Before Jane first connected with Goodwill Manasota, life was not at all how she had hoped it would be. Her husband was in jail and she had lost the apartment they had been renting. Finding herself homeless, she moved into the Salvation Army. She needed a job but, with a felony arrest on her record (the charges were dropped but the arrest wasn’t removed), she was concerned about whether she would be able to find work.
Jane eventually made her way to one of Goodwill’s Job Connection offices and the Career Development Facilitator helped her get an interview for a position at Goodwill. She was interviewed and hired the same day as a cashier. Soon after, she learned how to price wares. She found that she really liked and was good at it. Now that she had a steady paycheck, she was able to rent a new apartment, and Goodwill even helped her with a little bit of furniture. Jane maintained her employment with Goodwill for about two years.
Her husband was released about six months after Jane started work and her Team Leader Coach (TLC) put in a good word for him. He was also employed at Goodwill for about seven years until he passed away. Jane was devastated by her husband’s death and told her TLC she needed some time before she could come back to work. A short time later, Jane went to the Goodwill office to sign some papers regarding the life insurance policy the company had provided for her husband, as they do for all Goodwill team members. During this visit, she ran into the operations director who told her, “As soon as you are ready to come back to work, you have a job here.”
Both Jane and her husband had struggled in the past with drug addiction but, prior to her husband’s death, she had gotten clean and was enrolled in a recovery program. Still very new at this, she decided to meet with a counselor to work through her grief in a healthy way so she would not relapse. Eventually, she felt she was ready to return to work. She interviewed with a TLC who she had worked with previously and was rehired.
Jane has been back at Goodwill Manasota now for several years and she says, “I LOVE MY JOB!” She says that Goodwill was there for her when she was first hired and then again during those early days after her husband passed away. Like a family, her co-workers provided her with meals and a sense of belonging at a time when she was feeling lost after the death of her husband. She says she has received a lot of support at Goodwill and now she encourages others to reach out to her for support when they are struggling.
Jane has seen other team members on the verge of losing their housing but hold on to it with the help of their GoodPartner Coach and their TLC. She reports that she hasn’t needed a lot of resources since being rehired, like she did when she first came to Goodwill. But she remembers how important the support she received was and how much it meant to her back in those early days as well as after her husband passed away.
Now Jane is a huge advocate of Goodwill and its mission programs. She talks about its mission all the time, whether she is speaking with team members, people looking for work, customers ... pretty much anyone who will listen! She doesn’t hesitate to tell others about the benefits of Job Connection, the Good Partner Coach program, the Veterans Services Program, and Goodwill’s many educational programs, which employees are often able to benefit from while on the clock.
Jane is glad that Goodwill was there when she needed help — and she is thankful that now she can be part of the support system for her colleagues when they are struggling. It’s what we do …