After a cycle of jail time and rehabilitation, Amy knew she had to leave her hometown of Paducah if she wanted to recover. She was staying at a halfway home in Lexington in 2020 when she learned that Goodwill is a second-chance employer. In spite of having a felony on her record, she was hired at our Mapleleaf location.

She began her career at Goodwill as a production clerk, hanging clothes.

“I was eager to learn other positions, like taking donations and grading product,” Amy said. “But I didn’t want anything to do with the cash register.”

One day, after multiple employees called in, the assistant manager assigned Amy to the cash register.

“I hated it,” Amy said. “But I learned how to do it and eventually received proper training.”

Competent at all positions in the store, Amy felt inspired to take her Team Lead Certification (TLC) but did not pass. Despite not passing, the store manager at our Hartland store, Melissa, saw potential in Amy and asked her to transfer locations.

“She saw potential in me, and she wanted to train me,” Amy explained. “She worked with me. She helped me get my license back and helped me get a car.”

Having seen pictures of Amy’s friends and family, Melissa knew that Amy wanted to return home to Paducah and reached out to Joshua Jones, the regional manager for that area. In September 2022, Amy was relocated to western Kentucky and now serves as a floating assistant manager with Mayfield being her base store.

“They found a way to get me home,” Amy said. “And I always wanted to be a floater. I enjoy going to other stores and seeing how they are run. Each location is different.”

Kenna, the store manager at our Paducah store, helped train Amy to pass her Assistant Certification for Excellence (ACE) exam. With a passing score, she was promoted to Assistant Manager II. Amy also graduated from Goodwill’s Retail Employee Advancement Training (GREAT) program and will celebrate five years of sobriety.

“The mission means so much to me. Goodwill has given me confidence that I have never had before. I have learned so much about myself,” Amy said. “I am a good leader. I am a good manager. Goodwill has helped me find myself.”

Recently, Amy ran into a previous supervisor and said, “Can you believe I am an assistant manager now?” The supervisor replied, “I can. I always saw your potential.”

“The people at Goodwill believed in me more than I believed in myself. There is no judgment here; there is only love,” Amy said. “I don’t think I would have made it if it hadn’t been for Goodwill and the support they offered. I spent my whole adult life drinking, stealing and being a horrible person. When I got out, I had nothing but jail papers. Yet, I walked into Goodwill and they gave me a chance. No other place in the world would do that. This isn’t just a job. This is my purpose.”