Cookeville Area Woman Makes Dramatic Turnaround with Goodwill’s Help

Ask Alecia about her life before Goodwill, and she says she didn’t have one.

For more than a decade, the Cookeville area native was mired in a toxic mix of drug abuse and abusive relationships. Then, in early 2012, the state took custody of her twin girls soon after they were born.

“That was rock bottom for me,” she recalls. “I knew I had to shape up and do something different.”

Alecia completed long-term addiction treatment in Alabama and was discharged to the Turning Point halfway house in Nashville. She was required to find a job, and the house mother told her about a job fair being held at the Goodwill Career Solutions center in Antioch. Through a contact she made at the job fair, she was accepted into a paid Goodwill training program where she learned to process donated shoes, housewares and accessories. Along the way, she received training in digital literacy, resume writing and online job search.

Every day for two weeks, Alecia walked two and a half miles from the bus stop to the Goodwill store and back again after her shift. But she made friends quickly at work, and her trainer began giving her rides. She also gained a reputation as a hard worker.

When her training was complete, she was offered a position — her first in more than three years.

“When I got the job with Goodwill, I was so excited,” she says. “There was no way I was going to let anybody down.

I was going to work as hard as possibly could to show them I was determined to change my life.”

After a year, she requested to be transferred to the Cookeville store so she could be closer to her children.

 Two years later, Alecia, is now a lead processor under store Manager Nicole Knoxville.

“Alecia is an amazing employee,” Knoxville says. “When the lead processor job came open, hands down there was no question she was getting it. Everything she does is 110 percent.”

The future that once looked so bleak for Alecia is now bright. She remains dedicated to sobriety and has a job she loves. And she has regained shared custody of her healthy, happy twins and enjoys frequent visits with her oldest daughter, now 12.

Alecia takes nothing for granted and has learned to celebrate small steps, such as owning her own automobile for the first time.

“I have a lot of good things going for me,” she says. “I have a relationship with my parents and my children, and that’s something I didn’t have before.”

Knoxville says Alecia’s leadership skills have grown by “leaps and bounds” and she has the potential to move into management.

Alecia is determined to reach that goal.

“I think I’m capable of it now,” she says. “I didn’t have any hope for myself at all before. I’m very proud of what I’ve overcome.”

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— By Chris Fletcher
Prior to joining Goodwill as its PR & Communications Manager in 2014, Fletcher was a professional journalist for
more than 25 years working at media outlets in three states, including the Associated Press.