Living in her home country of Mexico in Mexico City, Rocio’s life was drastically altered following a series of setbacks.
She divorced her husband after marrying at 17 and lost a good job when the business she worked for closed. She had two daughters and was struggling to provide despite working several jobs.
“It was a difficult time in Mexico,” Rocio explained. “Many businesses closed, and one of those was mine. I had a good job, because I like to work. I learn fast. I was working many, many places, but I did not have enough money for my two daughters or for me to pay rent.”
Rocio left Mexico 23 years ago and settled in Bremerton, Washington where she had family. Speaking limited English, she tried several times to learn but never found the necessary time to master the language.
Two years ago Rocio learned about Seattle Goodwill, and after visiting Bremerton’s Job Training and Education Center. She began taking English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, Adult Basic Education (ABE), Computer Basics and is now working on earning her GED.
Like many Goodwill students, Rocio also deals with other obstacles to employment. She has a chronic injury resulting from a devastating car accident 15 years ago, which today still affects her ability to work for long periods of time. Rocio currently works limited hours as a teaching assistant at a local elementary school.
Goodwill has supported Rocio in various ways as a student, offering support services to provide a gas card for Rocio’s long commutes, obtaining prescription glasses and even aiding in finding affordable housing.
“It’s like a dream,” Rocio said of the help she’s received from Goodwill. “A long time ago people told me, ‘Ask for help.’ Now I am living and getting support in many ways, and I feel like I am dreaming. It motivates me to do the best that I can.”
Rocio’s English, through taking Goodwill’s ESOL classes, has drastically improved, and she’s acquired enough confidence to use her new speaking skills to accomplish daily tasks.
“Right now I have many things to do,” Rocio said. “And to do many things you need English. Before I would ask my daughters or somebody for help. Now, no. I am happy, because I learn more.”
Rocio is able to carry on a tradition in education and comes from a family of teachers. She enjoys working with kids, in the past volunteered at an elementary school and dreams of become an art teacher. But she knows to accomplish that she first needs to earn her GED.
“My goal is to be a teacher, an art teacher because I love to draw,” Rocio said. “But I need English, and to become a teacher I need to get my GED. It’s everything together. We have everything here that we need to study. I can’t say anything about, we need, because (Goodwill) helps with everything.”