My name is Pablo Gaxiola. On August 7, 2014, I began the journey that has changed my life.
Goodwill of Silicon Valley (San Jose, CA) invited me to attend an orientation for the New Opportunity Work (NOW) program. I came in unsure of what was going to happen with only the smallest bit of hope that something would change. After an initial assessment and orientation I was given a job as an administrative clerk, utilizing experience and skills I learned from spending 15 years in prison.
I was able to draw the attention of the NOW staff, who looked to fill an open position within the program as a peer mentor. This position has enabled me to lead by example, and offer hope to individuals just like myself who may be coming in to our program and need to see that success is possible.
While at Goodwill, I have had the opportunity to grow in all aspects of my life. Professionally, I have been promoted to placement coordinator – a job that allows me to advocate for our program participants, finding them employment outside of Goodwill.
I have also reestablished the relationship with my children and family, and the role I play in the dynamic of my family has moved from a person to worry about, to a man that can be trusted.
In my community I have been appointed as a commissioner in two groups that report to the county board of supervisors. I recognize the additional responsibility that growing has brought into my life, and I feel that being entrusted with that responsibility reinforces my desire to grow.
I came to Goodwill a drastically different person then I am today. I was unsure of myself, lacking self confidence and very afraid. I had an extensive history of failures, of broken promises and many setbacks. Today, I am no longer any of those things – I am confident, self-aware, capable, and most of all, overcome with hope that the future I once feared, is now filled with promise and the fruit of all I have worked to achieve.
Life isn’t perfect and that’s okay because for now things continue to change in and around me. With the support I have from Goodwill and the NOW Program, I am ready to continue to embrace and promote positive change in myself and those I work with.