Success Stories

Scotty

Power of Work

Scotty Scott changed his life through the “Power of Work” after enrolling in Goodwill’s CRC Program.

He is pictured as a guest attending a 100 Black Men of West Texas event.

Scotty came to Goodwill and shared his story of obtaining his first job at the age of 41, after a history of working the streets to “make fast money.” After being released from prison for the second time, he said he was absolutely determined to make a better life for himself and make his family proud.

He connected with Reggie Dial, Executive Director at East Lubbock Resident Owned Business Initiative, who began mentoring him on improving his life.  Scotty was hungry for guidance in order to change.  He landed a job driving for Citibus and was working overtime and picked up shifts but was interested in making higher wages.  When he approached his employer about advancement opportunities, they referred him to Goodwill’s Career Resource Center program (CRC). The program provides Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced computer classes and other employment development training classes that gave Scotty the tools to pursue a promotion.

Scotty began the CRC program by attending the walk-in computer skills training center and phone bank in his time off from work.  He learned to type and increased his familiarity with digital skills until he could enroll in one of the evening computer skills courses to work around his current employment hours. While taking computer skills class, he worked closely with a CRC employment specialist to self-identify his unique barriers to employment in order to find solutions to overcome them and to set employment goals. He also practiced interview skills, talking without using street slang and creating a resume. Upon computer class completion, CRC staff presented Scotty with a certificate of continuing education credits from Goodwill’s partner, South Plains College.

When an opportunity arose within Citibus for a promotion to the dispatcher position Scotty desired, he worked with CRC staff to fill out an application and after turning it in, received an interview request. Scotty’s hard work and dedication paid off and he earned the promotion. Since that time, Scotty has continued building his self-confidence and completed the goals he sets. He says he does not regret going the extra mile needed to fulfill his dreams.

Earlier this year, Scotty’s hours were cut due to issues arising from the economic impact of COVID-19 on the company he worked for. Scotty kept his job, but also secured two part-time positions with other companies – one was with the U.S. Postal Service. Impressed with his work ethic, the Postal Service offered him a full-time position with a hefty raise and benefits and that is where Scotty is currently employed.

Goodwill is extremely proud of Scotty’s success and invited him to be a guest speaker for the CRC Career Exploration and Work Ethics specialty class. Attendees comment on how they are motivated by hearing Scotty’s story of overcoming his barriers to employment through his determination to change his life through the CRC program and reaching employment goals.

Scotty says he is doing additional outreach in the community to motivate others to change their lives through the power of work. His mentor, Dial, invited him as a guest to 100 Black Men of West Texas event and now Scotty says he attends their annual event to contribute in any way he can. He says feedback continues to inspire him to speak to others in the hopes he can help them break away from life on the streets and reach for a better life. He said he was recently told, “Now Scotty, you can come out from stooping in the dark, to standing tall in the light.”

Congratulations and well done, Scotty Scott. You are a success. You did it!

Clyde

Pushing Forward

I retired from the machine shops and metal working industries in 2006 at 72 years of age due to an on the job injury that left me with less than 20 percent vision in my left eye.

Hi!  I’m Clyde and I work in Document Destruction at Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. I retired from the machine shops and metal working industries in 2006 at 72 years of age due to an on the job injury that left me with less than 20 percent vision in my left eye. Because of this injury the company felt like I could no longer do my job.  It was probably best because I was slowing down and having a harder time lifting heavy objects.

In 2010 I realized that I was going to have to go back to work, at least part-time. I did get a job, part-time with a security company.  It turned out to be more than part time so I started looking for other work.  I found out about the computer classes at Goodwill Industries so I applied there. The instructor was very helpful and patient with me while teaching me how to use the computer to make job searches online.  I am now confident in the use of a computer.  While in the class I was hired by Goodwill as a shredder in Document Destruction, a job that is very easy for me to do and supplements my social security quite well.  I am very thankful for this help and job as I had applied to many places but my age was against me.  Goodwill Industries is very good about helping people who cannot find work elsewhere and in finding jobs for people.

 

Clyde passed away in January 2016, while still employed at Goodwill.

