#MissionMonday - Andrea

Every Monday, we'll be posting a new story of how our mission has assisted people in the community. Be sure to check back each week for a new and inspirational story of someone who was helped by Goodwill Manasota. Changing lives through the power of work...it's what we do.


Andrea’s parents got divorced when she was very young. She lived mostly in Florida with her mother but there were years when she lived with her dad in another state. Andrea said she really felt alone as a child. When she was old enough, she began to babysit and do other odd jobs around the neighborhood so she could save some money to buy a car. She felt if she had a car, she would be independent and not need to depend on anyone else. She saved all her money and bought a car at age 16.


She said she felt like she was on top of the world. And suddenly she had a whole bunch of new friends.


Andrea was enjoying her newfound popularity – perhaps a little too much. She was going to parties and enjoying her new social life. Her grades began to slip but that did not trouble her – her self-esteem had never been better. Her parents did not know how she was spending her free time or that she had begun going out and drinking with her new friends. One night she was out drinking – and driving – and she had a serious car accident, resulting in the deaths of two people. The court system charged, tried and convicted her as an adult. At the ripe old age of 17, Andrea went to prison.


She served her sentence. While she was in prison, she got her GED and learned some job skills. After her release, she went to live with her father. Andrea faced many challenges readjusting to life outside of prison. Nevertheless, with some counseling and her father’s emotional support, she was getting it together.


Finding an employer who would hire her was another matter altogether. After several months of looking, she gave up and began taking odd jobs to make enough money so that she was not a burden to her father. Things were going pretty well and she began to think she might try applying for work with traditional employers again. Then her mom got sick. She was going to need surgery and a long-term series of treatments afterwards. Andrea decided to move back to Florida so she could help her mother after the surgery.


Once Andrea got to Florida, she knew she needed to find a job quickly since she had used up most of her savings. Once again, she was going to have to deal with the obstacle of her criminal record. She learned about some of the second-chance employers in the area, such as Goodwill. Andrea applied and got a job. She was especially happy when she learned that this job came not only with a good paycheck but also a GoodPartner Coach.


Thankfully, Andrea’s mom made a full recovery. Now Andrea was ready to take her next step. She had a new sense of self-confidence thanks to her employment at Goodwill. She felt that Goodwill had provided her with the chance to prove herself and had taught her how to work hard and be a team player. She wondered what else she might be able to accomplish.


With the help of her GoodPartner Coach, Andrea explored many different career paths. She knew she was ready to consider a long-term career and she thought the area of allied health professions sounded the most interesting. After a few months of researching, she found an employer who would hire and train her. She applied for and got an entry-level position where she would be able to obtain the credentials she needed for her new career.


Andrea left Goodwill to pursue her new career. She says she feels a debt of gratitude to Goodwill for hiring her, teaching her how to be a role model worker, providing her with an income as she moved through a tough time in her life and, finally, helping her figure out what steps to take when she knew it was time to get her life back on track. It’s what we do …