I arrived in Charlottesville, VA, from Sacramento, CA, about three years ago. I’d recently been released from prison. I’d actually gone to California to try and get myself back on my feet, but things weren’t working out well over there, so I came back here to Virginia. Things weren’t much better here, frankly. I was unemployed, living on the streets, lived through two of the deepest snow storms they’ve had here in years.
I was having a hard time finding work due to my incarceration. Work initially consisted of picking up trash at John Paul Jones Arena after games. I cannot say I was even squeezing by. At best, my existence was hand to mouth.
One day, I was at the workforce center looking for full-time work and stumbled upon an application for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which is managed by Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. I met the criteria to be a participant in the program. SCSEP provides seniors with the means of attaining skills for today’s job market by placing them in a host agency to learn the necessary skills.
It was the catalyst for propelling me into college. At this time, I am following a three-step plan of Jesus, work and school. Goodwill Industries is a place of second chances, and that’s what they gave me – a second chance to return to a productive life.
I was productive before my incarceration and had worked almost 20 years, nonstop. Now, I am back on my feet through the good graces of Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. They provided me the necessary training and skills to get me back together and helped me get back on my feet.
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