Barbra & Matt

More Than a Donation

Barbara, CRC Receptionist, Goodwill Industries of NW Texas; and Matt, CRC Employment Specialist, Goodwill Industries of NW Texas, Lubbock, TX.

Both Barbara and Matt are former Goodwill CRC clients, now valued employees at Goodwill Lubbock.

By Kim Lehman-Brown, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas, Communications Consultant Barbara Casteel and Matt Rodriguez are each a unique success story, but they share some common ground. Both employees with Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas (GINWT) were Goodwill clients before beginning their new careers with the organization. They also share the qualities of how the power of work changes lives—not just their own lives, but those of the people they interact with at GINWT.

Barbara’s Story: The last few years of Casteel’s retail career had been fraught with difficulties due to stressful physical demands and being passed over for advancement opportunities into full-time employment for better pay and benefits. The reason for not rising in her career, Casteel said, is that management relayed to her she was too valuable in her present position. A friend suggested to her she might be interested in Goodwill’s Training, Placement and Life skills Program (T-PALS) to acquire free computer skills training to change the course of her stagnant career path. Casteel took her advice. “When I walked through the door as a student, the Goodwill team looked at me as a person of value, and they have not dropped the ball since then,” Casteel said. After graduating from both basic and intermediate computer skills classes, that also earned her credit hours from Goodwill’s T-PALS partner, South Plains College, Casteel received a call from Goodwill asking her if she might be interested in applying for a receptionist job. “I didn’t give it a second thought,” Casteel said. “I gave my retail job 2-week notice to be a part of an organization that takes broken lives and helps mend them. We are here to give them encouragement, support and a smile and when I walk them to the door, they hopefully carry that with them.” Casteel began working as the full-time receptionist for T-PALS in September of 2016 and said Goodwill has helped her have the confidence to know her own worth. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as valued anywhere else. I’m so much more than my title. They were there to support me when I had just started working here and tragedy struck my family and they went above and beyond for me. I am here, I am happy, I am where I need to be,” Casteel said.

Matt’s Story: Matt Rodriguez has been an employment specialist at GINWT since January of 2018 helping those with barriers to employment in the community gain the skills they need to find sustainable employment. A couple of years before coming to work with Goodwill, Rodriguez had just retired from a career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Brownfield. He had also served in the U.S. Army, the National Guard, and the Reserves. He later worked for the city and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department. He said instead of staying retired, he wanted to continue in service of others, but without any computer skills, he felt his options were limited. His sister encouraged him to apply for computer classes at Goodwill’s T-PALS program – now known as the Career Resource Center “CRC”.  The first person Rodriguez encountered when he walked through the doors of T-PALS was Barbara Casteel. He asked the receptionist if there was a charge for classes and after hearing there was no charge, he decided to apply. “I didn’t think they would accept me because I had an extensive background, but I was approved to start basic computer classes right away. When I first started classes, I could only type about 10 to 15 words per minute, but I dug in and ended up graduating with basic and then graduated intermediate computer training,” Rodriguez said. With computer skills under his belt, Rodriguez applied with an area hospital. But when an employment service specialist at T-PALS heard about his job search, Rodriguez said, “She asked me, ‘Didn’t you want to help people? We have an employment specialist job open and you could help people find employment.’” Rodriguez turned in an application with GINWT. The same day he turned in an application with Goodwill, Rodriguez was called back for an interview with the hospital. He thanked them but turned down the job saying he had already found the job he was looking for. “Taking the computer classes had opened two doors for me, but I wanted to continue to help people, so I came here to work.” Rodriguez said. As an employment specialist, Rodriguez said he assists clients with enrolling in employment development programs with Goodwill such as computer skills, job search skills and assistance, developing interview skills, and building resumes. “Many people have barriers to employment,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a challenge for me and I enjoy helping them know they can do better. It has made me a better person, knowing when I’m helping people, it will have an impact. I can see the positive benefits from what I am doing.”

Janice

Breaking Barriers

​After working many years as a math teacher at Harmony Science Academy in Lubbock, Texas, Janice Barnes was faced with a road block. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

After working many years as a math teacher at Harmony Science Academy in Lubbock, Texas, Janice was faced with a roadblock. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Because of the nature of the disease, Janice was unable to continue teaching. Faced with unemployment, Janice found hope when she attended a Goodwill job fair in January 2014. She was interviewed at the fair and hired shortly after as a cashier in one of the local Goodwill stores.

