Goodwill Stories


Edward (October 2018)

A desperate call to his son in Eugene seemed to be the light that Edward needed to pick himself up and make the over 3,000 mile move from Florida to Eugene. “Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward,” Edward said. When he arrived in Eugene, he was homeless. Edward feared that he would be unable to find work, not only because of his situation but because of his ADHD. That’s when a community partner referred Edward to Goodwill Job Connections. Upon coming to Job Connections, Edward reported that he had an interview the following day but no interview clothes. He was given a clothing voucher for Goodwill and was able find a sharp suit. He was also given information on locations that offer food assistance.

Edward attended the “ABC’s of a Winning Resume” and “Interview Practice” workshops and brushed up on both his resume and interviewing skills. Edward went on to have excellent interviews with two local restaurants and he was hired by both locations. One of them has since signed Edward up for management training. Edward has also expressed interest in Goodwill’s Prosperity Program and the IDA program for financial empowerment. “You are the creator of your own success” Edward has said, and that has certainly proved true for him, with a little help from Goodwill.





Debbie (July 2018)

Debbie struggled with addiction that had taken control of her life. Her children had grown and she soon found herself slipping back into a life of chaos. Eventually, Debbie found herself in a position where she needed to care for her three year-old grandson. This sparked the hope and determination that would soon get her off of the streets. She went to the Department of Human Services (DHS) and signed up for assistance. Debbie came to Goodwill to participate in the Supported Work program as a part of the Jobs Program for her monthly Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grant.

Detoxing from drugs and alcohol was a painful process, but it didn’t outweigh the sense of purpose and peace she began to feel. It was at this time that Debbie also received custody of her 18 month-old granddaughter. At Goodwill, Debbie was making a name for herself. The store manager was thoroughly impressed by Debbie, and asked her to apply for a job. With a little encouragement from many people, Debbie applied, interviewed, and was given the opportunity to work as a Cashier/Processor through the JOBS Plus program. Debbie says she is “very grateful to Goodwill for giving her a chance to prove herself.”









Sophie (March 2019)

Sophie was struggling when she came to Goodwill’s Job Connections. She had recently been let go from a position and didn’t understand why. While the job hadn’t been a perfect fit for her, she did not see the termination coming. After thinking through the situation for a week, she decided to come to Goodwill for assistance.

When she first visited Job Connections, it felt like a breath of hope. Through the workshops and trainings offered by the Job Connections Employment Specialists, she learned how to discuss her work history in an interview. Goodwill was also able to provide bus passes which allowed her to get to interviews, clothing vouchers, and assistance with salon services for a haircut. These tools are what Sophie credits with helping her believe in herself again.

In only three days after her first visit to Job Connections, Sophie was offered part time positions with RISE, Inc. and Walmart. In addition, she interviewed for, and accepted, a full time Supervisor position at Goodwill’s Seneca retail store and donation center.

The mission of providing vocational opportunities to individuals with barriers to employment is the reason Sophie is excited to work for Goodwill. She has past experience working for
non-profits and is hoping to one day start her own organization. Her love of helping kids from low-income families achieve their dreams is what drives her passion in working for Goodwill. She is excited to learn more about Goodwill’s mission and is proud that she is working to help individuals in the community. She plans to participate in the Prosperity Center’s Transportation to Work Individual Development Account. Once she has completed her savings, she will be able to purchase reliable transportation, which is just one of the goals Goodwill is here to support her with on her path forward.







Jamey (March 2018)

Jamey was born and raised in Coos Bay with a supportive family. Unfortunately this support was not enough to keep her from choosing to use drugs at the age of 16. Fast food jobs at Little Caesars and Wendy’s ended in termination when she failed drug tests or showed up impaired. Arrested for possession as a minor, Jamey was placed on probation and required to go through treatment at ADAPT Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Coos Bay. She really appreciated the support she was provided by her counselor, but this was not enough to get her to stop using drugs. Terms of her probation required that she enter ADAPT twice, and both times she failed at sobriety. Jamey knew enough about the system to try to evade the mandatory drug tests but it didn’t work, and three weeks after her 18th birthday, and just before her probation was to end, she was arrested again and sent to jail.

Looking back now, Jamey says that it was a good thing that she did not finish her probation. Jail was the only thing that helped her understand she needed to change her life priorities. While she knew that her family would never leave her, they made it clear that she needed to be in recovery before she could be a part of their lives again. Regaining the trust of her family became the most important thing in her life.

Through a mutual friend, Jamey went to the Goodwill store in North Bend and spoke with Store Manager, Jason Samora. Jason let Jamey know that once her legal issues had been dealt with and she was fully off probation, he would take her application to work in the store. Jamey took the steps needed, and was hired in May of 2015. In the 18 months after she was hired, Jamey paid off her fines and court costs, applied for and received her driver’s license back, and became a valued employee at the North Bend store. She heard about the Individual Development Account (IDA) program, and met with Trysta from Workforce Development to discuss plans to save for a car. Jamey was accepted into the program on December 22, 2016 and in one year saved $2,000 for a car, which was matched with $6,000. This gave her $8,000 to purchase reliable transportation, which she now has. Jamey’s car made it possible for her to enroll at Southwestern Oregon Community College, where she is taking basic prerequisites courses until she determines what educational path she would like to pursue.

Jamey has impressed her managers and teammates in North Bend with her work ethic and attitude. In February of 2018, she was promoted to Supervisor at the store. Jamey turned 23 in January. “When I’m not at work or school, I’m with my family, and I don’t want to let them out of my sight. I won’t lose them again. Goodwill gave me a chance when others wouldn’t, and I love working at the store.” 







Victor (May 2018)

Victor was initially referred to Goodwill Job Connections by our partners at Centro Latino Americano for transportation assistance for his new job as a construction worker. In March of 2018 he lost his job, and returned to Job Connections in search of work. Victor was enrolled in Goodwill’s STEP program and after sitting down with him we realized that Victor had a communication barrier and was also living at the Eugene Mission. Our Goodwill Bilingual Employment Specialist, Cristal, helped him with his resume, and had numerous one-on-one appointments with Victor to assist him with job applications.

Cristal also helped him complete the Life Line phone application and noticed he could not read applications well due to poor eyesight. We worked with the Bethel Lions Club, which was able to provide him with an eye exam and a pair of glasses. Victor was very aggressive with his job search, and within a month he obtained employment at two locations. Victor stated in his own words, “Gracias a Goodwill por ayudarme a encuentrame trabajo y todos los servicios que recibí” which means “Thanks to Goodwill for helping me find work and for all the services I received.





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