Venus is the mother of 11 children. She was unemployed for 14 years and on welfare for nine. She hoped things were going to change when the Welfare Reform Act passed, but she didn’t know how.
In October 1998 Venus got a letter from Goodwill’s Employment Works program. Too nervous to open it, she waited for her husband to get home from work. He read the letter to her. It invited her to begin a job search to move toward getting off welfare. Venus was terrified to re-enter the work force after for so long, but she thought, “Someone out there hasn’t given up on me; there’s hope.”
She met with Goodwill’s Employment Works counselor, and began working on a plan to find a job. The program taught her how to create a resume, interview effectively, and gain experience to move toward her goals. Venus always had an interest in law enforcement, and with her counselor’s help, she found a volunteer position with the Department of Corrections.
She approached the position with zeal and put in 40 volunteer hours a week while still caring for her 11 children. Her supervisors were impressed with her work and encouraged her to apply for a full-time position with the department. Simultaneously, Venus’s counselor encouraged her to enroll in college to pursue her long-term vision of one day becoming an attorney.
After six months, with an excellent recommendation from her supervisor, Venus acquired a position as an exchange detective with AAFES at Hickam Air Force Base. She was hired at the Department of Corrections and graduated from the training program December 1, 2000 where she was awarded one of five distinguished honors – and students and teachers voted her the most inspirational. While working, she pursued her studies and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice.
Venus is now a member of the Department of Public Safety Prestigious Honor Guard, and became the senior female officer in her prison module. Venus loves her work and has become a role model for other correctional officers. On May 6, 2005, Venus was honored by the Hawaii Joint Police Association at the 7th Annual Salute to Women in Security & Law Enforcement – an annual event that recognizes the growing number of women and law enforcement who perform full range police and security functions. Venus was awarded with a Certificate of Distinguished Service.
Venus is very grateful to Goodwill for helping her get on track and is excited by all the changes she’s made in her life. Her children are very proud and supportive of her, and she is happy she will be able to offer them more options and opportunities for their future.