Student Story: Jamila
Over the course of just two years, Jamila has courageously made drastic changes after realizing that she deserved better for herself and the life she once knew was not the one she wanted. She’s now looking to share her story with anyone willing to listen because she’s proud to tell it.
“I would love to share my story with everyone, and I can show them where I start from zero to what I’m having now – [a] good life,” Jamila said.
Originally from Morocco, Jamila survived and escaped an abusive relationship and left to live with a relative in Spain. But her move came during the height of the pandemic and strict lockdowns that prevented her from getting a job and being able to sustain herself.
To make matters worse, she also received a life-altering diagnosis showing she had a tumor in her brain – and without health insurance or the financial means of having it removed.
Being a U.S. Citizen, Jamila decided to reach out for help and was connected with a nonprofit organization that paid for her ticket to America and found her a host in the Seattle area who provided a safe place to stay for several weeks after arriving in Washington state.
After undergoing her medical procedure, Jamila said she was ready to get back to work, but first, she wanted to better her English skills.
“If I speak good English, I can have a good job and go back to study again,” said Jamila.
Her host suggested that she consider taking classes at Evergreen Goodwill’s King County Job Training and Education Center.
Jamila says this marked the “first step” she took on a completely new path in her life. At first, though, it wasn’t easy.
“I had to take six buses in the day, three to go to class and three to come back,” Jamila said.
This is just one example of many representing her determination to further her education and fulfill her dream of beginning a career in the health care industry.
Starting from scratch in a brand new area and arriving in the U.S. with very little, Jamila says she was having a difficult time making ends meet. With Evergreen Goodwill’s wraparound services, Jamila says case managers provided her assistance with purchasing groceries, clothes and transportation, so she was able to complete her classes.
Jamila also took math and computer classes with Evergreen Goodwill to brush up on her skills, so she was ready to take the next big leap in her life – becoming a certified nursing assistant and landing a job at a local senior living facility.
“You have to have hope, always, and go for it,” said Jamila. “If you have any dream, just go for it.”
At Evergreen Goodwill is where Jamila says her confidence began to grow and realizing that there are people who are there to help support her.
But Jamila is an inherent fighter, and she has no plans of giving up until she accomplishes her dream.
Jamila is now nearing the completion of her examination and is on track to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She also volunteers in the community assisting other survivors of domestic violence situations who do not speak English.
She also has been an active advocate in spreading the word about Evergreen Goodwill’s classes and services, helping others get the help and opportunity they need.
“If you have situation like mine, or you have something in the past, just put it behind you,” said Jamila. “It makes you feel like you are alive and happy, and you can feel like you are someone in this world that can make a difference for others.”