Jon’s Support System Found in His Goodwill Family

Can you imagine being misunderstood most of your life? Jon had been in group homes as a teenager and never had someone who believed in him and what he was capable of until he came to Goodwill.

Jon’s family believed he wouldn’t amount to much of anything. He would never get out on his own and be completely dependent on them for everything. Because of this mindset that was instilled in him throughout his life, Jon struggled to find his place.

Several dead-end jobs later, Jon was referred to Goodwill’s Employment Skills Training Program. A 6-week program teaching individuals the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Participants learn essential job skills that they will be able to transfer to a job. Jon’s life changed forever when he found a mentor and friend in Chasity (Employment Specialist).

Jon did various janitorial duties while he learned transferable job skills such as being professional and communicating with co-workers and managers. Chasity saw Jon’s potential because he came to work with a positive attitude and took pride in his job.  After Jon’s completion of the program, Chasity helped him get a job at Shopko as a Hardlines Team Associate. At first, it was hard for Jon to fit in with his co-workers and managers. With Chasity’s encouragement, Jon continued to work hard and managed to gain their trust. Jon replies, “These people became my work family and I still keep in contact with them today despite Shopko closing.”

On the last day of work at ShopKo, Jon was presented by Christine, Assistant Manager at Shopko with the Star Service Champion Award. Cynthia told Jon, “We are presenting the Star Service Champion Award to you because you went above and beyond our expectations. You truly went the extra mile for the customers.” At that moment, Jon was in tears. He had never been complimented in his entire life for anything he had done. This was a defining moment for Jon and when he learned, “People in the community see me for who I am.”

One of the goals Jon had when he first started at Goodwill was to move out on his own. Today, Jon has found his own apartment and is becoming independent. “Moving out on his own was a big step for Jon,” explained Chasity about Jon’s progress.

Today, Jon works as a gatekeeper at 1st Class Security. Chasity continues to work with Jon and according to Jon is “a light in his life.” Jon credits Chasity for the support and encouragement she has given him to be the best version of himself.  

Demico’s Life Changing Experience at Goodwill.

Demico is an open and honest person about his life. He knows where he has been and where he would like to go. Recently, he was released from prison on parole and living in a halfway house. Demico knew that he needed to get a job to get his life back together. However, it was difficult for him to get a job with a record. Most employers wouldn’t consider giving him a job because of his background.

Demico knew about Goodwill and the services they offer. He contacted Goodwill about needing assistance with finding a job. He was referred to Chasity, Employment Specialist, who helped place him in the Employment Skills Training Program.

“The Employment Skills Training program is a 6-week assessment that teaches individuals the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in the competitive work field. We train our participants on their tasks according to the area they choose after coming through on a tour. They learn how to be on time, clock in and out, interact with coworkers and how to deal with every day work issues”, Chasity explained.

Demico worked hard on both his soft and hard skills during the first 3 weeks of the program then he was asked by Brad, Store Manager, if he would like to apply for a job. He graciously accepted a job in the backroom testing electronics and stocking merchandise on the sales floor.

Demico has excelled in both areas by making sure that the best merchandise is placed on the sales floor. “He takes pride in his work and genuinely cares about the customers experience. Demico is a great example of an individual not letting a barrier stop him from gaining competitive employment and keeping it”, Chasity stated confidently.


Make a difference in someone’s life today by donating to Goodwill of the Great Plains. Your donation is not only tax deductible, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping individuals like Demico in your community find job training and employment. Monetary donations directly support our mission programming by ensuring we have professional and trained staff, adequate facilities and technology to support individuals enrolled in our programs. We make it easy for you to donate funds quickly and securely online through PayPal. Donate now and find out how great it feels to support Goodwill!




Retail Team Member Spotlight

Tracy has worked at the Kiwanis store for 18 years. She loves working at Goodwill and appreciates that she was given the opportunity to be a part of an amazing mission.

“Goodwill has allowed me to meet new people both customers and team members. The people I work with have become family.”

Tracy, Retail Associate, Kiwanis Sioux Falls

Shelby’s Place to Belong

At first, Shelby was shy and hesitant to talk to people when she started Goodwill. Jennifer, Store Manager commented, “Our goal for Shelby was for her to overcome her shyness and we worked with her on a day-to-day basis by doing role play. We worked on her being more comfortable in the store and talking to team members and customers.”

Shelby credits the entire store at Worthington for helping her come out of her shell and be open to asking questions and talking to people. She feels more comfortable now being herself.

Shelby has been with Goodwill for 5 years and has continued to grow and challenge herself. She started out as General Retail Associate, progressed to Team Lead, and is now a Store Operations Leader.

Meeting new people and the variety of the day is what Shelby likes most about working at Goodwill. She likes meeting and talking to the customers that come in and how every day is different. Shelby appreciates at Goodwill there is a learning experience with every situation. Shelby has come a long way since she started and is thankful that Goodwill has helped her grow. Her goals are to become more confident in making decisions and creating a daily routine for each day.