A Second Chance: Katie's Inspiring Journey with Goodwill
For Katie Crowder, the journey to Goodwill Southeast Georgia came with many challenges. As she approaches one year with the company, Crowder says she now focuses on a series of successes that's taken her from volunteer to full-time cashier to retail team lead in 6 months.
“May 10th (marked) my one-year sobriety for being completely clean off of drugs. Some days are easier than others, some are harder than others.”
Crowder says a past filled with mental, physical, and sexual abuse influenced her use of drugs. She shared it was ultimately a loss that led to one of the darkest times in her life.
“My son’s father ended up passing away in 2005. It was a lot for me to try to get past and to go through. And as a result of trying to fill that void, and deal with life and everything, I turned to drugs.”
Crowder recalls struggling to find her next meal and living in what she says was barely a home.
“I was in pretty much a tin box on wheels, the trailer didn’t have walls, it barely had floors. Pretty much eating out of a dumpster.”
Crowder was facing fines and probation. An abusive relationship also kept her on the run.
“I knew it was time for a change and I was ready for a change,” she says.
Crowder got that chance when she says her son came to help her. She left with him and went back to her hometown of Jesup. It was there Crowder started to consider her next steps.
“I had two years of probation and a $2,000 fine. I had 80 hours of community service that I was supposed to do. I went to different places, and nobody was needing help and my son’s first suggestion was, ‘why don’t you go to the Goodwill in Jesup?’”
She was looking at a tight deadline for her community service. She had only a week to make it happen. Crowder says she managed to get nearly 56 hours of her requirement in just four days at Goodwill.
“I pretty much came from open to close,” Crowder laughs. “I got really interested in it. It was the type of atmosphere where I wanted to try to get a job (at Goodwill)."
"I love working around people, I’m a people person. The managers over the Jesup store apparently liked what they saw, and I’m so glad they did.”
Crowder says the day she cleared all her legal matters; she went straight to Goodwill after leaving the courtroom.
“(The managers) liked the way I presented myself out on the floor, so they asked me if I would be interested in being a cashier?”
Crowder started back in July, and quickly saw her hard work pay off in less than 6 months.
“By January, I had went from community service to part time, to full time, to being a team lead.
I love it. I love my job here. I love my customers. I tell everyone I have two families. My home-life family and my Goodwill family.”
Crowder encourages anyone who is facing challenges to reach out to the resources available in the community. She says Goodwill is a great place to start.
“Goodwill is a very understanding company. They are very willing company…if you are willing to put in the work, and do what needs to be done, you will succeed. You will grow. You will move up.”
Crowder says from where she is now, she can see much brighter times ahead.
“With the help of Goodwill, I can see a future now. So it’s something for me to look forward to. I just grow a little more each day. And ten years from now, who knows where I may be?”
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