Employee Spotlight: Sonia & Tasha
Sitting side-by-side, a rush of emotions came over Tasha and Sonia as they shared a hug before continuing to tell the story of how their friendship formed at such a critical point in their lives.
They’ve worked with the Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington team for less than a year but have taken great strides in developing their respective careers – and they’ve worked hard for it.
“There’s people that believe in you in here, and so it pushes us even more to try even harder, and it’s bringing us to a place where it’s really unthinkable for me,” Sonia said.
The two started off working at different locations but eventually found their way to our Silverdale nonprofit thrift store. Learning more about each other while on the job, Tasha and Sonia soon discovered how closely their stories aligned.
Just two months apart from each other, they were released from prison and embarked on a new chapter of their lives.
Sonia’s journey to Evergreen Goodwill began while she was in prison. That’s where she met Michelle, a case manager at the Kitsap County Job Training and Education Center.
Michelle introduced Sonia and others to the resources provided by Evergreen Goodwill and assisted them with things like interview skills, resume building, and goal-setting strategies.
In Sonia’s words – “just selling ourselves.”
Sonia was so compelled by what she witnessed during Michelle’s visits, she said to herself, “Hey, when I get out, I’m going to work for Goodwill.”
Tasha, who’s originally from Arkansas, was looking to make a drastic change in her life and decided to relocate to Washington state.
“I didn’t trust the situation I was in when I went to prison, so when I got out, I didn’t want to stay in Arkansas,” Tasha said.
Within a matter of weeks after arriving here, Tasha found herself working at Evergreen Goodwill – doing away with negative thoughts on how her past could hinder her ability to land a job.
“We’ve been completely honest, and they haven’t judged us, and they believe in us, and they’re helping us move forward,” Tasha said.
Tasha now serves as a material handling supervisor, and Sonia is a customer service associate.
Their roles are much more than just a job for them – but rather a badge of pride.
Family is a key aspect of Sonia’s life, and on the day she was interviewed, two of her elders had visited her at work earlier in the day – taking the time to not only say hello, but to show Sonia just how proud they are of her achievements.
“They personally were really touched to finally meet people here that are managers, supervisors – just to thank them, being a part of where I am with my life today and the changes that I’ve made,” Sonia said.
Since being released from prison, Tasha illustrated how diligently she’s been working on the relationship she has with her kids and other close relatives.
She says her family in Arkansas has witnessed how great she’s been doing since moving to Washington state, and they’re now planning a visit this summer. Her children are also considering a possible move to the region.
When looking into the future, Tasha says she has a passion for helping others and would love to explore opportunities in hospice care. But she also hopes to continue pushing forward in her career with the Evergreen Goodwill team, including being a part of the organization’s mentor program.
“I want to do some kind of give back, you know, the way I was given to,” Tasha said. “That’s what made me come to Goodwill in the first place is the fact they looked out for me, I just want to do that for somebody else in my position.”
Sonia described every day as an opportunity to continue taking life in stride and putting her “best foot forward.”
“Keep focusing and surround myself with people like [at Goodwill],” said Sonia. “They’re family, we’re like a whole big family over here.”
And for other employees coming from similar backgrounds, Sonia and Tasha offered these words of advice:
“If you fall or stumble, don’t let that just drag you down,” Sonia said. “Just get up, dust yourself off, and just keep trying – cause it’s going to get better.”
“Don’t let your past define you because it doesn’t,” said Tasha. “You can grow from it, you can get better, as long as you have positive people that believe in you, and you believe in yourself, and that you’re really open to change.”