My Story: Haley Paone

I’ve had a very rough past. When I was young, my three-year old brother died of unknown causes.  I’ve had a lot of problems dealing with the loss over the years. To make things worse, I have bipolar disorder, which I could never control.

I attended public school for a while, then I became home-schooled at the age of 15. I went to a boarding school in North Carolina for five months then came back to home schooling later that year. I was hospitalized at Rush Children’s Hospital’s psychiatric unit in Chicago. I could no longer deal with the loss of my brother or my bipolar disorder.

When I got released from the hospital I started a new home school program and graduated high school at the age of 16 with a 3.7 GPA. It felt great to graduate, and I felt a lot of pride in myself. After finishing high school, I went to South Valley Community College and graduated from the CNA program. Things were going well for a while, but then at the age of 17, I was sent to another hospital, the Streamwood Behavioral Health Center  in Chicago.

After returning from there, I started dealing with a lot of issues from my disorder and I couldn’t concentrate on any one thing. At this time, I had a job as a CNA and lost it due to poor attendance. I started seeing a Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) counselor and worked with her on getting my life turned around.

After working with DRS, I applied to Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois’ “Let’s Go To Work” program, a supportive work program that helps individuals with barriers gain valuable work experience and training. I worked in the back sorting and hanging clothes. I was very excited about this opportunity because I knew I would need to work in order to get better.

I was hired in June 2013, and worked with my job coach on my work skills. After a few months of working in the “Let’s Go To Work” program, there was a job opening for a cashier’s position at Goodwill. My job coach and I worked on the application together, and I was called for an interview.

A few days later I was offered the job, and found out I would be getting more hours. I was very excited for this opportunity, and I know without the help and support of my job coach in Goodwill I would have never been able to move into a competitive job. I love working for Goodwill and I would like to thank them for giving me a second chance.

5 comments on “My Story: Haley Paone
  1. As Haleys former job coach she has done leaps and bounds since starting with Goodwill. She has overcome many trials in her life and will continue to overcome more. I am very proud to have had her as an employee. She will continue on to do great things.

  2. Ilove your story. Right now i work at the Goodwill in Oshkosh,wi through Dvr and love it. After my work experince i hope to get a job at a new store that will be opening by me. Ialso have bipolor.

  3. Wow that’s a very powerful and encouraging testimony! I’m proud of you for arising above your situation and making good things happen in your life. Keep up the hard work and doors will continue to open!!! God Bless You.

  4. Haleys story captivated me in the first minute she said she had lost her best friend & brother. I knew right away the feelings she was living with were due to her loss. I have close friends that lost a child at age two. That child had an older sister. They were two years apart in age.
    Haley, you are an inspiration for others trying to cope with loss. My heart was with you as soon as I knew why you were hoarding items. I felt your pain in many ways. No child should die before their time and that is something many of us need help to cope with. You are not alone. We all express the loss in different ways. I will keep you and Mikey in my thoughts and prayers.

    I am happy and proud you are finding your way and living your life. You have to go on for yourself and Mikey too.

  5. Sweet Haley, you have lost so much. I pray that you will get help/counseling for your loss.
    It’s ok to be angry, sad, lost etc. Depression from loss is real and I truly understand it as I lost my dad in ’09. I got so depressed and had anxiety. With counseling and meds I balanced out.
    I believe in you. You are one in a million.
    I’m so sorry for your loss of your brother. Love and hugs Norma

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