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Goodwill Helps Employee Leave Behind a Past of Hardship

Katrina Newlin is the proud new owner of a 2006 Honda Accord. Newlin, a Retail Store Associate 3 at Goodwill’s Lexington store, is the latest recipient of the Wheels To Work Program. The program was established in 2013 to help Goodwill employees eliminate the barrier of transportation. 

“I applied with hopes and prayed that God would give it to me,” said Newlin.”

Katrina received the car surrounded by her family and coworkers during a celebratory ceremony in Lexington. She says the timing was a blessing, as the car she was driving to her shifts was a “death trap.” Its windows were duct-taped and the air conditioner didn’t work well. Despite the car barely getting her where she needed to go, Katrina never missed a shift or showed up late. She says Goodwill has helped her leave behind a past of hardship. 

Before finding Goodwill, Katrina was going through a divorce from her abusive ex-husband who was struggling with a methamphetamine addiction and repeatedly fired from jobs. She wanted a better life for herself and her kids but worried she wouldn’t be able to find a job after being out of the workforce for twenty years. She called her close friend and Jackson Career Solutions Coach Christine McCrury who quickly got her an interview at the Lexington store. After landing a job as an entry-level, part-time donations sorter, she worked her way up to her current position as a Retail Store Associate 3. 

With the support of her store manager Kelly Tinin, Katrina quickly became full-time and began Goodwill’s Progression Achievement (GPA) program, a voluntary, accelerated training program for retail employees. Her hard work and dedication paid off time and time again as she excelled through the program, earning associated pay increases faster than any other participant. 

“This job has helped me to mend a lot of issues I had,” she says, noting that her health had declined because of years of depression and anxiety. “Coming here has made me stronger mentally. I feel 100% better about myself, and I proved to myself and the kids that we can get better.”

Along with her Honda Accord, Katrina now has full custody of her kids and pays all of the family’s bills. She calls the weekend she received the car “the best one of her life.” The ceremony was followed by her birthday celebration the next day and a proposal from her boyfriend. 

Congrats, Katrina!


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