The Goodwill Industries Week celebration continues – and just as we shared Michelle Barton‘s My Story with you on Tuesday, we thought we’d bolster up the week by giving you one more inspiring show of what your support for Goodwill empowers others to do. We hope you enjoy Jarvis Walton‘s Goodwill Winners video:
Jarvis Walton is a born problem-solver. That goes not only for ordinary problems, such as fixing a leak or making sure there’s enough heat, but extraordinary ones, such helping people get their lives back on track. As the manager of New Sight to Life, a halfway house for men recovering from addiction, Jarvis helps the residents stick with the program, acquire skills, gain self-respect, and get jobs. He also has the magic touch when it comes to keeping the peace and keeping violence at bay. On meeting Jarvis—a tall, vigorous man in his late 40s wearing a baseball cap and a ready smile—you might find it hard to believe that less than two years ago, he was homeless.
In 2007, Jarvis lost his long-standing job as a cook at a barbecue restaurant in the Bronx. Jobs were scarce, though, so he grew increasingly discouraged. Ashamed that he could no longer support his wife and four children, he went into a downward spiral, first developing a cocaine habit and then ending up sleeping on the street.
The staff and volunteers at a local hospital took an interest in the gentle homeless man, urging him to apply for public assistance as a first step toward getting back on his feet. He did just that, and was quickly referred to a Goodwill Back to Work center.
Goodwill found Jarvis clean clothes and a place to live, and referred him to a substance abuse recovery program. Within a few months, he had overcome his drug addiction and truly earned the designation, “ready to work.” Then, Goodwill helped Jarvis get a job as a maintenance worker at Yankee Stadium. That was a start, and he was grateful for it—but he also knew he was capable of doing more with his life, and his advocates at Goodwill agreed.
At the time, Jarvis was living at the Bronx facility of New Sight to Life, a transitional housing program for male ex-offenders and recovering addicts. Little by little, he began to distinguish himself as a first-rate problem-solver—answering phone inquiries, arranging job interviews, stopping fights, and generally helping to run the residence. It wasn’t long before his efforts came to the attention of the program’s director.
“I was already an unofficial ‘captain’ in charge of 72 men,” Jarvis says, “so when I was offered the actual job as manager of the facility, I was ready to take it on.”
“Goodwill is in my heart,” he adds, “because they looked after me when I needed help.” Now, he’s the one looking after others and helping them find their way back up the spiral. His most fervent wish: “to find a home for everyone who needs one.”
Hear more stories from individuals like Jarvis by visiting the My Story archive on the Goodwill Industries International website. Happy Goodwill Week!