My Story: Nicole Bryson
When Nicole Bryson came to Goodwill she was making another attempt at rebuilding her life. She found herself in East Texas reflecting on the downfall that should never have happened. Her life was destined for success. She had an opportunity. She had choices, but fall she did, and what was worse, it all crashed down because of her own poor decisions.
Nicole graduated high school with a full-ride scholarship for cheerleading at a private college in Oklahoma. Now living on her own, she began to party and her schoolwork suffered. She flunked out of college, lost her scholarship and returned home ashamed and now well on the road to addiction.
In spite of these troubles, she secured a position in the dental field. She worked every day and went to school at night from 6-10 PM. Not only did she love the work, but she was also good at it too. Now even with a thriving work future, the decisions of addiction began creating chaos and consequences in her life.
As these decisions began to play themselves out, she found herself in and out of drug rehab centers, ultimately losing her Dental Assistant License and facing some serious charges with the law.
Finally, she had enough, and voluntarily went back into rehab and this time Nicole was READY to make the change. As she was looking for a community to live in to restart her life, her mom “coincidentally” found a piece of paper on her desk at work. On it was the name of a sober living facility and phone number located here in Tyler, Texas. To this day, they have no idea who put that paper on her desk or even how they knew they were looking for such a place.
She was referred to Goodwill’s Re-entry Program. While not recently released from prison, she says, “I had lost my license, been out of work for 3 years and was a felon.” Nicholas Mitchell, Goodwill Employment Specialist was underwhelmed with Nicole’s first impression. “She had a bit of an attitude.” After a quick pep talk from another Re-entry classmate, Nicole showed up at her next meeting at Goodwill with a smile and definite adjustment to her attitude.
According to Mitchell, “her hard work and determination to turn things around motivated me.” He goes on “she never had an issue with any suggestion or advice, she wanted it.” Nicole even walked to Goodwill’s Re-Entry classes daily, changing into heels upon arrival. After retrieving her transcripts, her Dental License documents, she realized she wanted to re-enter the dental field. This would be a huge challenge with her history, record, and circumstances.
Mitchell knew of a Dentist in Tyler who was very open and compassionate. Dr. Lebo of Dental Associates of East Texas was willing to visit with Nicole and watch her work. Angela Poindexter, Office Manager interviewed her and watched her work alongside staff. Even though they were very busy and Nicole was scared, her skills came right back to her quickly. “I wish I had 10 just like her,” said Poindexter. She was hired. Nicole was expecting to come in at minimum wage, a fact that was just fine with her. The Senior Dental staffers are supporting her goal to have her licensure reinstated. It will likely take 6 months to a year to complete, but Nicole is thankful for this second chance to do exactly what she loves. The road is still sometimes long and bumpy, but Nicole is very grateful for the way the “pieces fell into place exactly the way they were supposed to.”
Thanks to the Dental Associates of East Texas and their support staff for partnering with Goodwill’s Re-Entry Program and creating an opportunity for a happy outcome for Nicole. Good luck!
It is another time that we realize that there is more to Goodwill’s Story than our Stores!