“Without Goodwill, I would be running around unemployed because there aren’t many employers that are willing to see past the road blocks that life has put in your path, and I would not have the friends that I have,” Janice said. “I would not have the ability to do something good for people every day.”

Unfortunately Janice’s condition got worse, creating difficulties for her when operating the cash register. However, she was determined to continue working and was moved to a position within Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas’s E-Commerce division. There, she inspects books, finds the best prices for them and either lists them on www.ShopGoodwill.com or Amazon.com or sends them to the local stores to be sold.

“I really appreciate that from an employer because it’s so difficult with certain troubles to find an employer that cares about you. And Goodwill does,” she said. “I love working with books and helping people find books they love so they can live a life they may not have been able to have through reading.”

Janice’s story, as well as many others shared among Goodwill employees, reinforces Goodwill’s mission of creating job opportunities for people with barriers to employment.

“Goodwill believes in everyone’s ability to work toward and achieve greater independence,” said Michelle Barrientez, manager of e-commerce for Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. “We respect and love the uniqueness of all or our employees.”

Joe

Overcoming Obstacles

The barriers continued to pile up, and I found myself jobless, not eligible for disability income, and without health insurance while dealing with medical issues.

I found myself at my lowest point when I lost my father while still in high school. As a result, I felt the burden of needing to step up and fill my father’s shoes by taking care of my mom. Unfortunately, medical issues made this difficult for me to do. I was told I was disabled and unable to work so I attempted to get on disability income with no success. ​

The barriers continued to pile up, and I found myself jobless, not eligible for disability income, and without health insurance while dealing with medical issues. I had two tentative job offers upon graduation from high school, however, due to my health issues, I was unable to finish and obtain my diploma and was turned down for both jobs.

The feelings of failure and being a burden to my family became too overwhelming for me and this started a downward spiral of depression, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. Eventually, I hit rock bottom and knew if I didn’t make some changes, I would either end up dead or in jail. I started praying for a second chance and made a vow that if given that chance, I would make better choices, choices that would have a big impact.

My prayers were answered when my older sister told me about Goodwill and was persistent in telling me that I needed to go see if Goodwill could help me. I was resistant at first as I feared the usual would happen and those who were “supposed” to help me would turn their backs on me. I feared that I would be judged and that people would think I wanted a hand out instead of a hand up. Fortunately, for me, I was wrong.

Goodwill encouraged me to pursue my GED. My commitment and persistence to do better did not go unnoticed by the staff. I was encouraged to enroll into Goodwill’s basic computer training course and went on to take the intermediate level computer course. Upon completing the intermediate level course, I was offered a part-time reception position with Goodwill and took the advanced computer training class. I successfully completed all three computer training courses which were eight weeks long; five days a week, and obtained my GED all in two years.

I started my journey as a part-time receptionist with Goodwill in June 2013 and in October 2015, I was promoted to the administrative assistant position working alongside the two chief executives of Goodwill.

Lynette

Becoming New

 I am pleased to share a little bit of my experience while attending some classes at Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas.

My name is Lynette. I am 41 years old. I have two beautiful children, Andrew and Michael. I am a recovering drug addict and currently a client of the Downtown Women’s Center, participating in their Recovery and New Way of Life Program. I am pleased to share a little bit of my experience while attending some classes at Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. I have struggled and hidden my mess and heartache for 20 or more years. In August 2015 I surrendered my life and will over to Jesus Christ! I went to an intensive outpatient rehabilitation program at Amarillo Recovery for Alcohol and Drugs. I graduated on Oct. 28, 2015, and vigorously embraced every obstacle set in front of me with complete willingness to be free from the bondage I was trapped within. I have some disabilities and, due to my history with drug abuse, I was no longer going to take any pain medicines. If I endured pain, I would learn coping skills. I refused to get Social Security. I would not go on disability because I am not disabled in my mind or heart nor my soul! I am very capable of doing more than I thought. I might not be able to stand or walk for more than half an hour at a time, but I certainly will fight to work on that. What I can do is follow the light to the path of my purpose. I thought how great it would be if I could go back to school and get the skills and knowledge necessary to find a job where my new skills could be applied. But I never thought I would be given direction to go to Goodwill Industries. When I was led to Goodwill, I was a bit closed minded to be honest. I was completely unaware of the services Goodwill provided. I actually preferred the community college. After my first week in Microsoft Word I saw the light come on. I was doing things. I could type. I was not as dumb as I defined myself to be while in my active addiction. The cobwebs were brushed away and I became very motivated and confident! I started to dress like a lady, and I felt pretty! I began to feel real smart! I have to say with this opportunity at Goodwill, my confidence has immensely increased. I feel like I have a purpose when I get up daily. I love it! I have been given the go ahead to rise up out of the trenches and face my fears and realize I am smart and because I achieved these certificates from Goodwill, I get to go back to college at Amarillo College and get more knowledge and skills necessary to become more responsible and lead my family in an example of being well educated, hard -working members of our community. I am going to be a leader and my mess has become my message and my struggles are becoming my strengths!

