Kristel Ramirez's Story

"I feel very grateful to the people who donate things."

Featuring: Kristel Ramirez; Bishop Johnson, Kristel’s bishop; Katie, DI developmental counselor; Trina, DI job coach; Austin, DI associate; Chyrese, DI associate; Heidi, DI associate; Cynthia, DI donor; Marx, Kristel’s husband

Kristel – My name is Kristel Ramirez, and I come from Peru. I have a daughter. She is three years old, and I got married with my husband five years ago. I really like and love being with my husband and my daughter.

Bishop Johnson – When Kristel and Marx moved into our ward, he couldn’t get employed and she couldn’t get enough hours to even hardly pay the rent. You can always provide housing or food, but the real call is to say, “How can they provide for themselves, and how do they gain the resources and tools and motivation that they need?” I suggested that they go to the DI. And the DI does a very good job of training and helping people so that they can better their situation.

Katie – DI helps people to become more than they are. It takes them in a situation in which somewhere they’ve struggled in life, and it can give them that confidence that they need to experience success.

Kristel was undereducated, underemployed for what her potential was. One of the neat things that occurred with Kristel is that she had a job coach that saw her for her potential immediately—that didn’t see a lack of English or a lack of job experience as something that would hold her down.

Trina – And what do you think your long-term goal would be—like five years down the road?

Kristel – Trina, my job coach, she asked me, what are my goals? I told her I would like to get my certificate as a nurse’s assistant. I told her I would like to speak English. Also, when I tried to look at jobs, like CNA, they need the GED diploma. So I just tell her, “I would like to get my GED diploma.” And she said, “Yes! Yes! We have a program here at DI that they help you to get your GED diploma.” And I was really surprised because I never was thinking, “I can do it at the DI.”

Trina – When Kristel comes up with her own ideas of what she wants to accomplish, we get more accomplished together that way. Sometimes she’s not sure where to start, and so we talk about how we can help her. One of the first things I did with Kristel is, I arranged to pay for her CNA exam. She had no idea that DI was set up to do those kinds of things, and she was full of gratitude.

Bishop Johnson – When I was first called as bishop, I didn’t realize the great source that was available at the DI. The more resources you have, you are better able to strengthen people. We’ve sent many people there that are struggling or needing help, and they are able to find the help that they need.

Katie – I want every bishop to understand that we’re here to serve them. We’re here to counsel with them about the individuals in their ward and how we can help them best.

Austin – I had been referred to Deseret Industries from my bishop. I was looking for a job, and there weren’t a lot of options available to me at the time. As I started working here and working with the team that was here to support me, I was able to develop some of that confidence and start to formulate goals that would change my life.

Chyrese – I came to the DI because I had gotten laid off from my previous job. I’m actually in the process to be certified as a CNA, and then I’m planning on becoming an RN eventually.

Heidi – I struggled through high school a lot. I didn’t really have friends. I didn’t do well. I honestly believed that I wasn’t going to go on to do anything. When I was here, that’s when it starts inching up on the scale, like “I can do this!” Compared to two years ago, when I first started here, I am on top of the world. I’m really, really good at my job. I’ve trained people. I am in charge when the boss is not around. I honestly say that most skills that I use there I learned at the Deseret Industries program.

Kristel – With the help of the DI, I reached my goals. I passed my GED test. I passed my CNA. I passed my English skills. All those things make a big difference for me.

Trina – Kristel is so grateful for what she was given here at the DI that she wants to give back.

Kristel – They helped me; now it’s my turn to help them. I volunteer. I teach a class at the DI for girls that would like to be a CNA too, like me, to get their certification.

Trina – DI is for everybody. DI is a great place where you can donate. DI is a great place where you can shop.

Kristel – I feel very grateful to the people that donate things. Those donations make it possible for me to work.

Cynthia – I realize the DI is not there to sell our used items. It’s there to train people, and now I’m even more willing to donate my used but good items to the DI.

Chyrese – I hadn’t realized that the donations were helping to pay for those people to get that training, so that means a lot to me.

Trina – DI is so much more than a thrift store. It is a place where people’s lives are transformed.

Kristel – I never could imagine that there is a place like DI. Without the DI, I think that I would still be looking for a job.

Marx – As a family, we are saving money for a house, for the down payment. We have a better horizon of where to go. DI has been a great help in our family and a great blessing.

Bishop Johnson – If you look at the Savior, when He was on the earth, most of the things He did were helping and encouraging people, helping them realize what their potentials were. The DI does that.

Katie – Jesus Christ always served the individual, and that’s something that Deseret Industries is very concerned with. It’s a place where miracles occur because people come to believe in themselves again and begin to have hope that there is something better for them out there.