"My life is very different now. Goodwill helped me with a lot of things!"
When you talk to Nicole White, one of the first things she’ll proudly tell you in that she is now ”seven years clean”. Nicole has come a long way in her journey from the years when she abused alcohol, had “no job” and no home of her own. She and her five children had to live with family members, and in her words, “life was terrible”.
Nicole knew she needed help to get her life back on track, so she placed her children in the care of her aunt and went to a supportive living house for women who needed help to get clean. After a year and a half, she was ready to move on to the next step in her journey. Nicole was referred to the New York State Education Department’s ACCES-VR (Adult Career & Continuing Ed Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) program to get the help she needed to find a job to support herself and her family. That’s when she came to Goodwill. Nicole entered and completed Goodwill’s 60-day janitorial training program. She was valued for her excellent work ethic and hired by Goodwill’s Donated Goods Processing division as a processor, sorting and preparing items to be sold at Goodwill’s twelve retail stores. Nicole had entered the program at Goodwill with a number of community supports, but through increased confidence and work skills, she was slowly able to wean off her reliance on the system and become more independent.
That was 4-1/2 years ago. Nicole has recently been promoted to Processing Lead where she helps manage both the textiles and wares section. She’ll tell you that her coworkers are “awesome” and that she “learns a lot from them”. Nicole is a member of Goodwill’s self-advocacy group, the Goodwill “Go Getters”, and she has also taken on the extra responsibility of working with groups that volunteer at Goodwill, managing the project details hands on. When asked about her life, Nicole will tell you she “has her kids back with her” and lives in her own place with her 17 year old daughter. When asked about what is next for her, Nicole proudly announces, “I’m going back to school to get my GED!”
Nicole’s new outlook on life has taken her from an employee that just gets by to someone searching out career advancement opportunities. She is a sponge for new knowledge to expand her horizons both in life and at work. She is making better life choices, changing her inner circle and putting her family first. Nicole is working to remove the last of her past’s barriers and looking to the future, and her future definitely looks bright!