Meet James

Goodwill Program Participant

“Prison saved my life. I finally decided that I was going to get out and try to do things differently.”

James has struggled with substance abuse all of his life, and eventually, he landed in prison for three years due to his addiction. He looks on that time as the absolute turning point in his life. “Prison saved my life,” said James, “I finally decided that I was going to get out and try to do things differently.”

When James was released, he had to start all over again. He came to Goodwill Central Texas for help finding a job. He had learned that Goodwill specialized in assisting people with obstacles to employment. He started working with a Career Case Manager to update his skills and start a job search but his confidence waned when he experienced rejection due to his criminal background. “I was transparent about my background during the interview,” said James. Then, a job offer would be extended, only to have it rescinded after a background check. “I would be just devastated, and there were a couple of times I…wanted to quit.”

Throughout his journey, the Team at Goodwill gave him support, guidance and especially encouragement. “They would raise me up. They said ‘Jim, we know you work so hard, we know that you’re going to find a job.’ It made me not want to quit and not give up, not when I have people like that behind me.”

Today, James has a job in sales that he really enjoys, thanks to his determination and his work with Goodwill. “I like what I’m doing, and they must like me… there’s an element of trust there. I must be doing something right.”

James is four years sober and working to his goal of retirement in his current position. “I’d like for this to be the last job that I ever have,” he said. “I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I know that if I do the right thing every day…and try to help somebody when I can, that I’ll be taken care of.”