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.


Jane grew up in New York City. She lived with her parents and four siblings in a modest but clean apartment. Jane was a good student and always got good grades. That is, until she began her sophomore year in high school. She began hanging out with kids who cut class, smoked and drank. They usually went to school in the mornings but by noon they were at the home of one of the kids whose parents were working and had no idea they were there. Other times they would go to the park and spend the day staying out of sight of the police and truant officers. 

 Jane dropped out of school in her junior year. She got a fake ID that would allow her to get into local bars. She began drinking a lot and there was not much her parents could do about it – they had their hands full working and trying to take care of their other four children. One day when
shewas 18, Jane was at a bar with one of her friends. Things began to get out of control and her friend got into an argument with another patron. Jane tried to defend her friend but she did not realize that the man had a knife. Jane was seriously injured. Her friend rushed her to the
hospital. Jane was in a coma for three days and ended up spending a month in the hospital. Once she was discharged, she promised herself that she would not drink any longer and that
she would return to high school and graduate.

 Jane tried to return to her former high school but she learned that since she was now officially an adult, she would need to enroll in adult classes. Those classes sounded too intimidating. She reasoned with herself that she could enroll later on. Instead she decided that she needed to get a job. 

Jane was thrilled when she was hired as an office worker at a financial firm. She put her heart into her new job, performing well and staying at the job for over five years. Then she fell in love and got married. She was very happy – she hoped to keep her job and to go back to school in the evenings to get her high school diploma, which she knew would be important if she wanted to advance at work. However, Jane’s new husband wanted to leave the city. So Jane bid farewell to all her co-workers and moved to another town with her husband.  

Unfortunately, she realized that she married a man she hadn’t known as well as she thought: her husband had a serious drinking problem. By the time she realized the extent of his drinking, her daughter was born and now Jane felt stuck. She was a good mother but she became very depressed because of the situation at home. Over time, her marriage became unbearable. Sometimes when Jane’s husband drank, he became abusive. Jane stayed with him for a little over six years. When she could no longer live that way, she got a divorce.

Jane was by herself and raising her daughter as a single mom. Then she met John and remarried. At the beginning of their marriage, Jane was happy.  But as time went on, John began staying out late and offering flimsy excuses when she questioned him. Things went from bad to worse and Jane began drinking at home. She told herself she was drinking out of loneliness and frustration but she was disappointed that she had broken her promises to herself. She was drinking again and still did not have her high school diploma. After 13 long years, she divorced John.

By this time, Jane’s daughter was grown and on her own. Jane decided to move south and start a new life. But she found that becoming sober was not that easy. After she got to Florida, she was arrested for DUI and lost her driver's license. She ended up in a recovery program at The Salvation Army and then lived in a halfway house for a while. She knew she did not want to end up in jail like so many of the women she had met. It was time to get a job, keep herself busy, and keep the promises she had made to herself when she was 18. But who would hire someone with no high school diploma and no recent work history?

Jane applied for and got a job at Goodwill. She says she loves her job and the people she works with. She also loves the fact that this job comes with a life coach. Jane was able to save money and rent a small efficiency where she will move this month. With the help of her Good Partner Coach, Jane applied to a program that provided her with a free laptop computer. She is looking forward to attending online classes in order to finally get her diploma. She has promised herself once more that she will no longer drink and she feels very confident that she will keep that promise this time.

Jane’s daughter has a great job and was transferred to San Francisco. She has invited her mom to visit. In the meantime, Jane will continue working at Goodwill where she has made some great friends, where she is embarking on the process of finally earning that elusive high school diploma, and where she is earning her own money and can save for whatever she wants – like an airline ticket to California. 

Jane is glad that her life is finally working out exactly how she envisioned it. She is thankful that she works for a company that supports her vision and is helping her to get there. It’s what we do ...