Detroit Goodwill® Helps Single Mothers Write Stories of Success

Single mother Debra LyttleIn Michigan, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s Beyond Jobs program is modeled after the agency’s nationally recognized Flip the Script program. An empowerment program with a philosophy that each individual deserves a second chance, Flip the Script gives participants the opportunity to change their life stories. Negative beginnings need not result in negative endings.

“The support from the Walmart Foundation grant comes at a crucial time for the people who are unemployed in our region,” says Lorna G. Utley, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. “Through this grant, we make an incredible impact on the lives of women and their families across the Detroit area by helping them develop the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market.”

One such woman is Debra Lyttle, who was referred to Goodwill by a friend after she spent 20 years in what seemed like a never-ending, self-destructive pattern. “One day, I just woke up and decided that I wanted more out of life,” says Lyttle. “I decided it was time to just grow up.”

A widow with three grown children and six grandchildren, she was eager to begin training. She was placed in one of Detroit’s resurging industries, assembling sensors for automotive transmissions.

“This program is perfect for single mothers living in the City of Detroit,” says Joyce Memminger, Beyond Jobs program manager. “They are learning that a job alone is not enough. You will still face challenges if you don’t master financial responsibility.”

Lyttle attended classes on responsible spending, saving money and budgeting. She now has a bank account and is self- sufficient. “My past is obsolete,” she says. “I’ve learned from my mistakes, and Goodwill has been a godsend in helping me transition to a productive life.”