Alesha lost her job when the restaurant where she previously worked shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That led her to interview with Goodwill, which she only knew as a reliable thrift store. She was hired at our Campbell Lane location just as the pandemic forced us to close for two months.

When Alesha’s store returned to work, she hit the ground running. She was promoted from production clerk to material handler to assistant manager in less than seven months.

Alesha said she was happy the store employees were required to wear masks because her smile had been affected by addiction. She was then introduced to a new program, Good Smiles, which offers employees up to $5,000 for dental procedures not covered by insurance.

“I’ve always liked to smile and talk to people and now I can,” she said, “and I’m not embarrassed about my smile.”

When Alesha joined our Goodwill family, she had no idea about the programs and services we offer to help reduce poverty. Now, she tells everyone about our mission.

Alesha’s brother spent 10 years in prison, but with help from Goodwill career coaches, he was able to find a job with an employer partner within two weeks of his release.

“His background is pretty bad, but within two weeks they had him a job. That was pretty amazing,” she said.

“It didn’t matter how bad it was or what we did in the past. It’s OK. It’s a safe place.”

Alesha has recently completed our GREAT program, which stands for Goodwill Retail Employee Advancement Training. She’s now an assistant manager II after finishing the 10-week training, where she said she was able to learn from other managers.

“I can take that to my team members and apply it,” she said. “… It’s teaching me ways to communicate and help employees better. I’m excited to see how far I can go.”