Forging a New Future

Australian Actress and Director Rachel Griffiths is quoted saying, “There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback – seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.” On Tyeisha Marshall’s eighth year of a 20-year sentence at Arrendale State Prison, she was ready for a comeback. But in order to take full advantage of her second chance she knew she would need a job, which would be difficult to land with a criminal background.


Marshall was referred to Goodwill of North Georgia’s Welding program, a work-based learning program hosted in collaboration with North Georgia Technical College and sponsored by Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Workforce Development. The program is designed to equip participants like Marshall with industry-recognized welding skills along with soft skills, such as workplace etiquette.

“Everything about the program was surprising,” she says. “I learned that I like welding, which is something I never thought I would do. I wasn’t the type of girl who worked with power tools or did manual labor.” This changed as Marshall learned the ins and outs of welding, added new skills to her résumé and learned how to interview with an employer. Welding was more than a new skill; it was Marshall’s ticket to a comeback.

Upon graduation of the program Marshall was hired as a welder for Fanello Industries, Inc. Her co-workers helped show her the ropes, and she wields a welding gun with confidence. One thing she loves about her job is the family-like atmosphere – she says someone is always there to help her if she needs it and her colleagues are very friendly and supportive.


Marshall is already planning her next career move, hoping to advance her welding techniques with additional courses at North Georgia Technical College. “I never thought I would do something like this because I’m kind of girly,” she laughs. “But I really like it here. This company rewards hard work and I’ve already earned a raise. I want to see how far I can go.” Crediting a combination of soft skills and technical skills for her new career path, Marshall is eager to take full advantage of her second chance. The embodiment of a comeback, she is embracing a new life and a promising career head-on.

Spring Cleaning with a Thrifty Twist

Spring is a time for second chances or fresh starts. Want to have a little fun with spring cleaning this year? Check out these five thrifty organization ideas to help tackle your messy house.

  1. Spice up your office supplies and give an empty spice container a second chance by using it as a fun storage piece for your office needs!Spice Storage
  2. Did you know lamp shades can double as baskets? Find a unique design at your local Goodwill and transform your playroom into an organized living space! Lampshade basket
  3. Glass jars can be used for storing almost anything. From craft supplies to snack foods, these handy jars can be found at almost any Goodwill anytime of the year! Have fun mixing up what their purpose is and find out just how multi-functional they are.
  4. Another commonly found item in Goodwill stores are milk glasses. These glasses can serve as a unique, yet functional storage pieces for your jewelry items.Plant jewelry holders
  5. Gift bags are not an every day household item, however they are easily collected and can still be stored in an organized fashion. Use file folder organizers as your gift bag storage solution.
    office organizer

Blue Girls Turned Gold

For Myesha Collins, Blue Girls Turned Gold has been a passion project that she’s been dreaming up for a long time.

“It’s always been an idea because of where I came from, as far as not having resources as a woman and a young teen mom,” she said. “It’s always been a s51Te175vwNL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_eed, but I never knew how to get it to fruition.”

Now a reality, Collins works with women to help them find these resources and support they need as they navigate through life.

“I’m offering them the opportunity to be braver and see how much power you have within yourself.”

Collins said the seed was planted for her after she became a mom at 15. “Having that responsibility at that age and not having the education and experience was difficult,” she said. “Having this extra responsibility made me know that I had to go harder because it wasn’t all about me anymore.”

Collins joined the military, but was sexually assaulted within the first six months. She said this left her feeling emotionally stuck, and like she was responsible for the bad things that happened.

“I had to learn a lot of lessons, the hard way,” she said. “I want to shorten those lessons for a lot of people.”

The nonprofit works with local women to help them turn from “blue” to “gold.” This is the process, Collins said, of going from not knowing to knowing how great you are. The group helps women empower themselves and gives them resources to make it through life’s struggles and challenges.

“Experiences shape who you are but they do not dictate who you become,” Collins said.

To aid in this work, Collins also recently put together an ebook, called Blue Girl Turns Gold. Along with eight other women and one man, the book shares stories of hardships and resilience, and finding the strength within one’s self to overcome.

