Donna was an addict by age 13. A year later, she dropped out of ninth grade. Without a strong support system, she spiraled and ended up with a Class B felony on her record.
After Donna was incarcerated, she relapsed while on probation but was given a second chance by her parole officer.
“That’s when I decided I was going to get clean and stay clean,” she said. “But I had to learn how to be an adult on my own. That’s really hard. Everyday life is really hard for me.”
While in rehabilitation, Donna learned she suffers from depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, which causes pain throughout the body and fatigue, and more. She knew it would be hard to find employment with her background and health concerns.
“I was trying to find a place where I wouldn’t be judged and made fun of,” she said. “I have anxiety and panic attacks really bad. … Plus, I have a Class B felony on my record, and nobody would give me a chance.”
But, when Donna’s case worker referred her to Goodwill, she was optimistic. She applied and was hired in November 2021. She’s worked as a cashier and production clerk.
When she’s not feeling 100%, she said Senior Store Manager Kenna Elkins and other Goodwillers encourage her.
“I always feel like I’m not doing a good job, but they make me feel like I’m doing a good job,” she said. “Everybody here has stepped in to help me.”
Donna celebrated six years of sobriety in July. She’s taken over all responsibilities in her life, including taking care of her two teenage boys. She also has a daughter who has grown up and out of the house. She even cleans houses on the side to support herself and her family.
Even though she said she still has breakdowns while working at Goodwill, she said her team has been there for her every step of the way.
“Everybody here is like family. If anything ever happens here, they all come together and look out for me and look out for each other. They welcomed me, and I fit in now. I probably drive them crazy,” she joked. “They have really looked out for me.”