My Story: Patrice Blackstock

I became a mom at the age of 15. I hadn’t any real guidance because my mom was often sick. I got involved with the wrong crowd very early in life. I just wanted to belong, be loved and appreciated.

I met an older man with a bad habit, which led me to drugs. I became a totally different person. Control was lost. I didn’t know who to turn to or what to do. I prayed a lot because this wasn’t what I wanted for myself or especially for my children. My three daughters and two sons were growing rapidly, so I knew that I had to do something. I didn’t want them growing up to be the person that I had become.

I made a decision to get [my life] together, still not knowing how but just walking on faith. By praying things began to open up a little. I found a [rehabilitation center] in Florence, SC that accepted me where I could bring two of my five children with me. I stayed for eight weeks and the signed myself out.

Right away I registered for a job program through the Department of Social Services. Once I finished their program, I applied for work at the Salvation Army where I stayed for 11 years until they closed in 2009. I was devastated. I didn’t have any experience – just a bad background.

One day I saw a construction site going up in town. I didn’t know what it was, but a light went off because I spoke with a worker and he told me it was going to be a Goodwill store.  My heart started pumping and my mind was wandering. That day I decided to do the research on Goodwill and see if it could be somewhere for, somewhere that I could belong.

My search took me to Goodwill’s Job Link Center. There I was given information about Goodwill and the site. I was also given a lady’s name, Bobby Cox. I met Ms. Cox, who asked me about myself. She told me a little about herself as well, and I felt so at ease, like I was human and someone finally cared. She told me we all make mistakes and that it’s what we do with those mistakes that counts. That was the beginning of my journey with Goodwill.