GNLive202404 Second Chances

Approximately 77 million Americans, or 1 in every 3 adults, have a criminal record. (Source: National Conference of State Legislatures) A criminal record creates barriers to life’s essentials. It can prevent people from getting a steady job, finding a safe place to live, accessing quality healthcare or even returning to school.

At Goodwill Southeast Georgia, we believe in second chances. As we observe Second Chance Month, we are proud to share the inspiring story of Wendy, one of our valued Associates, who found hope, support, and a path to a sustainable career through Goodwill.


"Before I came into Goodwill that day, I didn't even know there was a Goodwill," Wendy shares. "When I walked in, I saw a former coworker who was the manager there, and she asked me if I was looking for a job. I told her, 'I've been looking for a job, but I'm a felon and nobody wants to hire a felon.' She looked at me and said, 'Wendy, this is a place of second chances.'"

Wendy's encounter at Goodwill marked the beginning of a transformative journey. "I knew that's where I needed to be because they didn't look at my past. They looked at my now," she reflects.

As Wendy became part of the Goodwill team, she found acceptance, support, and a sense of belonging. "This town, these people, this job, they've just enveloped me," she says. Despite facing challenges and setbacks in her past, Wendy found an organization that saw her potential and was committed to helping her succeed.

Wendy's journey took another positive turn when Goodwill Southeast Georgia offered her a lifeline. "An email came out asking if there were any barriers that Goodwill could help with. It wasn't long before a lawyer was contacting me, saying, 'We partnered with Goodwill and we want to see about possibly clearing your background,'" she recalls.

For Wendy, this opportunity was life-changing. "That was music to my ears because I felt like I had worked so hard and for so long, and for 20 years, nobody had offered to help. I had gone through lawyer after lawyer. But Goodwill was willing to help me. I can't even tell you what that felt like," she expresses with gratitude.

Through Goodwill's support, Wendy not only found employment but also pursued her passion for healthcare. "During this time, I got the opportunity to go to EMT school," she shares. "After 20 years, Goodwill helped me clear my record, and now I'm an EMT. I'm free now. It's like there's nothing I can't do."


Wendy's story is a testament to the power of second chances and the transformative impact of community support. "There's no goal that I can think of that I couldn't do. And maybe one day I might finish that nursing degree. Because of (Goodwill), I can," she concludes.

At Goodwill Southeast Georgia, we are proud to observe Second Chance Month and remain committed to providing individuals like Wendy with the support and resources they need to thrive. Join us in celebrating second chances and making a positive difference in our community.

Support. Educate. Employ.

Stop by one of our Opportunity Centers today to take your first steps toward a brighter future.

Ashlyn Flowers

Ashlyn Flowers

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