Sarah Pine – Goodwill Mission Moment

Goodwill Industries of Arkansas’s re-entry programs provide resources to Arkansans with criminal records to help them develop necessary skills and find employment. Sarah is a graduate of our Transitional Employment Opportunity (TEO) program.

The night before she was arrested, Sarah Pine prayed for a way out. She knew she couldn’t keep living with her addiction. Her answer came when a Drug Task Force officer rapped on her door and ripped her three-year-old from her arms. Getting involved with drugs cost Sarah her children, home and her freedom. Sarah’s three children were put in foster care, which motivated the absent mother to re-evaluate what mattered and what immediate actions she would take after serving her time.

While Sarah tried to get her life together from the jail cell, tragedy struck when she lost her mother. “That was my worst moment – knowing my mom was gone to this disease, and if I didn’t do something different with my life, that is how I was going to go,” Sarah stated. “That was my breaking point.”

Sarah’s Search for Employment

After she was released, Sarah found it impossible to find employment with felonies on her record. For the desperate mother, no employment meant she couldn’t reclaim custody of her children. Sarah applied for 86 different jobs openings and never received a second call until a TEO re-entry program coordinator with Goodwill Industries of Arkansas decided that she deserved a second chance.

Sarah took full advantage of Goodwill’s services. She quickly learned how to use Word and Excel, and worked faithfully with a job coach who helped her create a resume and master job interviewing tips. “I was willing to do whatever it took…and I did,” Sarah said with a smile.

Sarah's graduation.In the TEO re-entry program, Goodwill supervisors noticed Sarah’s work ethic. “Sarah displays Goodwill’s core values (integrity, collaboration, attitude, respect and exploration) on a daily basis,” said Joe, TEO coordinator. After Sarah completed 15 weeks of the TEO program, she was offered a full-time position at Goodwill. Her hard work and dedication paid off as she quickly climbed the ladder to the assistant manager position. Her next goal was to be a manager, but she couldn’t do that without her high school diploma or equivalent degree. Despite her learning disability, she earned her GED alongside one of her coworkers. We can proudly say that she is now a Goodwill retail store manager!

Sarah is keeping the promise she made to herself and her kids in that jail cell – she’s living differently and continually breaking the odds. “My kids are doing 100 percent better. We are a really strong family,” Sarah said. Sarah could have become a statistic, but she refused. Sarah broke the cycle of addiction in her family and is starting a new, changed life full of opportunity.

Find out more about the Transitional Employment Opportunity Program and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas’s other re-entry programs.