Savanna was sentenced to 20 years in prison before she had the chance to grow up. When she was released, she had to start from square one.

While bouncing around treatment facilities, she noticed others benefitting from the services provided at Goodwill. But the nearest store to her wasn’t hiring.

“I had seen a lot of success in other people,” she said, “and I wanted that success.”

So, she left her job at McDonald’s in downtown Louisville and rode the bus four hours to and from work every day so she could work at the Middletown Goodwill. She began on July 6, 2021.

“They were just very understanding,” she said. “And I knew a lot of people here were like me, with the same struggles and same disease.”

Six months after her hiring and a year after she became sober, Savanna was able to purchase a vehicle to transport herself to and from work. And in June, she was promoted to team lead. She said it wouldn’t have been possible without her leadership team, including Senior Store Manager Tiffany Green.

“I had to have a lot of guidance because I’m a second-guesser,” she said. “But Goodwill guided me, like a lot. I’ve had a lot of down days where I’ve wanted to give up. But with the push of Goodwill and of course our management team, I’ve been able to make it.”

Tiffany has even helped Savanna with her children. With a prison sentence and trips to different treatment facilities, Savanna didn’t get the opportunity to grow with her children. With Tiffany’s help, Savanna enrolled them in school and is raising them on her own. She’s had custody for 19 months after reuniting with them for the first time in four years.

“We’ve been on this journey ever since,” she said. “It’s not easy, at all. I have to call Tiffany every day. … Tiffany helps me a lot with my parenting.”

Savanna said Tiffany sees in her what she doesn’t see in herself. Savanna thought she was in trouble when Tiffany told her to come into her office to tell her she was going to have a success story prepared for her.

“I look at Tiffany every day as a role model,” she said. “She told me that she reminded me of herself. When she told me that, it just made me want more. That way, I can keep climbing the mountain like she did.”

Savanna said she’s going to keep pushing to be better every day with her Goodwill “family.” She said the opportunity to work for Goodwill “changed everything.”

“My motivation, my determination, all of that changed (when I came to Goodwill),” she said.