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Finding opportunity After Retirement through the Goodwill career center

For Kitty, a will to work comes easily. She started her first full-time job at 17, but her work ethic started long before that. Until the age of 13, she was raised by her grandparents who made their living off of the land they cultivated and the animals they raised.

“They just had different work ethics back then,” Kitty said. “I was taught at a very young age that everybody has to work.”

Kitty found her professional calling as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor at Serenity House, a treatment facility for individuals with drug and alcohol addiction. Over the next 27 years, she rose through the ranks from counselor, to program director, to director of admissions. Soon, Kitty began to envision a slower-paced life. At 73 years of age, she decided to take her well-earned retirement.

Not long after that, Kitty found that the slow-paced life of retirement did not bring her the same fulfillment she had in the workplace. She wanted to start working again, but she found it was more difficult to find another job than she had expected. Around that time, a friend recommended that Kitty visit the Goodwill Career Center. Feeling discouraged, Kitty expressed doubt that anyone would be able to help her.

“If you’ve been somewhere for 27 years and you have to go out and start over again - and especially if you’re 73 - it was scary,” Kitty said. “I didn’t know what to expect.”

From the moment she walked into the Goodwill Career Center, she felt welcomed. She met with Terry, an employment and resource specialist in the Career Center, and shared with Terry the challenges she’d had in her job search. Terry encouraged Kitty and assured her that they would help her find a job. After that, Kitty made daily visits to the Career Center, where Terry coached her through job applications and interviews.

More than a dozen interviews later, Kitty still did not have a job and was starting to lose hope. With coaching from Terry, Kitty decided to take another route. Terry arranged an interview for Kitty with a local Goodwill retail store, and Kitty was hired immediately.

“I loved it from the first day,” Kitty said.

Kitty began working in production in the linens department. She was in awe of the amount of donations Goodwill received and was proud to learn that even the torn and stained linens that did not make it to the sales floor were still repurposed and salvaged for other uses. Like her job at Serenity House, her work still had a larger purpose.

“I’m so proud, because (Terry) got me here where I’m at, and I don’t ever want to go anywhere else,” Kitty said. “The Career Center, I believe, saved my life.”

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