“It was therapeutic for me, but I also knew so many women who had the stories,” she said. “It is empowering to see them empowered, and to me, that’s what it is all about.”

“I was looking outside for answers, for support, for encouragement, when all that was within me along with a higher power,” Collins said. “Experiences will occur, how you move forward is all that matters.”

Her organization is also partnering with the Genius is Common movement, to let everyone know they have genius within them. “Everybody starts out with a genius in them, you just have to figure out what the genius is,” Collins said. “It’s getting back to that seed that is already in us and really nurturing that.”

Up next, Collins and Blue Girls Turned Gold will host a Genius is Common Empowerment workshop on Saturday, March 31. Attendees will be lead in conversations on the genius that is inside of them. The group will go through a series of activities and discussions, and light refreshments will be provided. The session is for all ages, but geared toward boys and girls ages nine and up.

For more information on the organization and their upcoming events, find them online at, or Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Gigi’s House: providing love without strings or sacrifice

Home to the world’s busiest airport, countless convention, and a burgeoning entertainment industry, Atlanta, unfortunately, provides the perfect-storm of opportunity for sex trafficking.

Called, she says, to do her part, Gigi’s House founder Sabrina Crawford has created a safe haven for formerly trafficked girls in the metro area. Providing a space for these girls to escape their situations and get their life back on track, Gigi’s House plays a key role in combatting the trafficking epidemic.

“I knew there was something inside of me that was just on fire to help these girls, and just mentoring them wasn’t enough,” she added. “Once you know that these girls are out on the street, you have to do something. You can’t just sit back and do nothing.”

A former CASA (court appointed special advocate) guardian, Crawford said she saw the problem firsthand, and noticed that the foster system was not always the best place for a girl just out of trafficking.

“I think seeing what the kids going through in the foster system helped me with this home,” she said. “It’s so much for than just being someone’s mom when you have the level of trauma that these girls had. There is no way they can get where they need to be as a young adult without going through the trauma-informed therapy. They have to work through their past issues.”

This trauma, Crawford said, typically includes sexual abuse from within the family of the girl. 95%, she said, have been abused before being trafficked.

“You can’t just put them in a home and expect that they are going to change,” she said. “They don’t know how. They have to be prepared to be independent.”

Now with a ten-room house, Crawford’s organization offers life-skills and a safe space for trafficked girls ages 13-19. The house in single-sex, and girls are homeschooled while they live there. This is important, Crawford says, as this added attention to their specific needs, away from the distractions of the school, helps with their long-term success.

The one-home model, in comparison to traditional foster care, is beneficial to the girls’ recovery, Crawford said. Here, they are able to work with professionals trained in trauma, and aren’t as susceptible to the shame they might feel in an integrated setting. Arming these girls with the practical and emotional skills and tools they need to succeed in the real world, Gigi’s House provides a crucial transformational zone.

With such a high need, Crawford hopes to expand her services to care for more girls. She would love to open a second home, and an independent living home for girls over the age of 19. Here, they will still have the support system, but not as many rules.

“It’s allowing them to start making decisions on their own, but with support staff there with them,” she said.

Those interested in supporting the organization can visit or attend one of their upcoming events, including a 5k, a golf outing, and a “Come Together” event, featuring keynote speaker Annie Downs, and award-winning recording artist Meredith Andrews. The concert will be held on Friday, March 23 at Community Bible Church. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at

Goodwill’s C3: combining college and career for long-term success

With a goal of assisting 50,000 individuals this year, and placing 24,000 in jobs, Goodwill of North Georgia has all hands on deck to help people find new or better employment.

One of the many ways they are getting the job done? C3: College Career Catalyst.

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Individuals enrolled in C3 enroll in a college or credential program while working with Goodwill to receive additional support and placement help. Working with Goodwill, they participate in skills and professional development trainings while also attending post-secondary courses.

