At Evergreen Goodwill, our employees are dedicated, determined and driven. Our team is the backbone of our mission to provide FREE job training and education to people in the community, and we’re committed to making sure each employee has the tools they need to succeed in their personal and professional endeavors.
Joseph Lancaster, a material handling supervisor at Evergreen Goodwill’s Ballard location, has been with the organization since 2017. As he worked toward his professional goals, he took Goodwill management training classes to help him develop his career. Setting goals in his personal life, Joseph linked arms with the network of support at Goodwill and applied for grants to pay for things like rent, clothes and furniture – all helping him to reunite with his daughter.
During this interview, Joseph spoke candidly about his road to recovery from addiction and how Goodwill has changed his life for the better.
How did you get started with working at Goodwill?
“The first time I started was 10 to 12 years ago, working at the Wenatchee Goodwill for [about] nine months, and then for some reason after leaving there … I wanted to come back.”
How has Goodwill changed your life?
“So, I’m a recovering addict. I have gone on five years clean.
[My daughter] got taken away from me from CPS about six years ago. So, when I came here, I was in a very dark place. This company has helped me get into an apartment, and then helped me learn how to be a material handler, to a material handler lead, to a material handler supervisor.”
It’s because of the Goodwill that I have full custody of my kid. It is the reason why I’m still sober, and Goodwill’s the reason why I got married. You know, I found my love here, too.”
What are some of the best benefits of working for Goodwill?
“Wellspring – You can pull that phone number right off the wall and call. If you’re frustrated or something just in life, if you don’t know what to do with child care or food banks, or anything like that.
What really helped me out during the holidays is the money loan that you can get … You can get up to $1,000 in loans to help you out with bills, so that you can use that money for your children for the holidays, or a car payment or whatever you can.”
Why work at Goodwill instead of another organization?
“That’s simple – that’s 40 hours a week. That right there is hard to find. Another thing is the programs, the job training programs. It’s a good stepping stone for a lot of young people, middle-aged people, people that are trying to get back on their feet. I would just tell [people] about all the benefits, the medical, the 401k, the life insurance, the holiday pay, the sick pay.”
What is the work environment like?
“In all stores, I haven’t seen a negative. I’ve been to Ballard, I’ve been to Shoreline, I’ve been [in Edmonds.] At different districts, it’s the same. Everybody’s equal. Everybody’s the same. Everybody is for the same reason.”
What are some of the opportunities for growth at Goodwill?
“You can grow in management, you can grow into retail, you can grow into marketing, you can go to new goods – anything’s possible. All you literally have to do here is ask. That’s it.”
How have your coworkers been supportive through your journey?
“They’ve seen me go through a lot. I’ve lost my parents [while working] here, they helped me through my recovery, helped me get my kid back. I mean, yeah, it’s a family here. And now, I have transferred to Ballard to make my family bigger.
I don’t feel like I’m a supervisor for a store, I feel like I’m a supervisor for the company because that’s what the company let me feel like.”
What’s your plan for the future?
“I want to run a warehouse, and I want to run donations … That’s where the store started.
It started from you giving me your donations, to put a price on it, for the programs. I just love it. I grew loving it more and more every day. I take every day [as a] new challenge, and every day is a new victory.”
What is your hope for Goodwill as an organization in the future?
“For more stores to open for the Northwest [Washington] community and to give more jobs to the community.”
If you’re interested in learning more about working at Evergreen Goodwill and the positions currently available, visit evergreengoodwill.org/jobs-at-goodwill.
Evergreen Goodwill | 700 Dearborn Place S, Seattle, WA 98144 | 206-329-1000 or 1-877-GIVE4GOOD