The Story Behind The Store

“Thank you Goodwill for my job!” – JON

I am the Story Behind the StoreWith your support of Goodwill, a young man with a disability can live and work in a small community.

JonJon came to Goodwill in Lake County through a high school transitions program seeking work experience. Jon was introverted and dealing with a significant personal loss.

A young man with Autism, he also needed independent living support. Jon’s father is a long-haul truck driver who worries about his son being home alone several nights a week. Jon’s two sisters are supportive but no longer live nearby.

In 2014 Jon “broke out of his shell” after months of working on interpersonal skills, time management, and social anxiety issues with Goodwill staff Mallory Daws (Job Coach) and Kimberly Hetrick (Program Manager), and Renee Price (Lake County ESD), who was personally invested in Jon’s growth. He also gained work experience at Goodwill’s office as the regular janitor—he enjoyed the tasks so much he asked to become a Goodwill employee. Jon smiles when he tells people he works for Goodwill. “I’m good at my job because I like doing janitorial work,” he says.

“Goodwill fosters independence for adults with disabilities,” Renee said, who works with middle school students as a speech therapist. “That’s what I always hope for in my job — I want them to grow up and become independent adults.”