Story Behind the Stores: Charlotte

For five years, Charlotte found herself in an abusive relationship. Once she had enough courage to exit that relationship, she ended up marrying a person who was abusing drugs. His substance use was causing fights, and Charlotte submitted to the “if you can’t beat them, join them” idea. It wasn’t long before she realized she was addicted.

Eventually, Charlotte was arrested for drug trafficking and found herself in prison. During rehabilitation, there was a quote that stuck with her – “nothing changes if nothing changes.” She left her husband and continued to raise her son on her own. She has celebrated eight years of sobriety, but it was in December of 2019 when Charlotte was finally determined to find her career path.

Having an on-again, off-again relationship with her Goodwill career coach, Mary, since 2007, she was familiar with the services Goodwill offered.

“I would leave Miss Mary when I was doing things I shouldn’t, but I am on the straight and narrow now. I knew I wanted to work at Goodwill,” Charlotte said.

She applied – unsuccessfully – at both the Middlesboro and Harlan stores, but that wasn’t going to stop her.

“I was willing to drive four hours a day to work at Goodwill,” Charlotte said.

She landed a part-time position at the Barbourville Goodwill and was quickly promoted to full time. With help from Mary, she earned another promotion and now serves in a team lead role.

“I will be a store manager one day,” Charlotte said confidently. “I want to work at Goodwill. Nowhere else. I am going for the top. This is where I feel like I can do the most good. I can touch and impact people here. Goodwill has so many programs and does so much for the community. They go out to the jails and offer help to people who are recovering.”

To that, Mary added, “When Charlotte came to me, she was at her lowest. I have watched her build. I have watched her overcome hurdles. I have seen her go from the bottom and now she is heading toward the top. She is no longer the person she used to be. She is strong now. Strong and sincere.”

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