Story Behind the Stores: Demontez Campbell

Twenty-one million Americans are in the grip of addiction, fighting for control of their lives in a battle that often leads to poverty, incarceration and in some cases, death.

And yet, roughly 10 percent seek treatment for their dependency. Forty to 60 percent of that population will relapse during the recovery process, leading again to a lack of independence.

At Goodwill, we aim to support individuals who have been under the control of addiction with our many programs and services designed to partner with local recovery facilities and reintegrate individuals with histories of addiction and/or incarceration back into the workforce.

These services help individuals like Demontez Campbell, a now 32-year-old Louisville native who began to fall into a cycle of addiction and incarceration in 2010.

“I didn’t know any other life except the one I was living,” he said. “I was in the grips of addiction, which put me in the grips of incarceration, so it was a vicious cycle. I got tired of living that life and decided to do something better.”

After spending most of the decade in jail or on the streets, Demontez, behind his faith, a strong family support system and other support groups, began fighting his addiction and was intent to remain on the path to self-sufficiency. During his recovery, though, he was faced with another challenge: gaining the skills necessary to find reliable employment.

That led him to the Power of Work program, which is operated by Goodwill, administered by KentuckianaWorks and funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and his career coach, Amanda Smith, in March of 2019. He enrolled in our Soft Skills Academy and months later completed the Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Every Day (RISE) program, which provided “information about computers, basic ethics stuff – just how to work a job,” he said. He also earned a computer and a stipend, which he said helped even more. He graduated with his mother and daughter in attendance.

Demontez then began a job at Kellogg’s making more than $16 per hour before an even better opportunity with NTC Traffic Control presented itself. After being mentored, he found what Amanda labeled his “true calling” and accepted a position as a peer counselor for Seven Counties.

“Throughout this whole journey, Demontez stayed in constant contact with me,” Amanda said. “He would even call when he had downfalls and we would talk through them. He is a great dad and wonderful son to his mother, and now all of his hard work is paying off.”

He was approved for his own housing in February and has since moved in, with his daughter. He continues to be active within his support groups. He’s winning his battle, and he said his personal belief is what got him to this point.

“Just the belief that I could, the belief that there was more in me,” he said. “I felt like my life wasn’t meant for using drugs and possibly facing death and more jail time. I had a solid faith within myself that I could do it – that I could do something positive.”

Learn more about Power of Work and RISE by visiting goodwillky.org/programs.

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