijer because it is always different and I like the people. I like everything about it!”
“I’m really more of a mentor for him now,” she said. “With support, he is working through his barriers very well. He has made friends with his co-workers and even says he has fun!”
Inspired by his newfound success and focus on positivity, Nico has set a goal to go back to school to further his education and become a certified mechanic. His hard work with Goodwill is proof that obstacles are just the building blocks of character. Nico said he would recommend Goodwill to anyone working to overcome barriers. “Sometimes people need a little help,” Nico said. “If you are struggling, find the good … find what makes you happy.”