When Taylor Devenport was young, she says she was a fearful little girl who was afraid of her own shadow. Born two months premature, she faced developmental delays that led to struggles in reading, writing and math. While in high school, she needed extra time to complete class work and was enrolled in special education classes to address her learning challenges.
As she was taking special education classes, she was referred to the school-to-work program operated by Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin (Menasha). Working in a Goodwill store was her first job experience, and it equipped her with the self-confidence and job and leadership skills she needed to be successful. During her time at Goodwill, she built valuable skills that led to her receiving several job promotions and sustained employment.
Today, Taylor is a senior job coach and works in the La Crosse Goodwill store coaching and mentoring job seekers and team members. She is a role model and inspiration to her peers and team leaders. One team mate referred to her as, “the sunshine of Goodwill.” Taylor often applies her personal experience and unique point of view when helping others, including creating visual aids to help those struggling with written or verbal instructions, teaching others how to ask questions when they do not understand and believing that everyone can succeed.
“I love helping people,” she says. “It makes me feel good inside.”
In recognition of how far she’s come from seeking Goodwill services to happily providing assistance to others as a senior job coach, Taylor recently received the Goodwill Industries International 2023 Achiever of the Year award. The award goes to a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.
Hear Taylor tell her story in her own words.