When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the United States early in 2020, Toni Meador found herself among the millions who were suddenly without work.
Like many, a pandemic-related layoff was not the only challenge she was facing. Toni was working to recover from identity theft and leaving an abusive marriage. She did not have transportation and lacked other supports, such as housing to keep herself and her son safe.
Toni knew she would need a new job to get back on her feet and move forward. Having previously found employment using Goodwill Houston’s career and veteran services in 2012 and 2014, she knew she could turn to them again for assistance.
Goodwill Houston provided Toni with both in-person and virtual job search and career navigation services. To support her journey to self-sufficiency, Goodwill Houston provided financial coaching, transportation and housing assistance, as well assistance finding professional clothing.
With Goodwill’s help, she and her son were able to move to a safe place and to secure transportation. With those basic needs met, Toni used the tools she learned through Goodwill’s Workboost financial strengthening platform to save money to start her own business. Just six months after connecting with Goodwill this year, she is now a self-employed contractor, earning three times the income she earned in her job prior to the pandemic.
Toni has achieved her goals with determination and the continued support of Goodwill.
To get where she is today, Ms. Potts had to overcome substance use disorder, a difficult childhood and battle cancer. She found Goodwill Houston through the Ticket to Work program and was hired as a Custodian at the Veteran Services Job Connection Center. Her coworkers have dubbed her “Mother Hen,” and she takes pride in her work helping others. She is a true believer in second chances and that it is by God’s grace, mercy, and favor that she is alive to give her testimony. Her Goodwill family shares this compassion, and she uses this as motivation to come to work each day. Ms. Potts’ consistent hard work and drive for success have been acknowledged across all of Goodwill Houston. She goes above and beyond her custodial duties and loves serving wherever she can. Ms. Potts’ was recently promoted from Custodian to a full-time Client Services Data Specialist but she still takes the initiative to keep the facility clean.
Rocosky Myers first came to Goodwill Houston’s Job Connection Center in 2018. Mr. Myers had worked in the HVAC industry for several years and gradually began losing his vision. He was forced to leave the industry in 2017 and struggled to find employment that would accommodate his disability. He served as a volunteer for Goodwill previously and now exemplifies how mission integration can help a volunteer transition into a successful employee. He has been recognized as a standout employee and is proud of his success. In search of a reliable vehicle, Mr. Myers worked with GoodPaths who helped him connect with On the Road Lending for more affordable and reliable transportation. He meets regularly with his employment specialist to review his budget and ensure he is managing his funds appropriately.
Chris Johnson became a Goodwill Houston client in 2018 at the River Oaks Job Connection Center. Homeless and holding his life in a plastic bag, Chris was ready to change his life for his children. He had a strong interest in the Apartment Maintenance Professional (AMP) program but needed a job immediately. He completed orientation and assessments before landing a job at the River Oaks Goodwill store. Chris worked part-time and took evening classes in the AMP program. He attended every job shadowing event, participated in workshops, and eagerly learned more about possible careers. Chris accepted his first assignment with BG Staffing a week before his graduation in December of 2018. He now works full-time as a Porter for Oak Leaf Management. Chris continues to grow financially stable and confident in his new maintenance position.
Darell moved to Houston when he lost his job at the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, LA. Upon his arrival, he was unemployed, homeless, and living with HIV. Any of these challenges could have disrupted his willingness to succeed. He found his way to the Legacy Health Center, where he received treatment and medication for his HIV. His case manager told him about the Goodwill Job Connection Center and the services that we offer. He was ready to take charge of his life. In March of 2018, Darell attended and completed the Yes You Can Program and was assigned to Goodwill Employment Specialist Tony W. “From the moment I met Darell, I knew he was serious about changing his current situation,” said Tony. Darell has used his barriers as stepping-stones to success. He thinks positively and strives to become a better person. He works well with others and is taking all of the necessary steps to better himself. His supervisor says, “From day one, Darell worked hard and became self-sufficient”. He wanted to change his situation by gaining employment and housing. No longer homeless, Darell landed a job at Landry’s Downtown Aquarium as a parking lot attendant, and because of his hard work, he has now gained more responsibilities within Park Operations by working with park rides, concessions, birthday parties and special events. His coworkers have called him a true “team player”.
As a husband and father to a young son, Francisco was a stay-at-home dad living with disabilities. Once his son started school, he began to work as a home healthcare provider for the elderly, but was curious to explore other employment possibilities. After learning that Goodwill hires individuals with disabilities and/or barriers to employment, he told his wife he was ready for a change. He applied and began his job in 2016 as a Donation Attendant at our West Lake Houston store. He was extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity because no other job would hire him because of his disability. He loves working for Goodwill. He has a great drive to work hard, succeed, and inspire his coworkers. He is a great motivator. Francisco says, “Each day when I come into work, I try to make someone’s day by greeting them with a smile, giving a compliment, or simply taking a moment to attentively listen.”
People Served by Workforce Development
People hired by Goodwill Houston