My name is Crystal Jacobs and I was born deaf. Much of my life and the decisions I’ve made have been regulated by fear. Fear of being different, fear of failure, fear of feeling alone.
Most people don’t think the divide between hearing and deaf to be that big of a deal, but it’s something I had a lot of trouble with. I’m not confident in the way I talk or sound, and this caused a lot of issues for me and how I interacted with people who can hear. Because of this and some other things, I had trouble finding a job, even finding the motivation to get a job. But Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana’s supported employment staff helped me see that I am more than my disability. It took a little bit for them to get to me, but once they did my life was so much different.
I used to rely solely on my disability check to provide for me and my daughter, and I thought I was okay with that. I was afraid to work too much, a full time job for instance because there’s a rule that if you work too many hours or make too much, you don’t get the disability check. I was convinced I needed it.
It took baby steps for me to be independent. First, Goodwill staff helped me get a job processing donated goods at one of their stores, and I took to it a bit reluctantly. Eventually being around so many great people and forging friendships with my coworkers helped me see the value in having a job. Everyone treated me the same as they treated everyone else, and I didn’t feel judged that I was different. Gradually this let me come out of my shell and stop defining myself as a deaf person. I was Crystal; finally, I was Crystal.
Seeing the value of work, I knew that I could do it on my own. I could provide for my daughter and find a job with a schedule that matched up with hers more, so I struck out on my own, something I never would have been able to do before Goodwill, and got an interview for a janitorial position at North Desoto High School. I went into the interview with confidence and the knowledge that I could do the job. They agreed with me and I got the job, a full time job with benefits and a steady schedule!
Thanks Goodwill for helping me find myself and become the independent woman and mother I never knew I could be!