Amy grew up in an abusive house in New York City and sustained injuries that caused permanent damage to her vision. As a teenager, she moved out of her home to live with her grandparents where things started to look better for her.
Amy worked odd jobs until her eyesight made it difficult to continue working. Her vision had reached a point where she couldn’t see well enough to walk independently and eventually had to work in a sheltered workshop making piece-rate wages; not nearly enough to cover her expenses. Amy was then referred to the Commission for the Blind in New York City, where she learned how to get around with a cane. The Commission also helped her get a job at Goodwill in Manhattan. Everything started going well until her grandparents passed away.
Having no remaining family in New York, Amy’s aunt in Florida flew her down to live with her. Once in Florida, Amy started to get depressed. She had no friends, and no one would hire her because of her poor eyesight. One day she had a chance encounter with Leigh Ann Bellamy from the Florida Division of Blind Services in Sarasota which changed her life completely.
Leigh Ann assigned Amy a Job Coach and told her about the Supported Jobs Plus program at Goodwill Manasota. Amy had shopped at one of the stores in the past and mentioned that everyone there was so nice to her. Leigh Ann got in touch with Morgan Howell from Goodwill and set up a meeting. Once Morgan heard about Amy’s experience at the Goodwill in New York, he offered her a job.
That was a year ago. Today, Amy says she is having the time of her life. With a steady job and good pay, she is able to pay her bills on her own, and best of all, she can go shopping and go to restaurants anytime she wants--something she has never been able to do before. Amy says that Goodwill is her new family; they took a chance on her and gave her hope when she had none. It’s what we do…