Kennesaw resident Laurie Parish spent the last 10 years living with her daughter and two grandchildren. During that decade, the childcare assistance she provided was an invaluable support to her family. As Laurie’s grandchildren grew up, the need for her help decreased, so she moved out of her daughter’s house and began searching for employment. 

Unsure of what type of position could fill her desire for social interaction and allow her to pay the bills, Laurie became frustrated with her job search.  She reached out to her GVRA counselor, who referred her to Goodwill’s work evaluation program. In April 2021, Laurie stepped through the doors of the Smyrna Career Center and her journey with Goodwill began. 

After being unemployed for 10 years, Laurie was facing barriers to employment that included mental health challenges. She was nervous about re-entering the workforce and was hoping to find a supportive environment. While in the training program, Laurie learned about the different tasks at Goodwill and quickly began to make connections with the staff.  Laurie talked daily with Jennifer, the store manager, and built a strong professional relationship with her. 

Laurie’s performance during training impressed Jennifer a great deal. By the end of Laurie’s 10-day work evaluation, Jennifer asked her to apply for a store associate position. Laurie gladly agreed and has been an employee of Goodwill since the beginning of May 2021.    

Now on the job for four months, Laurie continues to develop bonds with her coworkers, managers, and the career services staff. She found herself enjoying her job so much that she decided to move into a full-time position. She also received a 50 cent raise and is now making $9.50 per hour. Laurie is quick to express her gratitude for the opportunity and for the people that assisted her. She’s especially appreciative of Jennifer’s patience with her as she reacclimated to the workforce, and is glad that Jennifer frequently checks in to be sure that she is comfortable with her job responsibilities. 

Jennifer shares that it is wonderful to have Laurie on the team, noting that her drive to learn and desire to succeed at Goodwill have been tremendous assets. Laurie is looking forward to staying with Goodwill  and is eager to do all she can to help the store exceed its goals.