BRADENTON – Goodwill Manasota has 21 attended donation centers, 11 retail stores, four bookstores and one mission: giving people a second chance.


You’ll find everything from golf clubs to picture frames on Goodwill’s sales floor, but have you ever thought about the hands the items pass through before they get there?


“When a donor pulls up, they’re hopefully greeted within 10 seconds,” Goodwill Team Leader Coach, Alexa Olivas, said.


They’re greeted by Vincent Duval.


To him, this is more than just a job.


“It empowers me through work, and that’s basically their mission statement,” Duval, a donor greeter, said.


Their mission statement: Changing lives through the power of work.


It’s made possible with Goodwill’s Job Connection program, which helped Duval after he was released from federal prison.


Now he’s on track for a management role.


“It feels great. I feel peace of mind, happy, and I have self value now,” Duval, who first completed a re-entry program with Goodwill in Tampa, said.


In processing you’ll find Leonzo Gonzalez, where he’s been for the last seven years.


“I’m always cheerful, trying to have everyone’s day move a little quicker, a little faster,” Gonzalez said.


Gonzalez is blind, but he says his job here makes him feel like he can do anything.


“I do kids clothes and active wear. They all have one price,” Gonzalez said. “All the other hangers, you have to put a size with the price. They cater to me by, you know, just having me do one price.”


Just before the doors to the sales floor is Helen Brisson, who says after struggling with addiction, abuse and homelessness, Goodwill is her second chance.


“I love my job. I love the people I work with,” Brisson said. “I’m learning a whole new sense of work ethic, and for me, that helps build my self esteem.”


Three different stories with one connection: the Job Connection.


Next time you see a Goodwill shirt, a hat, or a lamp, think of Vincent, Leonzo and Helen.


“I’m emotional,” Brisson said. “I can’t put into words how it feels.”


To learn more about the free Job Connection service, click here.