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.


Charles worked at a Goodwill store in Ohio for several years as a hanger/sorter. He and his family always took their annual vacation in Florida, always staying at the same condo. When Charles’ parents retired, they decided to sell their big house in Ohio and buy the condo they always stayed in while vacationing in Florida. Charles and his sister moved down to Florida, too.


When Charles lived in Ohio, despite having a disability, he always had his own apartment. Sometimes he had a roommate but, more often than not, he had the place to himself. Since moving to Florida, Charles and his sister have shared an apartment. His sister works and they split the rent. Charles is proud of the fact that, even though his parents pay his portion of the bills, his rent is paid from the money he earns at Goodwill and collects from Social Security.


His first year in Florida, Charles volunteered at Turning Points a few days a week, hanging clothes in its warehouse. While at Turning Points, Charles met someone who introduced to Jamie Bennett of the Boley Center, a not-for-profit that serves individuals with mental disabilities, the homeless, veterans and youth. Jamie helped Charles enroll in Goodwill’s Supported Jobs Plus program, which provides support and resources for workers who are disabled; Charles ended up getting a job as a wares runner at Goodwill's Honore location. Charles had a good schedule, working 20 hours a week. He maintained this schedule when he moved from Honore to the Ranch Lake store and then, finally, to the Cortez Goodwill. Each move brought his work location closer to his apartment, which was important because Charles rides the bus or his bicycle.


Now Charles is excited because he and his sister just signed a lease for a new apartment. It is slightly bigger, has more amenities, and is even closet to work. They should be moved in by the end of the month.


Outside of work, Charles stays very busy. He is very active in his church and often helps out there by serving as a parking lot attendant. He is also an avid reader. At one time he had the goal of being a published author but now is content with writing short stories for his own satisfaction, only allowing a select few (his sister and parents) read them. He also has a Netflix subscription and enjoys watching movies, which he finds relaxing.


Recently, Charles began the process of becoming a Role Model Worker. He took a reading test and scored very well. He also took the knowledge assessment and began work on the classes he needs to enhance his job skills. Charles says the time he spends working on these online classes does a lot to increase his self-confidence and makes him feel more comfortable navigating different sites on the computer.


Charles is a reliable employee who always performs his duties according to his job description. He helps out where he is needed and assists his fellow Team Members and customers in a positive, friendly manner. He has bonded well with his co-workers and regular customers.


Charles is happy to be “enjoying the good life” in Florida and he is proud that he can pay his own way. He is very thankful to Goodwill for his job and for making him feel like a part of a family. It’s what we do …