Hi, my name is Socorro. I have always been very shy due to the fact that I am deaf and my primary method of communication is American Sign Language (ASL). A language less than one-percent of the US population speaks fluently. This apprehension has prohibited me of securing a job most of my life but I wanted a new life and I knew I was the only obstacle standing in my way.
Seeking out Goodwill of North Georgia was one of the best decisions of my life. I started training at Big Lots through Goodwill’s Workforce Development program. I worked with different coaches to identify other ways to communicate on the job, like lip reading, and using my phone to text. I also learned that engaging a customer or my colleagues with a smile, wave or eye contact was sometimes the simplest ways to communicate. Being so grateful for this opportunity, I quickly proved my strong work ethic and willingness to work with others at the store. My store manager and district team lead, Brian Lockley, took notice and offered me a permanent position at the store.
Store merchandising became second nature for me. I am currently the team lead at my store on product merchandising. I ensure shelves are fully stocked on the sales floor and help keep a clean, orderly look at the store to enhance customer experience. My number one priority is to ensure customers are receiving adequate assistance and care. I am in constant communication with consumers who need to be pointed in the right direction and I could not be happier doing it.
Shortly after joining the Big Lots team, I was identified as an associate with a keen eye for merchandising and organization. Since then, I have been invited to lead regional merchandising training for Big Lots Southeastern division. How’s that for a leap from my shy past. If someone were to tell me I would be in a leadership role five years ago, I probably would not have believed it.
Goodwill has helped me realize so much about myself. I can confidently walk in front of a mirror and say to myself, you are resilient, determined, hardworking, positive, innovative, supportive, considerate, king and deeply loyal. Even though I am living with a disability, I embrace all situations with an optimistic outlook and a willingness to find a solution.
My end goal is to go back to school and become a kindergarten teacher for deaf children. I have a strong desire to show others, especially children, there are alternative ways to communicate and get a job done. I hope that I can empower children with disabilities to realize their full potential rather than shying away from opportunity due to their differences.