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Fanta's Story

Fanta's Story

Starting a new life in an unfamiliar country can be overwhelming and scary‭. ‬For Fanta‭, ‬adding several barriers including a lack‭ ‬of job history and being hard of hearing made the task of finding employment feel almost unachievable‭. ‬Until she found Goodwill‭.‬

Fanta’s life in war-torn Liberia‭, ‬Africa was a difficult one‭. ‬She labored hard on a farm‭, ‬walking many miles each day carrying heavy baskets of produce to sell at markets‭. ‬Due to the high risk of malaria where Fanta lived‭, ‬she received a medication that ultimately caused significant hearing loss‭. ‬While living in a refugee camp‭, ‬Fanta was given the opportunity to emigrate to the United States‭. ‬Though intimidated by this significant life change‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬moving to a new country where she knew no one‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬Fanta showed great courage‭, ‬took a leap of faith‭, ‬and landed in Chicago‭. ‬

Fanta’s arrival was not an easy one‭; ‬she knew little English‭, ‬and her inability to hear well only added to the challenge of obtaining‭ ‬housing‭, ‬transportation and employment‭. ‬What she did have was a network of organizations that helped refugees settle into their‭ ‬new country‭. ‬Fanta began working with the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation‭, ‬and when it came to finding employment‭, ‬she was‭ ‬referred to Goodwill‭.‬

Fanta came to one of Goodwill’s Workforce Connection Centers‭ (‬WCCs‭), ‬and was assigned a Career Coach who assists the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community‭. ‬Her Career Coach‭, ‬Laird‭, ‬provided one-on-one training‭, ‬mentoring and support for all the steps in Fanta’s employment journey‭. ‬Through the WCCs‭, ‬Fanta received a wide range of services‭, ‬from pre-employment and computer skills training‭, ‬to resume development and mock interviews‭. ‬The job search process also helped her English and sign language skills grow‭. ‬It wasn’t long before Fanta began interviewing‭, ‬and employers were immediately impressed with her strong‭ ‬work ethic‭. ‬

Today‭, ‬Fanta has secured full-time employment with White Lodging at The Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Chicago River North, where she works as a Guest Room Attendant‭. ‬She has not only found financial independence in her job, but also has found the bond of friendship with her coworkers‭. ‬Fanta’s smile lights up the room when she talks about her accomplishments and the barriers she has overcome‭. ‬Her life is‭ ‬better than she ever thought possible‭. ‬“I don’t know what I would do without Goodwill’s help‭,‬”‭ ‬she says‭.‬


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