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Student Story

Student Story: Malgorzata

Just over a decade ago, Malgorzata’s life drastically changed in so many ways.

From moving to a new country to be with her husband – after spending three years apart during his military deployment in Afghanistan – to beginning a search for a new career, Malgorzata was faced with several learning opportunities and challenges after arriving in the United States.

“Moving to United States was kind of exciting, I was looking for a new adventure and finally be with my husband,” Malgorzata said. “But at the same time, it was very difficult to leave my family behind, [and] was one of the hardest things I ever did.”

Malgorzata grew up near Warsaw, Poland, and family has always played an intricate role in her life.

Originally studying economics and administration at a university, Malgorzata later realized she was meant to pursue a much different career – finding passion in a moment of immense heartache for her and her family.

“My grandma got sick, and she was [needing] 24-hour care,” Malgorzata said. “Then, I discover, I really like to help people.”

For the next 20 years, Malgorzata worked one-on-one with patients as a caregiver – providing the highest level of care during some of their most difficult times.

But despite the physical and emotional burden, she found great reward in the work she was doing.

“Make them smile and help them in their basic living [would] like, make my heart smile and feel good,” said Malgorzata.

After arriving in the United States, Malgorzata worked as a caregiver through an agency, and after a patient she became close to over the course of several years passed away, she decided to look for a change in her career.

That’s when she was pointed in the direction of the Whatcom County Job Training and Education Center (JTEC) in Bellingham.

Malgorzata worked with the Whatcom JTEC team, helping her get connected to Evergreen Goodwill’s classes – like our ESOL and Microsoft Word and Excel courses – which would enhance her resume and improve her English skills.

“She approached me and said, ‘I want to get a job,’” said Bea, an Evergreen Goodwill employment specialist.

The Whatcom JTEC team also assisted Malgorzata with receiving access to a computer and WiFi hotspot to help make looking for jobs and taking hybrid classes much easier.

“Living in Watcom County and the farmer land is not always easy to get access to the internet,” Malgorzata said.

With vital technology and digital skills now at her fingertips, Malgorzata began applying for jobs, and when it came time to begin interviewing, Bea was there to provide support with her experience and expertise.

“She was helping me prepare for the interviews, she was practicing interviews with me,” Malgorzata said.

After persistence and perseverance, Malgorzata landed her dream job as a receptionist with a local health care facility in Lynden, Washington.

Reflecting on her time at Evergreen Goodwill as a student, Malgorzata had this lasting message for anyone looking to expand their education or employment opportunities:

“They will not leave you alone,” Malgorzata said. “They will help you with every step to achieve your dream.

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