In 2011, Amy was convicted of a felony. Because of her record, she found it hard to find and keep a job. She also lost custody of her children.
Four years after her conviction, she began working at a Goodwill store in Ohio and learned about the mission behind Goodwill. In 2014, she regained custody of her children after becoming sober. However, “through some crazy circumstances,” she wound up unhoused in 2020. She and her children then moved to Kentucky to live with her mother.
Because she enjoyed working at the Goodwill in Ohio, she decided to apply at the Stanford store in Kentucky and was hired in January of 2021.
“A lot of places overlooked me because of that felony on my record,” she said, “but Goodwill decided to give me a shot.”
Just six months later, Amy was promoted to assistant manager at Stanford. And on March 27, 2022, she was named the store manager of the Berea location.
“Since starting with Goodwill, we have been able to afford our own home, I’ve been able to have a vehicle,” she said. “We don’t have to worry about our water getting shut off or our lights getting shut off. They don’t have to worry if they’re going to have to eat Ramen for their next meal. Because I’m able to provide for them.
“Being a single mother, I’m all they have. They don’t have the grandparent support, even. They are 100% why I do why I do. I want to be able to give them what they need, and I want them to have a mother that they can be proud of.”
Amy’s 13-year-old daughter said people need to hear her mom’s story because of the power of second chances.
“So many people come through these doors broken,” Amy said. “Goodwill doesn’t look at what they did 10 years ago, Goodwill looks at what they’re doing now and who they are now. Being at Goodwill has made me more candid about the fact that I am a felon and more candid about the struggles I’ve had with drug addiction.”
As a manager, Amy loves that she has the opportunity to give individuals a hand up, not a handout, after they face challenges in life. She said she’s happy to be their “cheerleader.”
“There are so many people out there that just haven’t been given a chance,” she said. “To know that I can give them a chance means a whole lot to me. I tell all my managers here – we are to lead with grace. Because we wouldn’t be here if not for the grace that someone showed us.”
Amy also has a new smile thanks to the GoodSmiles program, which offers select employees $5,000 to use for dental procedures on top of their dental coverage. Amy said that’s just one of many “tools” available to Goodwill employees and program participants.
Amy said most of her employees’ goals each month are to pay rent each month. She said she has her phone on “24/7” in case an employee needs help or is contemplating relapse. She said she relishes the opportunity to lift others’ expectations.
“It’s good to be able to do that for people because there’s not enough of it in the world,” she said. “And I’m lucky Goodwill has provided me with that chance.”