#MissionMonday - Pam

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.


Pam grew up in an abusive household. Looking back, she is aware that what she thought was “normal family life” was not at all the norm in most homes.

Early on, when she had kids of her own, Pam was afraid. She knew that she did not want to treat her kids the way her father had treated her. Pam went to counseling and worked hard to break that cycle. She learned other ways to discipline and interact with her two sons, who are now grown – Pam still has a close relationship with them. 

Pam had a 13- year relationship with a man who told her she was nothing, could do nothing and would be nothing without him. He was abusive to her physically and emotionally. She left and returned many times. Once, when she decided to leave, she grabbed the keys to their vehicle and drove away. He reported it stolen and, since the title was in his name only, the police arrested Pam for grand theft auto, resulting in a felony charge and eight months in county jail. She returned to the relationship five years later but he was still abusive. A second time, she took the keys and vehicle. Once again, he reported the vehicle stolen and the police arrested Pam for grand theft auto. She was in the county jail for 70 days while awaiting a court date. This time, the judge realized the situation and released her that day for time served. However, the judge did not drop the charges, so Pam has two felonies on her record.

The last time Pam went back, she ended up needing hospitalization. Her older son visited her and said, “Mom, do you want me to spend the rest of my life in prison? If not, you need to do something. If I have to see you like this again, I’m gonna’ kill him!” Pam knew then that she needed to break the cycle.

When she got out of the hospital, she started planning. She reached out to her younger sister and, together, they began planning her escape. Her abuser controlled the money but each time he gave her some, she would save a little. Eventually, she had enough money to book a bus ticket to the state where her sister lived. She left with one bag containing four changes of clothing and photos of her kids. She stayed with her sister for a year, making no contact with anyone from her past, including her ex.

Eventually, Pam reconnected with her best friend since elementary school. Her friend had cancer and needed Pam’s help. Pam returned to Florida and took care of her friend for almost a year before her friend passed away. 

 Now Pam needed to find another place to live. She reached out to another friend in Bradenton whom she had known most of her life. This friend had her mom living with her and wanted Pam to move in and help with her care. The first couple of months Pam took care of “Grandma” and the housework. She took some time to reflect and decide what she wanted her life to look like moving forward. 

Eventually, she applied online for “at least 300” jobs but with everything being online only, she learned, “you don’t have the chance to sell yourself!” Then “Grandma” said, “What about Goodwill? They have a Job Connection!”

Pam visited the Corporate Campus Job Connection office and was honest right from the start. She told them she had two felonies and needed certain days off to take care of “Grandma.” After her interview, when she heard she had gotten the job as a wares pricer, Pam began crying. She was so grateful that “they were willing to give me a chance!”

Pam worked with her GoodPartner Coach to establish some goals and she has been making amazing progress. She made a plan, paid off debts, and she is working now to save money to get her driver’s license and buy a car. She has her own checking account and a cell phone. She is also a certified Role Model Worker!

Even more importantly, Pam found out that she is actually a good person, despite all the times her ex told her she was not. She has a strong work ethic and now she knows she can make it on her own. She believes in Goodwill’s core values so much so that she lives them in her personal life as well. Pam says that Goodwill saved her life.  All she needed was a chance to shine. It’s what we do …