Ashia Walker, one of C3’s Navigators (who help applicants with the program and college), said the work they do with the students is all-encompassing, ensuring success.

“Our job is to help any of our participants who are enrolled in programs with post-secondary education,” Walker said. “That includes helping them figure out where they want to go to school, what they want to study, and helping them get their applications done.”

Once they get into school, the assistance continues through the first semester, making sure they can navigate the campus and their classes. From there, after completing their educational program, Goodwill helps them get a job.

“It’s helping people not just find a job, but helping them find post-secondary education or credentials to help them further their career,” Walker said. This includes assistance for those looking to earn more money, get a promotion, or take on a leadership role.

Ideal candidates for the program are those who have gone through a training at Goodwill, or who are referred from one of the many Goodwill partner organizations. Those working with the C3 program often don’t have any family members who have gone through the college process, and need that extra help.

“They don’t even know where to start,” Walker said. “I’ve had students who actually paid for their FAFSA to be completed, not knowing it was a free application.”

Walker has worked with Goodwill for six years, and has encountered a lot of success stories during her time, including a young man who is now enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College, with hopes of eventually transferring to Kennesaw State University to study marine biology.

Walker calls his parents once a month to check in on the student and his progress. “That makes me happy every month that he’s still in school,” she said. “It’s important to know that somebody cared and that he wasn’t just a number, and somebody is proud of him.”

The C3 program partners with a variety of local technical college partners, including Athens Technical College, Gwinnett Technical College, and North Georgia Technical College.

With 13 career centers and five dedicated navigators, those interested in working with the C3 program can essentially visit any location to be matched with assistance.  For additional information, please visit

100 Black Men of Atlanta—200 men strong

“What they see, they will be.”

These words are the guidepost for the work of 100 Black Men, a national mentoring organization whose Atlanta chapter was founded in 1986. Entrepreneur Nathanial Goldstein started the local group to combat issues facing the city’s underprivileged youth, particularly young black men.

Working with the B.E.S.T. Academy, an all-male public school in the Atlanta Public School System, the group focuses on helping students achieve academic, social, and emotional success. Throughout the course of their high school experience, the 100 Black Men of Atlanta organization provides critical guidance and support with an overarching goal of getting the men through high school and on to college.

And they’ve been quite successful in this endeavor: 100% of the students who participate in the program graduate from high school.

100 Black Men of Atlanta’s Project Success Program helps students with college prep and tuition assistance, working with students as young as the 3rd grade. Students in the program must commit to all the organization’s standards and participation guidelines, and the student’s parent/guardian must also express interest and involvement in the program. Similarly, the Project Success 100 Scholar Program accepts students with a 3.0 GPA (or a 2.5 GPA with a 90th percentile standardized test score) and includes the 100 Academy (a Saturday school program), health & wellness programs, and family and youth empowerment initiatives.

Students who complete this program are eligible for a $3,000 per semester college scholarship, breaking down financial barriers and encouraging college attendance. At the college level, 100 Black Men also hosts the Collegiate 100, a coed, professional development program in which members act as mentors and tutors to the younger participants. Students from local Atlanta colleges and universities take part, including Georgia State, Georgia Tech, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse, and Spelman.

Locally, the group’s 100 men actually total nearly 200, and include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. Mentors also come from a variety of different backgrounds, including STEM, entrepreneurship, and even music. Chief Operating Officer Dr. Kevin James believes that these kinds of notable memberships help the young men they work with envision a brighter future.

“It’s so important, he said, “to be able to demonstrate to the students that they have positive black men out there who are doing something and making a difference.”

“It’s important for those individuals to be mentored by someone who have gone down that path that they can then follow,” James added.

The 100 Black Men of Atlanta Chapter is hosting a golf tournament, the 100 Golf Classic, on April 10th at the Manor Golf and Country Club. The event is sponsored by Georgia Power and proceeds will go toward Project Success.

