Goodwill Program: Vocational Coaching Services

“Goodwill has taught me how to be responsible. I feel like I have mentors who will always be there to help me out.”

When Steven walked into Old Navy for a job interview, the service and training manager knew her candidate was something special.

“Steven had energy I hadn’t seen in a while. It wasn’t ‘I need a job.’ It was ‘I love Old Navy,’ ” Amber Russell recalled.

For Steven, the feeling is mutual. Today, the 20-year-old would tell you his love for Old Navy goes beyond the excitement of earning a paycheck. He loves his sales associate job so much at the South Boulevard store in Charlotte, he said, he would go to work for free if he had to.

The South Mecklenburg High School graduate, who has a mild disability, came to Goodwill for assessment, job readiness skills and to work with a job coach to transition into successful employment.

“It’s a perfect match,” said David Washam, Steven’s Goodwill job coach. “You have to be energetic, outgoing and be customer-service friendly at Old Navy. Steven has all of those qualities.”

Besides keeping the sales floor, dressing rooms and restrooms tidy and clean, Steven is known for his smile and sense of humor.  He proudly wears “CB” on his nametag (for “cheeseburger”), which he will quickly tell you is his favorite food. Most people know him as a “Cheeseburger” instead of Steven.

He is also passionate about participating in Special Olympics and baseball.  He hopes to one day have a role with a local minor league baseball team, similar to the equipment manager position he held previously for his high school team.

“Goodwill has taught me how to be responsible. I feel like I have mentors who will always be there to help me out,” said Steven, who plans to take classes at Central Piedmont Community College.

At the end of the day, Steven loves spending his paycheck on others.

“I don’t want to spend it all on me. I want to spend it on others, especially my mom,” Steven said. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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