By Curtis Michaels
Roswell Daily Record
There’s a back room at the Roswell Goodwill store, and 92 percent of their money goes there . The people back there are doing their level best to spend it too.
And you can help them.
Sandra Lara, Michelle Glass, Lurdes Minaya and Valerie Mestas run a tight shop.
Lara is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) coordinator, and can be reached at 622-4113.
“The program is for people 55 years old and up who are low income or unemployed. They get job training with a goal of obtaining unsubsidized employment,” she said.
Lara serves seniors in seven counties; Quay, Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln and Lea.
“It’s a four year program in which we encourage the client to apply for jobs while they are training through a host agency,” she said.
If a client gets a job that doesn’t work out in the first 30 days, they can resume the program and move forward. If they leave the job after 30 days they can reapply.
Lara and Mestas have started a job club that meets monthly to help applicants improve their chance of employment.
The November Job Club meeting will be about overcoming barriers to successfully finding employment, and completing a job application.
Mestas is the job developer. She helps people find employment and can be reached at 622-6135.
“I help people get employable,” she said.
“Each client has different reasons they need help getting work. I help them put together a professional résumé. I help them understand why some of the questions in a job interview might not seem to make sense. I help them if they have prior convictions,” she said.
The skills she teaches are part of the Goodwill Gateway to Work program.
“Currently I am serving about 30 clients. We are open for more. We would like to see many more clients utilizing our services,” she said.
All of the services available at Goodwill are completely free to the client, and the staff is dedicated to helping as many people to succeed as they can.
One of the more impressive success stories comes from Glass’ department; Glass is the Brain injury case manager, and can be reached at 622-4980.
“I had a client whose career had been very high intensity, public work and required her to think on her feet. Her job could affect people’s lives directly, and change them in an instant.
“After her brain injury she developed a bad case of agoraphobia. She wasn’t even able to go to the grocery store for quite some time.
“She worked very hard with therapy and guidance and has been re-certified to continue her career, and is thriving again,” said Glass.
The program is 10 years old, as of July they acquired brain injury patients.
“I work with anyone who has a brain injury. I help them with life skills coaching, with community resources, and connect them with long-term services,” said Glass.
The brain injury program is a short-term program, and is designed for crisis needs.
“We will help a client as long as the crisis remains,” said Glass.
There is no income qualification for this program, and any time a client needs help paying for something, Goodwill is the payer of last resort. They try to find other sources for those expenses.
The list of services the brain injury program can help a client with include homemaker, caregiver, transport reimbursement/bus pass, retrofitting an automobile, outpatient mental health, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, durable medical equipment, life-skills coaching, environmental modification of a house, and one-time-only help with emergency rent or utility needs.
There is also a brain injury support group that meets the second Wednesday of each month. Anybody with a brain injury is welcome.
Goodwill rounds out its services with Minaya’s department.
She is the Supportive Services for Veterans and Families case manager and can be reached at 622-6337.
The veterans services work on a housing first model.
“Low income veterans who are at risk of homelessness, or are already homeless can get help with first month’s rent and a deposit, or help to pay rent or utilities that are in arrears,” she said.
One of Minaya’s success stories was told about in a previous Positively Roswell, when they helped a veteran who had been living in her car in Carlsbad for the past 4 months get into a place of her own in Roswell.
“She is doing well in her new place,” said Minaya.
“The most common needs we help vets with are getting their VA benefits, healthcare and jobs,” she said.
The single biggest concern they all share is that so many people don’t know they are there and what services they offer.
The services office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Just go to the back of the store to learn more.
If you’re a veteran, or a veteran’s spouse, if you’re under-employed or unemployed at any age, or if you have been diagnosed with either an acquired brain injury or a traumatic brain injury Mestes, Lara, Glass and Minaya can help you.
Step into Goodwill’s back room and let them help.
By Curtis Michaels