"Goodwill gave me an opportunity. This place is really a blessing for me."
For most of his life, Armando Diaz Flores had worked in the construction field as a handyman both in Puerto Rico and in Philadelphia where he lived before he and his family moved to Buffalo eight years ago. He’ll tell you that “life was hard” for him, his wife and two children. Even though he worked “24/7” there never seemed to be enough money in his pocket to provide for himself and his family. His situation was further complicated when his landlord decided to change his lease and raise his rent, demanding $3000 in payment that Armando just did not have. He was forced to turn to the Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS) for assistance with his housing issue. Armando was referred to Goodwill’s welfare to work program from ECDSS to complete 90 days of mandatory work hours. He was placed in Goodwill’s Contract Manufacturing Services division, “learned something every single day” and decided he “wanted to be here – until retirement” as an employee after completing his required hours. He was determined to better himself and his family.
Armando set out to prove himself by showing that he wanted to work and by “coming in every day to do what is needed”. He was inspired by his coworkers who had challenges far greater than his and thought “if they can do it, I can do it”. Once shown his task each day he immediately went to work, always focused on improving over the previous day. As time went on, he established himself as a high performer. He also worked with those around him, showing them what needed to be done and answering questions they might have. Armando very quickly became the “go-to guy” for his fellow program participants. Every day he would show up with a smile on his face and a kind word for those around him because “people work better when someone cares”. Armando’s hard work and kind nature led him to a full time position with the Goodwill Contract Manufacturing Services team.
When asked about how life has changed for him, Armando immediately talks about his children. Nothing makes him happier than having a steady job that allows him to come home from work and sit in the living room waiting for them to come home from school. He also proudly talks about his “Daddy Saturday” where he was able to bring his children to Goodwill to show them “where daddy works”. Armando explains how he “left a legacy” in all the buildings he worked on when he was in the construction field. He plans to leave a legacy at Goodwill too, and we believe he will!