Anja's Story

December 13, 2016

Posted in: Student Stories

Anja left nearly everything behind when she moved from her home in Germany to the U.S. in June, 2010. Anja’s husband, who was in the United States Army and had lived in Germany while serving for more than 30 years, was being relocated to Bremerton.

So Anja said goodbye to her family, friends and job as a hairdresser to join her husband and kids on their adventure to a new life in the states.

Out of work in a foreign land with no friends or extended family, Anja soon began feeling trapped. She desired to find work, but had never in her life written a resume and didn’t know where to start her job search.

“The first two years were hard,” Anja said. “I was scared. I got in a depression, and I started a therapy group.”

Anja eventually was directed to Seattle Goodwill from the Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Program. She was told about Goodwill’s free Job Training and Education Programs. With only two days of enrollment left, Anja hurried to Silverdale’s JTE Center and signed up for classes.

“I’ve always had a problem with my confidence,” Anja said. “The first step is always the hardest for me. No matter what I am doing. Going to fitness center, the first step is the hardest. I always liked someone holding my hand there, but I had to do it myself, and I did it. It was hard for me to walk in here and ask about the retail program. It was a hard step for me.”

Anja became an instant success at Silverdale. Before the end of her retail training course, she was hired on a part-time basis Nov. 26, 2014, as a material handler. Instead of quitting the retail class, she decided to finish, following one of the beliefs she most covets: “finish what you start.”

Three months later Anja became a sales associate and only two weeks after that became a lead in-training. Anja dropped the trainee tag and became lead cashier in May 2015. Her new career had taken off.

But Anja’s journey with Goodwill didn’t stop there. Although she graduated from high school in Germany, she wanted to get her GED. She took classes around her work schedule and passed her last test in July, earning what she sought out to acquire.

“I said I want a GED, just because I can say I had it, I’ve don’t it,” Anja said. “And I can show my kids, ‘Hey, I did it, you can do it. They see that if you set your mind to something, and you really want it, you can do it. Also, when you start something, you finish it.”

Now working as retail supervisor, Anja is thankful for the help Goodwill afforded her and the positivity permeating throughout her life.  

“(Goodwill) helped me get out of my depression, helped me get a new start, feeling more confident in myself,” Anja said. “Goodwill, itself, working here, it’s fun. We have a great team. It’s just a positive influence being back at work.”

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