My Story: Kristy Ballew
Goodwill® saved my life. It absolutely saved my life. Before coming to Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA, I was an active drug user for almost ten years. Abandoned by my mother, I was raised by my father. He passed away when I was one month shy of my 16th birthday, and I was left to fend for myself. Depressed over losing my dad, I fell into a new “family” with friends that used drugs and alcohol.
I used drugs for a living and got them by any means necessary. I was constantly in and out of rehabs and halfway houses. I went into my first rehab in 2005 with intentions of completing the program to live a better life and provide for my newborn twin girls. After six months, nothing had changed because I did not want to change. I willingly signed adoption papers giving my babies a better life since I knew I was still an addict.
I entered another rehab program in 2008 and remained sober for two years, and gave birth to my son. I was given prescription pain medicine due to an emergency surgery, and while I did not relapse, taking the medication was against my probation and I was required to enter another rehab – this time in Milledgeville, GA. I successfully completed the rehab program and moved into Hope House – a sober living halfway house. Through Hope House I met Goodwill Case Manager Charles Cofer and entered Goodwill’s WORKing Solutions program.
I worked within Goodwill’s WORKing Solutions program at The Shrimp Boat restaurant for eight weeks of transitional employment. Upon completion of my eight-week WORKing Solutions job, I was hired on permanently. That was over a year ago, and I am still employed at The Shrimp Boat.
In addition to working and being a mom, I am studying to take my GED with the goal of attending college to work in drug counseling. I am still active at the Hope House, often going back to help other women. It feels good to show them that they can change their path. They can have a better life.
Goodwill showed me that we all can have a better life if we work at it, and I am living proof of that.
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