When Grace came to Goodwill, it was clear she was a big animal enthusiast but also struggled interacting with people.
Her love for animals and the challenges she was looking to overcome made her a perfect fit as a Project SEARCH intern at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Grace successfully completed her internship and wanted to continue building her skills after obtaining a job, so she joined Goodwill’s Beyond WORK program.
In this program, Grace worked with her Community Connector, Emily, to find new opportunities in the community for her to grow her skills. When the two first met, it was immediately clear Grace was ready to pursue a new opportunity. Grace's love for animals (especially for cats) and the skills she learned in her internship at the Zoo made her the perfect candidate for a volunteer opportunity at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC).
Grace began volunteering at MADACC, and breezed through her basic volunteer orientation, which included at least four hours of “Tier 1” training. During Grace's training, she learned MADACC's cleaning and sanitizing protocols. Throughout her training, Grace felt confident as many of the MADACC's cleaning and sanitizing equipment were similar to the Milwaukee County Zoo's. In fact, she felt so confident, she even asked for additional duties.
Not only did Grace gain confidence in completing her volunteer duties, it was also apparent that her social skills were growing as well.
"The goal of Goodwill's Beyond WORK program is to help people with disabilities build meaningful connections outside of work in the individual’s community," said Theresa Brugger, Manager Community Employment & Connection at Goodwill. "Grace loves helping animals and her volunteer experience made her discover that she has a love for helping people too."
Grace is now in the next steps of her volunteer journey and is working toward becoming a cat socializer at MADACC. The skills she learned through her internship and volunteering not only taught her how to care for animals, but also taught her how to work with a team and build connections with people.
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin & Metro Chicago thanks the many people, agencies, and funders who contributed to Grace's success.