#MissionMonday - Donald

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.


JoeDonald’s neighbor told him about Goodwill Manasota’s Job Connection program after he had suffered a heart attack, causing his career as a personal trainer to come to an immediate halt.  His new medical condition had thrust him into a world of unemployment and uncertainty.  Donald had been a personal trainer for the past 30+ years and was used to working for himself, setting his own hours and making a livable wage.  Donald’s neighbor knew someone who worked at Goodwill and passed along Donald’s contact information.  It wasn’t long before Donald was contacted by Antonia, one of the Career Development Facilitators, and had an appointment scheduled to meet with her.

Donald and Antonia talked about his work experience and how much he’d enjoyed helping his clients reach their fitness goals.  However, when it came to talking about the types of jobs he would be interested in applying for now, Donald became overwhelmed and felt defeated by his new physical limitations.  He wasn’t sure he would be able to find anything that he’d be qualified for and was convinced that he would never make the amount of money he would need to keep his house.  He thought he was too old to learn how to use the computer, which he was convinced any new jobs would require. 

Antonia ensured Donald that he had many transferrable skills and helped him identify his strengths and weaknesses.  Donald admitted he was computer illiterate, which made job hunting seem even more impossible to him.  Antonia showed Donald how to use several job search websites and conducted an online search with him. 

Donald and Antonia came across a mentoring position, which included working with customers with disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, severe mental health disorders, and a variety of other neurological impairments.  Donald had never worked with that population; however, Antonia convinced him that he had all the skills needed to succeed as a Life Skills Coach.  He was excited about the possibility of working with individuals one-on-one again and encouraging them to set and reach different kinds of goals. 

Antonia worked with Donald to create a resume, which highlighted his ability to establish rapport with customers, work with them to set up a plan, and motivate them towards achieving their dreams.  Donald and Antonia completed the online application and Antonia coached Donald on how to follow up on his application.  Antonia showed Donald how to research the company he’d applied at and provided him with information about the barriers that people with neurological disabilities face in their daily lives.  She also worked with him on identifying situations he could use during his interview, to demonstrate his ability to resolve situations and provide excellent customer service. 

Donald was granted an interview, and despite being very nervous, he aced it! He was offered the job and was very excited to get back to work.  Finally, he was feeling confident about his ability to succeed. 

Antonia checked on Donald several weeks after starting is new job.  He was full of stories and talked about all the things he had learned and people he’d met.  Donald thanked Antonia for all her help and unwavering confidence in him and exclaimed, “What do you know, I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!”  Antonia laughed and said, “It’s what we do.”