All She Needed Was A Chance

From left to right: Carole Piver, Heyssi Diaz, Kevin Perez, Joan Shepard

For the last several years, Dollar Tree in Smithfield has worked with Johnston County Industries (JCI) allowing Employment Specialists to bring in clients to view the work atmosphere.  It also gives them the opportunity to observe what employment options are available at retail stores.

One such client brought in recently was Heyssi Diaz.

When Heyssi was a baby in Cuba, she became ill with a high fever.  She survived but lost her hearing. When she grew older she realized she needed assistance from JCI finding a job.

Dollar Tree manager Debbie Pulley interviewed Heyssi for a stocker position and immediately felt she would do a good job.

“Heyssi was very excited about the opportunity for employment with Dollar Tree.  She came in with her interpreter, Kevin Perez, who I initially was told would accompany her every day, along with her Employment Specialist, Joan Shepard.  So I thought, if they are willing to come in with her at 5 am, then they really must believe in her.”

“Kevin was only needed on the first day because Heyssi was able to understand her duties as instructed.  When we remodeled the snack zone area of the store, Heyssi was a part of it from start to finish so she is in charge of this area now.  She has done an awesome job and is proof that if you give someone a chance they can exceed your expectations”, explained Pulley.

Heyssi Diaz and Debbie Pulley

Heyssi is excited and proud of her new job. “My Vocational Rehabilitaion Counselor, Ms. Carole Piver referred me to JCI for assistance in finding a job.  Ms. Joan Shepard, my Employment Specialist with JCI arranged for me to interview at the Dollar Tree.  Joan, my interpreter and I met with Debbie and she hired me on the spot and I very much appreciate JCI for helping me find work.”

“I like everything about my job. It is enjoyable,” Heyssi said. “My co-workers and my supervisor are wonderful and very supportive and I am very appreciative and very proud of them.”

Heyssi, Monica Blanco, and Magali Carillo work closely together.  Heyssi has taught them the alphabet and other signs in Spanish.  She also reads lips and has an app on her phone that helps with communication.

“Working here in this position, everything has been seamless and I really appreciate everyone for helping me,” Heyssi said.