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You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you’ll find, you get what you need.” — The Rolling Stones

In more than one sense, life had kicked Lisa to the curb.

Before January of 2013, the 35-year-old single mom had a good job and the support of her father in raising her four children. But she went to jail for a probation violation. She missed work and got fired from her job at a document scanning service. And then, the next month, her father died unexpectedly.

“I had gone from plenty of income to no income,” Lisa said. “I started to panic.”

Making matters worse, her inability to pass a background check tripped her up with prospective employers.

“I filled out application after application — tons of them, and nobody would call me,” she recalled. “Nobody would give me a chance.”

Needing help to find a job fast, Lisa went to Goodwill Career Solutions. She completed resume, computer and online job search classes.

But within a few weeks, she was so desperate for income, she was driving around town, scanning driveways and curbsides for discarded metal she could sell to a scrapyard. That’s what Lisa was doing when she got a phone call from Goodwill, offering her a paid position in a training program.

“I was so excited, I didn’t even ask where I was going to work,” she recalled with a laugh.

Her new job as a clothing processor was at the North Jackson Goodwill retail store.

 Though grateful for the opportunity, Lisa was filled with apprehension, because she had worked in retail once before and it wasn’t a good experience. In fact, she hated it.

“I remember when I first went to Career Solutions, sitting in the car and praying, ‘God, please don’t put me at Goodwill. I don’t want to work in a retail store,’” she said.

But with her situation dire, Lisa vowed to make the best of it. At first, she didn’t like her new position, but as she began learning more tasks and getting to know her coworkers, her feelings changed. Soon, Lisa fell in love with the nonprofit organization’s mission of changing lives through education, training and employment.

Five years later, Lisa “absolutely loves” her job. She has a newfound confidence and self-esteem. She has been promoted twice and is now an assistant manager at Goodwill’s South Jackson store.

Her life is no longer headed for the scrap heap. She has financial stability and has stepped out from the shadow of her legal troubles. And most of all, she has a mission.

“Lisa eats, breathes and sleeps Goodwill,” her supervisor, Lori Kelly, said.

Now the woman who once thought she hated retail has a new goal: work at Goodwill’s corporate office.

“Goodwill helped me — it changed my life. In return, I want to keep learning and help Goodwill as much as I can,” Lisa said.


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