#MissionMonday - Donna

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.



Before being sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison, Donna worked in retail and held a position in store management. Little did she know that the course of her
life was about to change. When an isolated incident resulted in her arrest, Donna was quickly transported from an environment of store labels to the world of a prison inmate, where she was tagged with a label she will wear forever: convicted felon.

Donna describes herself as an adaptable person. While in jail, that trait helped her cope with the day-to-day harshness of prison life. Donna says she has not allowed that one bad incident in the past to define who she is as a person.

Donna was released from federal prison last December. One month later, she was a new Team Member at Goodwill Manasota. After applying for several jobs and being turned away, Donna said that Goodwill was the only employer that gave her a chance. 

During her initial appointment with her Career Development Facilitator (CDF) at a Goodwill Job Connection office, Donna said she felt certain that God led her there that day. When she walked through the Job Connection door, she knew that this was where she was supposed to be and that “good things were going to happen." When her CDF shared that she felt exactly the same thing, they both got goosebumps. The CDF went on to say that there was a newly-posted position she felt Donna would be perfect for. That same day, her CDF arranged a meeting with the HR recruiter, who scheduled an interview with the store's Team Leader Coach.

It's been seven months and Donna continues to thrive at Goodwill. With the support of her GoodPartner Coach, she recently completed her Role Model Worker certification and is excited about receiving her new gold badge at the next Recognition Breakfast. Donna regularly meets with her probation officer and feels hopeful about her future. She looks forward to growing within the Goodwill organization. 

In a recent visit with her CDF, Donna conveyed her mother's gratitude as well as her own. She said that her mother asks about her all the time and prays for her every day. Then Donna spoke some of the most fulfilling words a CDF can hear, "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have had this opportunity."

Donna explained that she may want to re-enroll in the Job Connection program, not to leave Goodwill for a higher-paying position but to find additional employment. She needs the extra income to cover some unexpected medical expenses for her mother and she would rather work a second job part-time than leave her home at Goodwill.  She loves the feeling of teamwork here and the second chance she's been given.  Most of all, Donna appreciates the fact that she has never felt judged. No matter what label she may carry from her past, at Goodwill, Donna wears the label of "Acceptance."

It’s what we do ...