For more information on the event, or on how to get involved with the organization, visit



A Chance to Come out of her Shell

Step one – tap your shoes on a sticky mat, step two – place shoe covers over your shoes, step three – put a hair net over your hair, or beard if applicable, step four – pull the lab coat over your clothes, step five – wash your hands thoroughly without touching any surfaces, step six – enter the work space of Kelly Ngu.

 “Working in the sterile room is the best part of my job because we get to wear lab coats and build packs for our clients,” she says. Ngu, who is a production assistant for Global Resources International (GRI), spends her days recording inventory for thousands of packs. Each pack that Ngu checks contains sterilized materials for medical facilities around the world. From gloves to gauze pads ordered by hospitals, Ngu is responsible for ensuring the quality and quantity of each pack before it is sent to the warehouse, where she then prepares it for shipping.

Before joining the team at GRI, Ngu was referred to Goodwill of North Georgia’s Workforce Development Program from her vocational rehabilitation counselor. For three months, Ngu worked in Goodwill’s Oakwood store as a greeter and on the sales floor, where she developed customer service skills. “I’m shy and get nervous. Going to the career center really helped me with my interviewing skills,” she says.

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After working closely with employment specialist Carol Griffin for three years, Ngu learned to come out of her nervous shell during interviews. “Kelly has a really great personality and work style, but would shut down in an interview and employers couldn’t see in an interview what I already knew. We had to find that perfect match,” says Griffin. Both Griffin and Ngu were determined to find that perfect match and after three years of job searching, GRI was the answer.

From being nervous and shy to securing employment at a job she’s passionate about, Ngu is thankful for Goodwill’s continuous support. “Goodwill helped me get the job I have today,” she says. As an appreciated member of the GRI team, Ngu’s supervisor Angela Mandujano says, “She’s a very hard worker and she loves her job.” Always having a smile on her face and a resilient work ethic, Ngu is excited and hopeful to continue developing her career with GRI.

Breaking Barriers

The United States Department of Labor defines a non-traditional career for women as one in which 25% or less of those employed in the field are women. Yashika Jones has been a part of that statistic for nearly 14 years. While living in Connecticut, Jones was employed by the Sheet Metal Union. Working in this industry can often times be demanding, with long hours and unpredictable weather conditions.

Success Story Template

“I wanted a change,” Jones says. “If I’m going to be working outside, I wanted to work outside somewhere where the climate is nice.” In between jobs, Jones saw an advertisement for a job fair at one of Goodwill of North Georgia’s career centers. “I was really interested in the training opportunities available,” she says.

Jones applied for funding and went through an interview process before successfully enrolling in Goodwill’s Highway Construction training program. As a participant in the program, Jones received hands-on skills training and job placement assistance. “When I had nowhere to turn, I learned so much with Goodwill and got some certifications under my belt to help expand my job opportunities,” she says. Upon graduating from the program, Jones received traffic control and OSHA construction certifications. She also secured employment with the local Sheet Metal Workers Union. Some of her projects have included the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Working in a male dominated industry hasn’t always been easy for Jones. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” she says. Over the years, Jones has proven her skillset and hard work ethic to her colleagues. “I’ve had to overcome being accepted for who I am. It’s been intimidating at times, but I’ve proven myself and showed that I am strong,” she says. Never letting her gender keep her from achieving her goals, Jones has remained motivated and hopes to continue advancing her career in the industry. She is currently pursuing another certification, EPA 608 Technician Certification, which would allow her to expand the type of projects she is qualified to work on. “I’m hoping to make myself more marketable, she says.

“Goodwill helped me find opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she says. As an advocate for the program, Jones has referred many of her friends to Goodwill. “One of my greatest accomplishments is seeing my friends go through the program and come out successful,” Jones says. Crediting Goodwill for the opportunity to reenter the industry, she is now not only an advocate for Goodwill, but for women.

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Special Offers

Have you shopped at our Flat Shoals, Buford, Tucker and Roswell stores lately? If not, you are in for a special surprise! Shop these locations now through January 31 for a special discount. Continue to check the “Offers” section on our Facebook page for additional promotions in the future. As always, thank you for supporting our mission to put people to work.

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