My Story: Tounta Adams

My husband and I were living with my mom and stepdad in the garage with our babies. The place we were at before was condemned, and we needed a place to stay. We were both employed, but they were seasonal jobs. When both our jobs ended, we started looking for work and coming up short. We couldn’t even get jobs in the fast food restaurants.

I was in a depressed state of mind, hating that we couldn’t support ourselves as well as our babies. I was feeling emotionally and physically drained almost every single day and feeling like a horrible mother. I was hating life, praying nightly that God would help us out of this horrible situation. I truly felt like I didn’t accomplish a thing in my life, thinking ‘Wow, I’m in my 30s and what have I got to show for it?”

I heard about the Goodwill Industries of the Columbia community job program through welfare. Through the program, we were able to get bus vouchers, diapers, clothes vouchers – the little things that meant a lot to me since we didn’t have much. In the classroom, there were diverse people with all different past situations. I was glad that I wasn’t the only one with a felony background, struggling to stand on my own two feet, but unable because of my past mistakes in life.

I started out in the pre-vocational program – that was an eye opener. I didn’t know that Goodwill hired people with disabilities. I learned a lot working in pre-voc, where the mission is all about how it helps the participants learn and grow while they’re there. I learned about what it has done to make Goodwill what it is today.

Two months before my six months were done, I got to work in the wares department, learning what goes in the totes that are taken out to the stores, the pricing, name brands, what is sellable and what isn’t. Through a lot of support from the employees, I got hired as a wares assistant. The advances I made were getting work experience to gain full-time employment.

Personally, it’s taken awhile, but soon we will be able to get our own place through the Kennewick Housing Authority. That wouldn’t have happened without having a job. My one year anniversary with Goodwill was in October 2011, and I got emotional because it’s been years since I’ve had a job that lasted that long.

I now have a new perspective on life. I see a brighter, better future ahead of me, as well as for my family. I thank God at every opportunity that I had the privilege to be at the right place at the right time, so I could be where I’m at right this very moment in my life.

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