#MissionMonday - Helen

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.

Helen was having trouble finding a job. She explains that when she was younger, she was sometimes a little too trusting.

Some friends took advantage of her trusting nature and Helen went to jail for drug-related charges and for passing bad checks.


Helen learned her lesson but now that she had served her sentence, she couldn’t find an employer who was willing to hire her. Before her arrest, she had worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant but, of course, that job was now out of the question given her criminal record.


A friend referred Helen to the Goodwill Job Connection at Selby and she made an appointment to see the Career Development Facilitator (CDF). Carlos met with her and helped her create a resume. He also talked with her about the possibility of applying for an exemption so that she could work in the health industry again. He explained that the process included submitting a number of documents to Tallahassee. Helen would also have to provide evidence that things had changed and that she would not be a risk to anyone she was caring for if she was to work in the health care field again.


Helen was interested in pursuing an exemption but she also needed a job right now. She was living in cramped quarters with her family and she had no money as well as a significant amount of debt. She had no idea how she was going to resolve all of these troubling issues. Carlos told Helen about a job fair that was taking place at the Job Connection and encouraged her to participate. Helen attended the job fair, interviewed with a Goodwill human resources staff member and got a job working at a Goodwill Attended Donation Center.


Now that she was working at Goodwill, Helen learned that she had a Good Partner Coach. Her coach encouraged her to continue working on the paperwork for her exemption and helped her think through other long and short- term goals as well. Returning in some capacity to the health care arena was definitely at the top of her list. Helen also wanted to get her own apartment.


She enrolled in Goodwill’s Homebuyers Club and took some classes on financial literacy. Her coach helped her to apply for HUD housing and Helen was delighted when the Housing Authority approved her application and she was able to move into her own place. The budgeting classes she took helped her realize she could make different decisions about how she was spending her money – she learned about prioritizing the things you need over the things you want.  The class prompted her to cancel her cable service and suddenly Helen found she was saving at least $200 per month. Now Helen was finally in a position to begin paying off some of that debt.


Helen kept working at Goodwill and took full advantage of every opportunity a job at Goodwill affords – and there were many. She took Goodwill Works classes and became a Certified Role Model Worker. She received numerous promotions and watched as her paycheck grew. She was paying off her debt and she continued meeting regularly with her coach and CDF. She was persistent and she was patient.  It took three years but, eventually, her exemption came through. Helen could now return to the health care industry to work if she chose to do so.


However, Helen had grown to love her Goodwill family and to value her job there. She decided she would continue to work at Goodwill. She would also apply to home health care facilities and use her HHA certificate for overnight shifts with elderly people who need home health care.


Helen is amazed when she considers her achievements since coming to Goodwill. She is a Certified Role Model Worker, she has her own apartment, she is able work again in the health care field, and she has put a sizable dent in the debt she had incurred. She is excited about meeting with her coach again to talk about setting new goals.


Working at Goodwill has shown Helen that she can dream big dreams and actually see them come to fruition. It’s what we do …