LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For 10 years, one Louisville woman has been struggling to balance finding a job while dealing with a neurological disorder. But thanks to the help from one nonprofit organization, she was able to find her dream job that helps her cope with her symptoms.

What You Need To Know

  • Jenni Riggs is a team lead at Goodwill

  • Riggs was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder in 2021

  • Goodwill provides resources and programs to employees with the organization

Since Jenni Riggs started working at Goodwill three years ago, she’s loved every minute.

“Help customers find what they need and want, seeing the smiles on their face makes me so happy,” Riggs said.

But that wasn’t always the case. In Oct. 2021, Riggs was diagnosed with a medical condition called Functional Neurological Disorder that affects how the brain and body send or receive signals.

Jenni Riggs, team lead at Goodwill in Louisville helping a customer shop. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson)

“[It was] shaking hands, difficulty walking, difficulty moving my limbs and loss of speech,” Riggs said. “I had an anxiety attack at one of my last jobs and lost my speech and I didn’t even realize that it was attached to FND.”

FND prevented Riggs from keeping a job, as she never knows when symptoms will come and go. That was, until she got hired at Goodwill.

“I have to usually sit down and collect myself and get my cane and sometimes if I need to they’ll let me listen to music,” Riggs said. “If my emotions get sensitive, I have my pseudo chew that I can chew on to relieve stress.”

In 10 years, Riggs has had 10 jobs, and she says she has finally found the perfect fit. Goodwill provides necessary resources and programs like Cars to Work—where in Riggs’ case, since she can’t drive, she gets carpooled to and from work.

“We affect tens of thousands of people per year just with our program services,” said Kyle Williams, communications coordinator with Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “We assist people with financial literacy, digital literacy, whether it be cars to work—that’s one of our programs that offers secured auto loans to those who may not qualify for an auto loan.”

For Riggs, it’s a company she’s proud to be a part of.

“We are able to help people, get them on their feet, give a hand up instead of a handout and just… Every purchase here helps somebody just like me. And I’m just thankful I’m able to be a part of this,” Riggs said.

This is Jenni Riggs’ longest job as she has been with Goodwill for three years and was just recently promoted to team lead.