Ydania's Success Story

Ydania Cuello originally came to Goodwill for our 6-month English as a Second Language (ESL) program. She was initially hesitant to participate as she explained that she had only received a third grade education in her native country of the Dominican Republic; she felt that she never had the opportunity to develop “proper” reading and writing skills.

At her initial intake Ydania explained that she came from a very poor family and at a young age she understood that she needed to go to work to help support the needs of her family. Ydania took pride in sharing her work history and made it known that she was anxious to return to work. While in the literacy program Ydania had excellent attendance and was an active participant. We noticed that Ydania had difficulties with reading and writing and we wondered if there were other issues that may have gone undiagnosed. Ydania was diagnosed as having difficulties with learning; she was told that any gains she made in reading and writing would take some time.

She was not discouraged; she simply responded with “What’s next? I need to work.” Ydania was then referred for a vocational evaluation that resulted in a 10-day Work Experience at the Courtyard Marriott in housekeeping. Ydania’s self-confidence and work ethic quickly grabbed the attention of the staff, and the housekeepers lobbied over who would get to work with her. At the end of the 10-day period management at the Courtyard Marriott offered her a part-time position; with the help and support of her team at Goodwill and ORS, Ydania became employed. Ydania has now moved on to a full-time position at the Courtyard Marriott and has been successfully employed for over eight months.