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.



Ron dropped out of school in the eighth grade and started working odd jobs to help support
his family. Ron’s family included his grandmother, who was raising him, along with six other grandchildren.


Ron’s role models were his uncles and cousins. They drove nice cars and wore nice clothes. However, they sold drugs to pay for all those nice things. At the age of 18, Ron was dealing, too. After a year of selling drugs, he was arrested and spent the next year in prison. This sentence wasn’t enough to deter him from dealing, though. For the next few years, he found himself in and out of jail.


By the time he reached his mid-20s, Ron decided that he was done with that life and started working at fast food restaurants. However, without an education, he knew he was never going to make more than minimum wage.


One day, Ron stole a propane tank from an unoccupied dwelling to see if he could sell it for scrap metal. A security camera captured the theft on video. Two weeks later, Ron was arrested.  Because of his criminal record, he was sent to prison for four years.


When Ron got out, he noticed there was a new generation of cousins looking up to him as a role model. He didn't want to set the same example that his uncles and older cousins did for him, so he decided to get a real job, returning to work in the fast food industry. He was never able to find a full- time position and he also noticed there was a lot of drama in the industry. Although he tried looking for other jobs, no one would hire him because of his criminal record.


Ron came to Goodwill Manasota’s Job Connection and asked about working at Goodwill. He told his Career Development Facilitator (CDF) that he had not been able to get a job that paid more than minimum wage. He explained that he wanted to prove to his younger cousins that even after making several mistakes, he could still get his life back on track and earn a good living.


The CDF helped Ron with the application process and followed up with Goodwill’s HR Department. He also gave Ron some interview tips and reviewed with him some commonly asked interview questions. In the end, Ron did well during his interview and was hired to work at Goodwill. 


Now Ron earns much more than minimum wage and he is finally working full time. He also has a GoodPartner Coach, who is going to help him earn his high school diploma. When the CDF followed up with Ron on his new job, he reminded him of what he said at their first meeting: “I just want to prove to my younger cousins that even after making lots of mistakes, I can still get my life back on track and earn a living.” Ron smiled and noted that he wasn’t just trying to prove something to his younger cousins but to himself as well.  


Ron is glad that he finally found an employer who would give him a chance. It’s what we do …