Copyright © 2020 - Goodwill of Western New York

​Goodwill of Western New York

1119 William Street

Buffalo, New York 14206

(716) 854-3494

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Achiever of the Year - Jessica Lundgren


“I needed stability for me and my family, and thanks to Goodwill we’re getting there!

Jessica Lundgren believes that “everything happens for a reason” even though it isn’t always easy to understand at the time. Jessica and her family had been living with her parents who were ill while she cared for them. When they passed, she was unable to keep the home because of back taxes owed, and it was sold at auction. Having no other family in the area, she accepted her sister’s invitation to move with her partner and three young sons, six year old twins and a nine year old, to Florida until they could get on their feet. While there and without a vehicle, Jessica was only able to get low-paying waitressing jobs that weren’t enough to support her family. The move proved to be a bad idea, and she was forced to leave her sister’s home and uproot her family again. She pawned her engagement ring so that they could live in a motel in Florida until funds ran out and they became homeless, camping outside.

With the help of an agency in Florida, Jessica and her family were able to secure bus tickets to return to Buffalo where they were literally “dropped off with their suitcases”. She and her children lived in a homeless shelter until they could get public assistance and find an apartment.

The Department of Social Services sent Jessica to Goodwill’s Workfare Program to gain work experience and the soft skills necessary to find employment. Goodwill had just entered into a partnership with Venture Forthe, a licensed home care agency, to provide onsite training at Goodwill’s headquarters. Jessica had always been a caregiver, taking care of both her parents and her “babies”, and decided to begin the personal care aide training program that Venture Forthe was conducting at Goodwill. She completed both the instructional and hands on training classes and began her new job with Venture Forthe. She now works full-time hours and has at least three clients she cares for each week in their homes. When asked about her future goals, Jessica will tell you that she plans to receive her high school equivalency diploma and “still thinks about going to nursing school”. She also wants to “own a lawnmower”. When questioned about the lawnmower she explains that her family is a “long way from where we were last year” but that she dreams of owning a home where they can just “be a family”.

With her positive can-do attitude and ability to overcome all that has come her way, the future looks much brighter for Jessica and her family!