Goodwill Industries Part 2 of 2
Abraham Lincoln has been attributed as saying that the best way to predict your future is to create it. And, create it is exactly what Penny Dickens did when she decided she wanted a part-time job. She marched over to the Senior Citizens building in Washington County, asked if they needed any help, and told them she’d like a job.
Dickens interviewed with representatives of Goodwill Industries and the very next day began employment through the Senior Community Service & Employment Program (SCSEP). The Goodwill SCSEP is a government funded program that is able to pay Senior Citizens to do community service at non-profit and government agencies in the county in which they live while also helping them look for more permanent paid employment. “I was so, so, so happy to have a job!” Dickens said.
Dickens began employment through CKCAC in October of 2019 and has spent the entirety of her placement working at the Washington County Senior Citizens Center. Through her work, Dickens reported that she has learned to have even more patience. “You have to be understanding of what the elderly ask of you,” she explained. “You have to make them feel important – because they are important. I want someone to treat me that way when I get older.”
When Dickens talks about her work at the Senior Citizens Center, she smiles and can recall story after story about the individuals she has encountered through her work. She tells of compliments given to her by an elderly woman who uses a cane to walk. Dickens explained that she holds the arm of this woman and meets her at her car every morning to assist her in the building and then walks her out every afternoon and this lady always tells Dickens, “you are so sweet.”
Dickens indicated that she misses that daily interaction, however. Since the COVID-10 pandemic to keep the seniors safe, the Senior Citizens offices have been closed. Seniors are still being served hot meals each day, but only through a drive thru line. “It’s lonesome now. I miss them,” Dickens said.
Monday through Friday from 9 am – until 1 p.m., you can find Penny at the Senior Center. However, when she isn’t working she’s likely at church or with her family. Dickens has 2 sons and 1 daughter. Dickens lost her oldest daughter in a car wreck about 5 years ago. She also has 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. She praised each child and grandchild separately for their accomplishments in life. She also has 4 brothers and 4 sisters of whom she is the oldest. “And, they all love to tell that,” she joked. “I got to gamily get togethers and dance a little bit. I like to have fun. I like to take walks. I love my church and I read the Bible a lot. I have all kinds of love and I like being good to and helping people.”
Seniors interested in applying for a job through Goodwill Industries should reach out to Kimberly Culliton, SCSEP Coordinator, at (270) 823-6193. Culliton can also assist non-profit and government agencies by placing senior citizens in community service assignments at their facilities. Please visit www.goodwill.org/scsep/ for more information.