Goodwill Stories



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.”






Nicholle (December 2017)

Nicholle came to Job Connections with the desire to find employment to support herself and her four year old son, Emmett. She had recently left an unhealthy relationship that included domestic violence. One of our Employment Specialists identified Nicholle as someone with the skill set needed to be a Job Coach/Skills Trainer in the Goodwill Employment and Training Services (ETS) department and an interview was set up for her with the ETS manager.

Although nervous and not knowing what to expect, Nicholle impressed the manager enough to be invited back for a second interview. She was given a few assignments to complete on her own and asked to report back to her second interview with her findings. Nicholle not only finished the assignments, but far exceeded expectations by drawing out in great detail what was asked of her. As a result, she was offered, and accepted, the position of Job Coach/Skills Trainer.

It wasn’t until after she was hired that we learned Nicholle was homeless and had been living at the Eugene Mission for 41 weeks. She had no transportation and had to take a number of buses, with her child, to get where she needed to be. Despite this barrier, she completed her assignment for the interview in excellent fashion. This made her accomplishments even more impressive and showed her determination to find meaningful employment and thus move forward in her life. Nicholle says “God led me to Goodwill, where the staff has seen potential in me.”

Since being hired, Nicholle has used her first few paychecks to purchase a car to ensure she and her son have reliable transportation. As she waited for her name to come up on the Section 8 housing list, she managed to qualify for an apartment in Oakridge. With her hard work, Nicholle was able to move her son out of the Mission and into their own new home.









Harvey (January 2018)

“Harvey is an amazing, dedicated father and hardworking, loyal man. I’m proud to have worked with him and would be honored to be allowed to share my experiences about him.  He is truly an idol of inspiration to me.”

This is how Bryson, a key member of our team, spoke of Harvey. When I met him, and got to know something of his story, I understood Bryson’s feelings.

Harvey grew up in the Seattle area, initially in a home filled with violence. As a result, he and his two brothers ended up spending most of their childhood in separate foster homes. As soon as he could, Harvey moved to California, without finishing high school.

He had a number of food service jobs, the last of which was at a Sizzler, but he lost that job when he became addicted to cocaine. Harvey found himself homeless and without options, and over time traveled to the Willamette Valley. When he arrived here, he decided to stop using drugs. His life stabilized, and he worked at a Dairy Queen in Millersburg for 15 years. When the owners sold the business, he was out of work again but had the desire to find a new path. He enrolled in the Jobs Plus program to maintain his Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, as he had a wife and young son to support. Through the Jobs Plus program, he volunteered with a few non-profits, including Goodwill, at our Seneca store. Harvey lived in Oakridge and even though he took to the bus to and from his volunteer work with us, he didn’t miss a day and was never late. 

Harvey applied for a job at our Springfield store and was hired. He and his family moved to Springfield and he began work. Harvey has been with us almost a year and Elizabeth, the store manager at Springfield, says that he is “an angel for the way he handles his family life, and he is really dedicated to our business.”

With a seven year old being home-schooled, Harvey is thankful for the opportunity that Goodwill has given him.  “This is my second family. I get along with everyone, and this is the last job that I will ever have.









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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