Janice Barnes: Breaking Barriers

After working many years as a math teacher at Harmony Science Academy in Lubbock, Texas, Janice Barnes was faced with a road block. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Because of the nature of the disease, Janice was unable to continue teaching. Faced with unemployment, Janice found hope when she attended a Goodwill job fair in January 2014. She was interviewed at the fair and hired shortly after as a cashier in one of the local Goodwill stores.

“Without Goodwill, I would be running around unemployed because there aren’t many employers that are willing to see past the road blocks that life has put in your path, and I would not have the friends that I have,” Janice said. “I would not have the ability to do something good for people every day.”

Unfortunately Janice’s condition got worse, creating difficulties for her when operating the cash register. However, she was determined to continue working and was moved to a position within Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas’s E-Commerce division. There, she inspects books, finds the best prices for them and either lists them on www.ShopGoodwill.com or Amazon.com or sends them to the local stores to be sold.

“I really appreciate that from an employer because it’s so difficult with certain troubles to find an employer that cares about you. And Goodwill does,” she said. “I love working with books and helping people find books they love so they can live a life they may not have been able to have through reading.”

Janice’s story, as well as many others shared among Goodwill employees, reinforces Goodwill’s mission of creating job opportunities for people with barriers to employment.

“Goodwill believes in everyone’s ability to work toward and achieve greater independence,” said Michelle Barrientez, manager of e-commerce for Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. “We respect and love the uniqueness of all or our employees.”