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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Goodwill Mission Stories - Willie

Willie is proof that you can change the path of your life and not allow a past criminal record to determine what you can achieve. As Willie shares, “I’m not defined by one bad act, or one good act. It all defines who I am.” Goodwill has helped Willie with that journey.

Despite owning a successful barbershop business for many years, Willie began hanging with the wrong crowd and trouble caught up with him. After being incarcerated three times, for a total of 12 years, Willie found his criminal history a barrier to achieving permanent employment. With only temporary jobs on the horizon, he didn’t have the stability he needed for his wife and growing family.

Walking out of the unemployment offices feeling defeated, Willie stopped and turned his attention to someone who asked him for a pen while filling out paperwork at a Goodwill sponsored table. Willie’s kind nature compelled him to stop and inquire about Goodwill’s services. Goodwill was pleased with Willie’s enthusiastic attitude and encouraged him to apply for a position at Goodwill Great Lakes, where Goodwill provides food service, issues uniforms, delivers mail and performs other logistic services for Sailors and Recruits at the Navy’s only boot camp.

Goodwill Mission Stories - Willie

The eagerness and enthusiasm Willie demonstrated that day helped him get the job, and he began working his way toward a better life. Willie was hired as a Food Service Worker, where he came to be known for his hard work and positive attitude. As Willie says, “wherever I am, I always express the possibility of the impossible!” Willie continued to be promoted throughout his career because of this.

The opportunity to become a Food Service Manager came his way and was followed by tremendous support and encouragement from his coworkers and supervisors. Willie continues to improve his leadership skills through Goodwill professional development opportunities, including being a part of Goodwill’s Community Relations Council, where Willie represents Goodwill by promoting community service opportunities and educating others about the Goodwill mission.

Willie continues to be inspired by everyone he works with, and the support he receives from Goodwill empowers him to be the man he is today.

“I want to spread love to everyone I meet. Wherever I am, always expressing the possibility of the impossible!”


Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440