Meet Liliana Balderas

College Student

“Goodwill helped me take control of my life and my future. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

“Goodwill helped me take control of my life and my future. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
-Liliana, College Student

One day Liliana’s world radically changed. Her family fled a dangerous situation and they found refuge at St. Louise House,  a Goodwill partner agency.

Liliana had once dreamed of attending college and becoming an English professor, but it was such a tumultuous time for Liliana and her family – she just wanted stability. She put her dreams on hold.

Linda, a Goodwill Case Manager, saw a fire in Liliana and knew she had to re-spark that enthusiasm. She began meeting with Liliana at the shelter and told her about a training program through the International Hotel Group, and signed Liliana up for an interview with Stephen F. Austin Hotel. Through our Job Readiness Boot Camp training, Liliana prepared for the interview: finessing her resume, perfecting her outfit (she found an amazing vintage dress at Goodwill!), and practicing her all-important “elevator speech.”

Liliana walked into her interview so confidently that the managers at Stephen F. Austin knew immediately that she was someone special. You see, Liliana rode the elevator with the hiring manager, and didn’t even realize it. She was her normal self – respectful and professional – and even told her fellow passenger a little about herself on the way up (the very meaning of an elevator speech!). The manager selected her to cross train with the hotel IT and food service crew. She aced her training and was hired on immediately afterwards.

This fall, Liliana started a new phase of her journey: pursuing an English major at Concordia University. She’s very excited about her future. “I would never have gotten the confidence to move forward with my college dreams if Goodwill hadn’t been there for me and given me the stability I needed,” she says. “They gave me back the hope that I’d lost.”