Anna graduated high school with honors. She had never gotten into trouble until April of 2018, when she was at a restaurant and got into a shouting match with the manager. Anna says she recognizes that, in those days, she “had an attitude” and perhaps even an anger management issue. Another customer in the restaurant called the police. An officer approached and then grabbed her. “I stupidly fought back and was arrested.”
Anna was sentenced to 36 months in jail. The length of this sentence gave her quite a bit of time to reflect on what she had done. She vowed that she would never put herself in such a situation again. During her last year of incarceration, Anna was offered a chance to enter a work release/residential program called The Bradenton Bridge. At around that same time, The Bradenton Bridge approached Goodwill Manasota about embarking on a partnership. The program allows people in jail to work, pay restitution or fines, save money and still be a part of the community, instead of being locked up. Anna jumped at the opportunity.
Anna was the first person to participate in this program. Participants first go through Goodwill’s Job Connection program to learn how to build a resume, handle a job interview, and assess their career goals.
In December of 2019, Anna was hired at Goodwill. She says this was the first regular job she ever had. “I learned valuable job skills I will have for the rest of my life.”
Earlier this month Anna graduated from The Bradenton Bridge. Now she lives in Jacksonville with her family. Her Goodwill Manasota case manager put her in touch with the Goodwill organization there; Anna is hoping to secure a job with the Goodwill in North Florida.
Anna wanted to say something to the people who gave her a hand up: “Thank you, Goodwill Manasota, for changing my life and teaching me humility.”