After getting kicked in the head by a horse at the age of four, Joanna incurred a life-long brain injury that affects the way in which she retains and processes information. After high school, she experienced difficulty finding and maintaining a job. In 2010, Joanna was referred to Goodwill, who invited her into its Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) program. After building her vocational and cognitive skills, Joanna was able to find a job that she enjoys and feel empowered for the first time in her life.
Unable to find work or a place to live, Tounta Adams moved her husband and children in with her parents. She didn't know how she was going to support her family and prayed nightly to find a solution to her situation. Welfare services referred her to Goodwill who hooked her up with transportation and clothing vouchers, and diapers. She enrolled in the agency's community job program and is now a proud Goodwill employee who is on track to getting her own place to live again.
Darryl was born with congenital cataracts and myopic pressure in both eyes, and had surgery done on both eyes back in 1998, where doctors replaced his natural lenses with synthetic implants. After leaving his job with the federal government, Darryl started looking for a better job and got in touch with Good Temps, a Goodwill staffing agency in New York. Through the program, he landed a job as an NYPD police administrative aide, a position that allows him to work and help people.
After receiving post-secondary training, Nick was unable to find a job and was contemplating moving back to where he grew up, where he'd have to give up his friends and his independence. He was referred to Goodwill, where an employment counselor helped him update his resume and submit applications. He landed a seasonal part-time job at Lowe's and was later hired full time. He now loves his job and the independence it affords him.
Before coming to Goodwill ,Traci was in an abusive relationship with her children's father and spent time in prison for helping him distribute drugs. She transitioned to a halfway house after prison, and learned about Goodwill's training programs from a co-worker. Through employment with Goodwill and support from her colleagues, Traci began building a steady life and career, and now plans to become an advocate for the rights of women and children.
Jerry is a Vietnam with more than 20 years of service in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard. After retiring from service in 1995, he was unable to find work due to physical ailments. The VA suggested he find a training program to get back into a routine, which led him to Goodwill Industries of KYOWVA. There, staff helped create a customized curriculum for Jerry that taught him how to use a computer, the Internet and a digital camera. He now uses these skills in his everyday life and is thankful for the training he received.
After ending her 30-year career in the loss prevention industry due to health issues, Jackie decided to focus her attention on working on her ranch and training racehorses. However, because of her physical limitations, she was having a hard time staying active and independent. Goodwill Industries of Denver's AgrAbility Program helped connect her with the equipment she needed to perform all of the tasks on the farm, including a utility task vehicle and a manure vac, and keep her farm running.
For 23 years, Karen Owens spent her life caring for others as an RN. She was proud to help those who were critically ill and support their families through difficult times. After being diagnosed with a psychological disability, Karen found the demands and stress of her job too difficult to continue. She decided to find an alternate path to make a fresh start for herself by going back to school for ultrasonography, and began taking computer courses at Goodwill Industries of Knoxville to help prepare for her return to college.
As a high school student, Sam participated in a work experience program with Goodwill that taught him valuable job skills. He continued to work with Goodwill after graduation, and his great work ethic earned him the position of team leader. An employee specialist at his local agency saw how hardworking Sam was and helped him advance in his career by connecting him with a position as a mail clerk at Medco. Sam says he now enjoys being able to provide for himself and his mother, and is proud of his newfound independence. Read on to hear Sam tell his story.
An automobile accident changed Misty's life when she was 18. She was left in a coma, lost her skin from head to toe and could no longer see out of her right eye. After extensive rehabilitation - physical, occupational and speech - Misty completed school and received her diploma. Now, Misty has new challenges and opportunities ahead: "Through Goodwill, the things I have learned and am still learning helped me overcome all of my challenges."
Before learning about supports in her community, Nicole and her daughter were living in a foreclosed home with no running water or gas for over six months. She drove an unreliable vehicle with no working brake lights, a trunk that wouldn't latch and which wouldn't go more than 35 mph. After eventually finding employment with the YMCA, Nicole was referred to Goodwill's Workers on Wheels program. She received a donated car and now feels grateful that she has a safe and dependable means of transportation to go to work and to take her daughter to school. Thanks to support from Goodwill and the YMCA, Nicole is currently pursuing a college degree and has also been able to find a stable home for her and her daughter.
Before coming to Goodwill, Darrell was in a drug court program where he had to attend mandatory drug screens and sure that he was on time for all of his appointments. Ninety days into the program, a counselor told him about Goodwill and the services that could help him get back on his feet. He joined the Goodwill's Access to Recovery program, which provided him with free counseling services and other work supports like bus tokens. Thanks to his own resolve and the support of Goodwill, Darrell has been sober for more than three years, and holds a paying job that allows him to provide for his family.