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Donna's Mission Success Story


Donna came to Sarasota when her second granddaughter was born in 2016. She moved from Pennsylvania to help her son, an Army Staff Sargent, and his family. She found a job at a local department store and enjoyed her life as "Yaya," her new Grandma name. Donna's plan was to work part-time and help her son with the grandchildren.

Things were going very well with her job when her son was diagnosed with PTSD and other serious issues resulting from his military service. His family and, by extension, her family, fell completely apart. She became estranged from her son, daughter-in-law and the children when the couple divorced. It was a very sad and difficult time. Then things got even worse: COVID-19 hit and Donna lost her job.

At 70 years old, she faced a future without her family or any income. When Florida started to reopen, she applied for a job at Goodwill, was hired and welcomed into the Goodwill family. She instantly felt at home.

During her orientation, Donna learned the history of Goodwill and its purpose. She heard things that really resonated with her: Goodwill was providing for those who need it the most – not a handout but a hand-up; a chance to improve their lives; supporting self-esteem and character. Shortly after starting her new job, she met her own GoodPartner Coach – her personal life coach. They discussed her goals and needs. Donna said it made her feel supported and helped to direct her in taking care of herself.

Donna worked hard and, after six months of employment, she became a Certified Role Model Worker. She looks forward to coming to work every day and continues to learn new things. Donna was hired as a cashier and loves the interaction with customers. She is finding a way to become part of the solution for people like her son, who sacrificed so much for our country and freedom. Each time she asks a customer to round up their change for Goodwill’s mission services, she knows in her heart that she is definitely helping her son and others like him.

Donna is grateful to Goodwill for being there for her when she needed them most.

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