#MissionMonday - Jill

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.


Jill moved to the United States after her husband learned he had Parkinson’s disease. For the first few years after his diagnosis, Joe had been able to continue working with little to no issues. He had had a long and successful professional career and had provided well for his family. Jill had never needed to work, and instead, volunteered and was active at her son’s school. The Parkinson’s disease had put Joe at a higher risk for stroke- and that is exactly what happened. He suffered a major stroke. He also learned he had cancer. Joe could no longer work and he lost his healthcare coverage. The family was overwhelmed with financial burden. After much thought and heartbreak, they decided to relocate closer to Joe’s family in Florida. 

Things were looking up once they got to Florida. Joe’s new doctors treated his cancer aggressively and he went into remission. The stroke had done some damage and the Parkinson’s was continuing to take its toll.  With the cost of relocation and the major drain on their savings and retirement funds for medical expenses, Jill and Joe found themselves in a position they never dreamed could happen. They were now living solely on Joe’s social security benefits. 

For the first time in her life, Jill needed to go to work. She had no idea how to find a job. Everything in the States was different from the way things worked on her small island in the Caribbean. Jill was completely out of her comfort zone. One day she walked into Goodwill and applied for a job and met with a Team Leader Coach. He made her feel comfortable and seemed to have faith in her abilities. Before she knew it, the folks at Goodwill had offered her a job. 

On her first day of work, Her Team Leader Coach introduced Jill to a GoodPartner Coach, who helps team members with personal and job related goals and other needs. They discussed how uncomfortable Jill felt about having her first job at nearly 60 years of age. Her Coach knew that this adjustment was going to take some time for Jill, so they talked extensively about how to make her first job a positive experience. 

Jill’s first few days at work were tough, but she was determined to be successful because now her family was counting on her to earn a paycheck. Every day on her break Jill and her Coach would discuss things such as how hard it was to get along with co-workers and deal with customers. As time progressed, their conversations began to center more on Jill’s goals and how her husband and son were doing. Slowly, Jill was getting comfortable in her very first job. Now that her husband was on Medicare and Jill had a steady paycheck, she felt things were looking up.

Jill says that Goodwill took a chance on her and she is thankful that the support and encouragement that Goodwill gave her. She says she now has the courage and self-confidence that she was lacking. She also says this experience has given her real insight into other people’s perspectives and opinions she had never before encountered.  Those new perspectives have been helpful to her. She thinks she has better coping skills now and she can handle stressful situations better. Jill says, “You really can teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s what we do...