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Latonya Thomas
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My Story: Latonya Thomas

Latonya Thomas is a U.S. Army veteran currently enrolled in Goodwill’s Operation: GoodJobs program. Watch Latonya and other veterans in the program share their stories on our Homefront Chats YouTube Channel.

Leaving the military, the only plans that I had for myself was to get my commercial driver’s license (CDL) and drive trucks around the country. That did not happen, so I was forced to go out into the workforce and find work elsewhere.

I thought that because I’m a veteran and have integrity, honesty, a good work ethic and the ability to learn quickly, that employers would be receptive to hiring me. But I got out of the military at a time when the economy was melting down and people were losing their jobs. Not only did I have to compete with other veterans, but I also had to compete with civilians who had years of experience and possible had better or more skills than I had.

I had reached a plateau in my life. My car broke down, and I had to drop out of school. I lost my living space, I lost my car, and then I lost the funds I would invest in my own business. That situation led me to a veterans’ representative that introduced me to the Goodwill Industries of Houston.

Since I’ve been at Goodwill Industries of Houston, I’ve been focusing on learning about different careers, as well as how to deal with conflict in the workforce such as drama and different attitudes in the workforce.

I have a work counselor who is excellent at keeping me up to date with new veteran opportunities that are going to be beneficial for me to reach success. I think that Goodwill’s going to be very beneficial in helping me reach my educational and career goals.

View Latonya’s video updates on her progress by checking out the video playlist below.

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  • The OTHER J. Smooth :-)
    November 11th, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Hi L.T.!!!

    I have watched all three of your videos, ironically on Veterans’ Day 11/11/2012, lol :-)

    I am praying and rooting for you!

    Please keep updating. I don’t know if Goodwill actually can provide contact via this form, but if so, I hope that you or at least Goodwill on your behalf could contact me, I MAY know of some route that may help you that I’m currently trying myself, that I think personally you’d be PERFECT for, maybe?

    Because you said you learn quickly, and I think, as a vet, you’re a team player (hence why you’d need to be trained in conflict resolution for the petty tripe and attitudes in the civilian workplace, as opposed to how it’s maybe more of a true team/family environment in the military. I mean, you’re willing to live for and to die for the man/woman serving next to you, so the workplace gamesmanship in the civilian world, would probably be even MORE ridiculous to you than to those of us in the civilian world who HATE the dramatics, and cattiness that can sometimes rear it’s head by SOME people (I don’t think most, though) in the workplace.

    But anyway, I HOPE that Goodwill will QUICKLY get in touch ASAP, and I’ll share with you what I’m trying to do.

    It would be a free opportunity for you, if you’re interested.

    Much love, and heartfelt respect and thanks to you and your fellow soldiers–both past and present–from myself, and countless others whose numbers are too large to be counted or known, Sincerely,

    Your sister,

    J. Smooth

  • Noel Freedman
    February 10th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    IN THE BEGINNING:
    On the morning of April 20,th 1936, our mother walked us 6
    kids into the Court House in Helena, Montana; there, she told to sit in on the granite bench: Then mother leveled this admonition: “If anyone asks you kids what you are doing here, tell them I said the State is Baby-sitting, that the State works for she, and not she the
    State.” —And she left for work.
    By noon, people were asking what are these kids were doing here?
    So, the oldest passed on Mother’s remarks. Then followed more questions: Did you kids eat? No. You any got money? No. So the next move was to take us to lunch; on the State; and then State placed us in a Receiving Home; until the State could seek a solution to what was going on. When Mother returned, after work, she was told the children were in a receiving Home and under observation for two
    weeks; and then a decision would be made by the State as to the welfare of the children. From the Receiving Home, we were placed in the Montana State Orphan’s Home in Twin Bridges. -And like death that was the end of us; yet like a resurrection, a new beginning;where followed this common question asked of a matron: Do these dumped kids ever get used to this place?” Answer: Yes. Follow up question: How can you tell when they become used to the place?
    Answer: When they quit crying for mommie.
    Mother did contact our dad, (who had deserted her) and she told him the kids wanted out. Then followed this exchange:
    Dad: Are the kids safe?
    Mother: Yes.
    Dad: Are they warm?
    Mother: Yes.
    Dad: Are they eating?
    Mother: Yes.
    Dad: Leave them.
    Over the years, one by one, we were released to mother,as we grew big enough to help at home and/or earn our own living. From the do-it-yourself work training in all aspects of work in the orphanage, we all ended up with successful careers; thus no longer a burden on the State. :)
    Noel Freedman

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