Zeinab

Bridging Gaps

I attended the class, and I knew those ladies were serious, so I became serious about the class too.

My story with Goodwill begins after I graduated ESL (English as a Second Language) class and got my GED. I realized that I did not have computer skills. My first visit was to Amarillo College. Unfortunately at that time it was already two weeks into the semester with no beginner’s class offered. I went to the public library and found out that there was a class available one day per week for one hour. It was there when I and another gentleman were advised by a lady at the library to go to Goodwill for free computer training. I knew the store, but did not know anything about the Career Center. The next day I came back, filled the application, and met Maria, an employee there. She told me that right now there was no class, but she gave me the schedule for the fall.

I did not go back until one day my aunt told me that there were ladies from Goodwill looking for me at my house. It was the first time anyone from any school did that for me. I still remember it as it was a big day for me for sure. I will remember it.  I attended the class, and I knew those ladies were serious, so I became serious about the class too. I had to learn, so I did well in typing, Microsoft Word, and in spring 2013 I came back for intermediate – to study Excel, and PowerPoint. As soon as I graduated I found a job as a phlebotomist, and computers are very important for this job. A person who has no computer skills cannot get a job as a phlebotomist. This year I got a raise because of the computer – I know how to use computers, and I know how to use the system at the hospital.

Julie

Overcoming Obstacles

Julie overcame a lot of obstacles and worked very hard to improve her skills and learn new things.

At a young age Julie went through a time of rehabilitation from an aneurysm which left her partially disabled, including losing eyesight in and the use of much of her left side as well as memory struggles. Through all this, she persevered and graduated from High School and went on to college and earned an associate degree in Child Development and Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. She also received her teaching certificate for EC-4th grade and EC-12th grade special education. Julie’s passion is children, and she was able to teach Bible lessons to preschoolers for many years.  Devastatingly, she lost that position and with it much of her confidence and belief that she could pursue her passion.

Julie joined Goodwill’s Career Resources program to brush up on her computer skills to find employment as a part-time office assistant.

Julie met with our Employment Specialist. They started to make plans to help her meet her employment goals. Together they worked on perfecting her interview techniques, updated her resume, and dug into job searching and applications.

Julie graduated from Intermediate and Advanced computer class and gained skills in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Google Docs.  She went above and beyond by taking every Career Enhancement and Job Development seminar that was offered (43 in all).  Her confidence was building daily.

Julie persisted in applying and interviewing for office positions but was unable to secure employment. After 8 months of searching, she stumbled upon an opportunity to for a part time teacher’s assistant for a Christian Child Care Center.  She gathered her confidence, practiced her interviewing one last time, and secured that prized position that seemed tailor made for her.

She says she is happy in what she has accomplished. She shared, with tears in her eyes, how grateful she was to Career Resources and Goodwill for being here for her when she needed us. She prayed for our program to be able to reach the community with what we have to offer.

“My true success comes from God. Without his help I don’t know where I’d be.” She quoted Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Julie overcame a lot of obstacles and worked very hard to improve her skills and learn new things. Though some tasks were very hard at times, she fought through every one of them and won! She did not give up. The fountain of knowledge that was poured in helped her to advance and reach goals she had almost given up on.

Way to go Julie!