Where Are They Now: Cheri
Cheri uses a specific analogy to describe Seattle Goodwill’s impact on her life.
“I say I was a cracked base,” Cheri explained. “Goodwill was my super glue. They kind of put the glue in the cracks, and we put me back together.”
Couch surfing from one residence to another, Cheri was didn’t have a place to call home when she came to our King County Job Training & Education Center (JTEC) in 2014. She wasn’t completely broken, but her life journey had shaken Cheri and she had lost her self-confidence. In life, Cheri had always given to others and forgotten to invest time in herself.
The support Cheri found at Goodwill’s King County JTEC was just what she needed.
“Life was so rough and bad for me back then,” said Cheri, reflecting on her past. “When I finally stepped into Goodwill, the counselors and teachers let me know everything was going to be all right, and they were there for me. They were open, they walked me through my journey and I was kind of able to put Cheri back together.”
Cheri took several free Job Training & Education (JTE) courses, worked with a case manager who helped her navigate some of her barriers, and even volunteered in a Goodwill class as a computer lab assistant. Aside from the class skills she developed, the motivation Cheri received from Goodwill staff helped her plan the next chapter of her life.
Cheri enrolled at Lake Washington Community College after leaving Seattle Goodwill. She wanted to channel her passion for helping others and use it toward a career in social and human services.
“Everybody that helped me at Goodwill was a great part of my life,” Cheri said. “They helped me get through my homelessness and bring back my mental state and helped me find Cheri again. They gave me back what I had lost – the belief in me. That is what Goodwill did for me.”
Cheri earned her Associate in Arts degree in two years and now works for Angeline’s Day Center for Women - YWCA Seattle as a crisis advocate. Previously, she worked for five years at Renton’s REACH Center of Hope.
Cheri finds joy in helping others. Even before she came to Goodwill and found a new life direction, Cheri enjoyed volunteering, supporting her community, and helping others overcome adversity. She was often the listening ear for people who were dealing with the same obstacles she used to face. Cheri has now turned that passion into a career.
As a crisis advocate at Angeline’s Day Center for Women, Cheri helps with intake, walks the floor, talks to women who enter the center and provides guidance. She often recounts her own life story to relate to the community members she serves.
“I love what I do,” Cheri said. “I love helping people. I love trying to help people get on track. I love seeing people smile again.”
Cheri has a great support system. She has two sisters and two daughters who are always there for her. She’s thankful to have left her old life in the past and knows Seattle Goodwill staff, who she considers extended family, are always willing to offer guidance.
“No matter what you go through in life, you have to believe in you and that you can make it,” Cheri said. “I had lost that. You get to a point where you are OK and then you lose everything, and it’s kind of like, ‘How did I get here?’ I was beating myself up mentally and stopped believing in Cheri. The people at Goodwill were so open and loving, and they believe in everybody that walked in that room regardless of what you were going through. Goodwill was a big help in my transformation. I give Goodwill all props. I really do.”