When Gina Casteal walked into Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth looking for job training, she and her four children were homeless. They had been bouncing around different living arrangements, sometimes living with friends and family, and even living out of her car for a period of time. Their home had been foreclosed on when she was unable to pay the mortgage, and she needed help to get back on her feet.
A single mother of four, Gina had struggled for several years to find a job that allowed her to still be there for her children. She also had a criminal history, which automatically disqualified her from certain positions.
Gina’s stepfather encouraged her to enroll in CDL (commercial driver’s license) training, an offering of Goodwill Fort Worth. She had no prior driving experience, but agreed to pursue the 200-hour program. Her children often helped her study the material. She says it is their unconditional love and support that pushed her to successfully complete the program despite being the only woman in her class.
Upon completing the program, she applied for and earned a position with Goodwill Fort Worth as a driver, transporting donated goods to and from donation centers, the Goodwill warehouse and area Goodwill stores.
After years of continued employment, she finds herself more confident than ever before. She and her family applied for an interest-free mortgage home through Trinity Habitat for Humanity, and, in 2018, they helped build their home in a special event in downtown Fort Worth.
“Before Goodwill, I was at a hopeless state,” Gina says. “I felt like I was letting [my children] down. But Goodwill helped me through school, get a job and provide a home for my kids. I can look my kids in the eye again, and they are so proud of me.”
Gina’s strong work ethic and drive has helped her become a role model for those who are struggling financially. She is dedicated to helping others take advantage of the opportunities available to them and realize their true potential.
Gina Casteal is the recipient of Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year Award. Each year, this award goes to a person who has shown great progress and accomplishment in overcoming challenges to finding employment, and who still benefits from the Goodwill work environment or receives services to support employment at a community site.
When you donate and shop at your local Goodwill, you help individuals like Gina reach their full potential through the power of work. In fact, 87 cents of every dollar you spend in our retail stores and through shopgoodwill.com® and other ecommerce platforms is reinvested in your community to create employment placement, job training and career support services. Find the location closest to you or make a monetary donation to show your support.