My Story: Angel Howell

After being a stay-at-home mom for two years, my life changed forever in 2002, when my husband asked for a divorce. I had a 2-year-old son with autism who depended on me, so I needed to find a job quickly.

My son and I moved in with my sister, whose living room would serve as a temporary home. With no income and a need for child care, my sister convinced me to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. I was assigned a case worker, who had me sign up for a jobs program, and I chose Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast.

The job training team, comprised of Alicia Rivers and Mr. Ike, supplied me and my classmates with the tools needed to be successful in the workforce. After three months in class, I was offered a job as a customer service representative, and was able to move out of my sister’s living room and into my own apartment.

In November 2003, I was offered a job as community resource officer with the Mobile Police Department. The job was perfect because it gave me the flexibility to work around my son’s school schedule and doctor’s appointments.

Through this job, I gained experience working with the public and managed to rebuild my confidence. Occasionally, I would stop in to visit Ms. Rivers and sometimes speak to her job training classes. I was with the Mobile Police Department for six and a half years.

However, in May 2010, due to budgeting issues within the city of Mobile, my hours were cut drastically, and I had no choice but to begin searching for another job. Unsure of what to do, I spoke to Ms. Rivers, who was able to point me in the right direction by recommending a job I could apply for. I applied for that job and eventually got it. I have been the receptionist at Covenant Hospice since June 2010.

Goodwill Easter Seals has become a large part of my life. Through the organization, I was able to find work and the resources to get my son the help he needed. Now I’m dedicated to giving back to the community and currently serving on the advisory board for Penelope House. I was also appointed the United Way coordinator for my office during the “Live United” campaign.

I believe with determination, faith, and a will to succeed, anyone can overcome the obstacles placed before them. Never give up, because anything is possible.

Hear more stories from people like Angel.