Benita was completing paid training through our Senior Community Service & Employment Program (SCSEP) at our Scottsville Road store in Bowling Green when the manager noticed her strong work ethic and offered her a permanent position as a Goodwill staff member.

For Benita, Goodwill is more than a job. She uses past traumatic experiences to turn “pain into purpose.” For many years, Benita struggled with addiction. She’d get sober but relapse – time and time again.

“There is a difference from being sober and recovering,” Benita said. “Anyone can stay away from a drink or drug for a day. But recovering, that is entirely different.”

Years ago, a judge saw something in Benita that she did not yet see in herself. He told her, “You do not belong here.”

Instead of incarcerating her, he directed her to a recovery program, where she eventually led other women. While Benita still participates in AA and recovery, working at Goodwill proves to be another emotional outlet for her, as she has a gift for connecting with others.

“I can tell when people need someone to talk to,” Benita explained. “I am the last living member of my family, but Goodwill has become my family. I try to share that love and support with my customers.”

Benita, who has cancer, is grateful to wake up every day and know that she has a home at Goodwill.

“It means everything to me,” she said. “Without Goodwill, the Lord and my church family, I would have no purpose.”