Celia’s Goodwill Story Header Image

Celia has struggled with both medical and mental health challenges that at times have left her unsure of her future career outlook, even with a bachelor’s degree. She has always been interested in the fashion industry and worked previously at a boutique and in a department store, but they ended up not being a great fit for her. “In my other jobs, I felt alone,” Celia said.

While working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to explore employment opportunities, she was placed in an internship program at Goodwill NCW’s store in La Crosse. After three months, she applied to become a part-time production specialist and was hired. “It’s been life changing. Goodwill has changed my life for the better. Before I was here, I felt very alone, depressed and scared for my future.” She is now several months into her job and is building her verbal communication skills as she interacts with fellow team members and counting skills as she hangs clothing, keeps track of counts, organizes clothing by color, tags the clothing and sends it out to the sales floor.

The small team environment and supportive leadership are a great fit for Celia. “The unique thing about here is you’re never alone at Goodwill. There’s always someone that can relate to what you are going through and offer you some techniques and coping skills.”

Sheri Cartwright, the Store Team Leader at the La Crosse Goodwill store feels grateful Celia has joined the team. “The way Celia talks about our mission and values; I knew right away she’d be a great fit for us. She’s been an amazing addition to our team.”

Celia’s Leader Sheri


Celia says she still faces mental health challenges that can be very severe at times. Clear expectations, defined objectives and a consistent schedule, coupled with an inclusive work environment and supportive leadership, help Celia stay focused even on her toughest days. “Mental health can be a little chaotic and overwhelming. Now, I feel like I have structure, expectations and responsibilities.”

For now, she is focused on maintaining her mental health for a prolonged period, then she would eventually like to add hours until she is working full-time. Her long-term goal is to work at a boutique outside of Goodwill NCW. While she builds toward that goal, Celia is excited to be learning more about measuring clothing, identifying different fabrics and gaining production skills that will help in her future.

“Celia has a wide array of goals she wants to hit in her personal life, and we’re all in support of helping her get there,” Sheri said. “Everyone around her just loves the inspiration from her. It’s contagious motivation for the team.”

Celia has already made great strides toward her goals. She says she grew up with a supportive family and in a community that offers a lot of programs for those with challenges like hers, but she is empowered to take the next steps now. “Before I was here, I felt supported, but now I feel independent. I’m able to pay my own cell phone bill, buy my own bus pass and purchase my own clothing for work. We all have our struggles in life, but at Goodwill I feel supported and a part of the team.”

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