I grew up in an alcoholic and physically abusive environment. My mother hit me in the head with a 2-by-4-inch piece of lumber. My whole family — including my mother, father and grandmother — always told me that I would not amount to anything. But I knew better, and I became the only one in my family to graduate with a high school diploma.
After graduation, I worked in the food industry for 14 years. When the restaurant where I cooked closed, I found myself unemployed. I searched for work for months, but was unable to find any kind of job. Severely depressed over my unemployment, I attempted suicide, but the trigger on the gun jammed. A friend took me to get help, and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ADHD.
I finally got my opportunity when I was accepted into Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA’s Vocational Training Program and eventually hired full time at Goodwill’s Aiken, SC, retail store. I enjoy Goodwill because it is a different challenge every day. I get to set my goals, and work hard to achieve them.
After being at Goodwill for over a year, customers know me by name. I like seeing the familiar faces and feel like the Goodwill staff is family. Goodwill has a great training program, and this store has a great management team. They have helped me develop myself. When I stumble on something, they encourage me and show me how to do it better.
I hope that my story will encourage everyone to be open to all opportunities. Please don’t give up: keep going. A door may be slammed on you right now, but that may mean that a better opportunity is out there waiting on you. It was for me.
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