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“This car is truly a blessing,” she said. “I feel like I’ve got my freedom back.”

Nashville Woman No Longer Has to Rely on Family for Transportation to Work

(Middle Tenn.) — Every morning for the past few years, Charisse Haddox’s family members have given her a ride to work at Goodwill in downtown Nashville.

Then, after a full shift, one of them has picked her up and driven her to a second job. Finally, at the end of a 13- or 14-hour workday, Haddox has waited for someone to come get her and drive her home.

“It’s a struggle when you have to depend on someone else,” the 42-year-old Nashville resident explained. “Especially when you were used to being independent for so long.”

Haddox held down a job as a certified teacher’s assistant for two decades. But when she lost that job about four years ago, she had to start from scratch. She searched for another job without success for six months.

“Everywhere I went people would say, “You’re too over-qualified for this position or you’re under-qualified, but I needed a job,” Haddox recalls.

A friend told her Goodwill helps people who are struggling to find employment.  Haddox visited the Goodwill Career Solutions Center in downtown Nashville. After attending two Job Jams — meetings at which Goodwill career counselors share resources and job leads with clients,  Haddox was hired as an associate in Goodwill’s garment hanging department.

Things were looking up, but then, after eight months on the job, the transmission failed on her old Pontiac Grand Prix.

After that, she had to rely on others for transportation to work or to go grocery shopping for herself and her two nephews, whom she is raising. Though she would have loved to buy a car, she has struggled to keep everyone fed and housed — even after getting a promotion to assistant supervisor of Goodwill’s garment hanging department.

The lack of a car seemed like a roadblock to progress,  Haddox said. On Tuesday, Goodwill removed those limitations by giving her a free car.

At a special ceremony held at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee headquarters in downtown Nashville, the not-for-profit’s President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas presented Haddox with a pre-owned 2002 GMC Envoy in good running condition through Goodwill’s Wheels-to-Work program. The car was donated to Goodwill by a Brentwood couple.

The Wheels-to-Work program helps Goodwill employees and clients who need reliable transportation to get to work. To qualify, participants must  meet certain qualifications such as being employed at least 30 hours, having a valid driver’s license and good driving record. After being notified of acceptance into the program, participants must complete training classes on budgeting, defensive driving and car maintenance.  

“So many people take for granted that when you walk out of your house there’s a car there that’s going to take you where you need to go. But for many individuals who come to Goodwill seeking … an opportunity for a better life (that’s not the case), ” Bourlakas said.

He added that the Wheels-to-Work program gives Goodwill an opportunity to help hard-working employees like Haddox overcome that barrier.

For Haddox, it was an early moment of Thanksgiving. She thanked numerous supervisors, co-workers and family members during the ceremony.

“This car is truly a blessing,” she said. “I feel like I’ve got my freedom back.”

Annual Report_2014_Cover

For more information on how Goodwill is impacting the lives of others read our 2014 Annual Report.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at  www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231

  • Shantavia Jones
    Posted at 12:01h, 15 May Reply


    • Candace Newson
      Posted at 10:10h, 16 May Reply

      Hi Shantavia. Applications are not currently open for Wheels-to-Work and we don’t have a date set yet. However, we will notify staff by sending out an email, putting it on g-TV and alerting all supervisors when we start accepting applications for the program again. Thank you.

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