LauraSDM1El Cajon Corps volunteer

By Lizeth Beltran –

Each day spent in the station wagon was one more day the children had to endure without a home or food. With four children to take care of, and one more on the way, things were not looking good for the Goodrick family.

They emigrated from Vancouver, Canada, to Southern California in the 1960s to find a better life. Optimism was keeping the family afloat.

Although the move was supposed to be for the better, the Goodricks found themselves living in their station wagon on the beach, eating canned food, with only 27 cents to their name.

Through The Salvation Army, the Goodricks were able to find employment, a new home and some peace of mind.

Canadian native, Laura Goodrick, student at San Diego State University, recalls the story of her grandparents’ struggle to raise her father and his siblings. Her family history fueled her motivation to become a volunteer for The Salvation Army.

“The worst-case scenario happened,” she said. “[My grandmother] had my uncle prematurely, two months early, and The Salvation Army came in and helped. They found a place for my grandparents, my father and his siblings to live.”

The Salvation Army also assisted the Goodricks with their medical expenses acquired from the premature birth. “They [hospital] were very diligent with the bills, charging for cotton swabs, and [my grandparents] had no money, so The Salvation Army really stepped in,” she said.

“If it weren’t for The Salvation Army, I don’t know where I would be, let alone my dad and his siblings, because without their help, my grandparents could not have gotten back on their feet and helped their family out,” she said.

Goodrick volunteers at The Salvation Army El Cajon Corps, where she works with seniors at the nearby Silvercrest.

“I called my nana and told her I was looking into volunteering and I decided I wanted to help out The Salvation Army. She was overjoyed,” she said. “I thought it was a good time for me to get back into volunteering and give back the way they helped my family.”

Goodrick emphasized that she chose to work with seniors because they hold a special place in her heart.

“A lot of people forget about the seniors,” she said. “I love having conversations with my nana. We have to remember that they matter.”

Since May 2014, Goodrick has helped lead summer programs like the Senior Olympics at the center. “We host a number of activities for the seniors,” she said. “They get to play basketball, lawn bowling, and target practice with bean bags.” Seniors who participate in the Senior Olympics activities also receive certificates from Goodrick.

In December 2014, Goodrick also began running an art program for the seniors, where she said she feels right at home. “Sometimes you get the feeling that they [seniors] don’t get to talk too much,” she said. “They don’t get the chance to be social very often beyond their peers. They have such great life advice and stories to tell, they just need someone to listen,” she said. Goodrick wants to encourage other young people to give some of their time to seniors in their communities. “I have to point out to others that we cannot forget about our seniors,” she said. “They built us and worked so we can live the life we live today. We have to give back to them.”.

“I feel really happy that I get to partake in this great organization and help out other people,” she said. “My grandmother is now 87 years old. The Salvation Army made a huge impact on my family’s life, and I will forever be grateful.”

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