Story Behind the Stores: Ashley’s journey from homelessness to assistant manager

By the time Ashley was 11 years old, she was already drinking alcohol and using marijuana. At 17, she discovered she was pregnant.

“My child’s father and I had to grow up extremely fast. His dad passed away and my mom was in prison,” Ashley explained.

Ashley welcomed her second child at age 23 and admitted that was when she started using heroin and meth daily. She lost her apartment and her car. In 2016, her daughter was taken out of her care and placed at Home of the Innocents before Ashley’s mom was granted temporary custody.

“My life spiraled. I was living in the streets, sleeping in apartment hallways. All I had that belonged to me was my purse and a backpack,” Ashley said.

Ashley found out she was pregnant with her third child in December 2016.

“I thought I could stop doing drugs, but I just couldn’t,” she said. “I felt like I was in quicksand.”

She was incarcerated in March of 2017 for 30 days before being transferred to a halfway home. However, Ashley admitted she left because she still wanted to get high.

After leaving the halfway home, she enrolled herself in Centerstone Addiction Recovery Center and learned about triggers and coping mechanisms. Once released, she went to a methadone clinic, because she was afraid of relapsing.

“I knew I needed help. I didn’t want to lose the baby I was about to have,” Ashley said.

She then started classes with Project Link, designed to help single, sober mothers who have been in abusive relationships. Needing a job, she decided to stop in a Goodwill store to purchase clothes for an interview. While shopping, she learned that Goodwill had open positions, and she put in an application that same day.

She completed an interview and was offered a position.

Ashley worked with Goodwill Career Coach Tiffany, who helped her put together action plans. Those action plans helped Ashley get promoted to team lead and then assistant manager.

“I never imagined that I would even keep this job for this long, let alone being able to have keys to multiple stores in Louisville,” said Ashley. “It’s really surreal. It’s a blessing to be able to have someone have confidence in me. Nobody trusted me. Nobody wanted me to come in their house – not even my family. Becoming sober, it’s an amazing feeling to be trusted. It makes me want to keep going forward.”

Within her first year at Goodwill, she regained custody of her children, moved into a home and purchased a vehicle.

“I am still restoring my relationship with my oldest child. It has been a challenge, but I am not going to give up. He saw everything. I am just trying to show him that he can depend on me,” she said.

Ashley said she loves her customers and working alongside people who understand her challenges. She hopes to one day manage her own store.

Ashley said, “I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t found Goodwill. This company believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself.”

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