How Goodwill TEO and Hope Rises Got Me Back into the Workplace

Hi my name is Tara Bennett and I am a resident at Hope Rises. Five months ago I was released from a Regional Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Hope Rises and from there the TEO program (Transitional Employment Opportunity) at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. The TEO program was a life changing experience.

In the beginning I was a little skeptical because I am so used to doing a server job and making fast cash. Kim Roxburgh, Director of Hope Rises, assured me that the TEO Program was a perfect fit for me. Turns out, it was the perfect fit and it was at the perfect time.

The TEO program at Goodwill helped me make a much needed transition back into the workplace. It provided me with mentors at work who gave me hope and believed in me. The program gave me motivation to excel and taught me that the only thing getting in my way of doing anything was me. I started to gain confidence again. The environment was so positive and family oriented. I loved Goodwill so much that I made a goal to get a full time position within the corporation.

My goal was achieved and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas offered me a full time position as Data Management Specialist. It feels amazing that I can work there and help others like me that are returning citizens. Having this job at Goodwill gives me peace of mind, which is worth more than money.

I am so grateful for the partnership of Hope Rises and Goodwill. The TEO program offers a safe environment for Hope Rises residents at such an important and crucial time of transition from prison. The TEO program also provides mentors and others who will hold you accountable for your actions. It provides a safe place to grow and helps you to overcome the specific barriers that returning citizens face. Hope Rises and TEO program fit exceptionally well because they provide the same environment and work towards the same goals.

I am especially excited to watch the new Hope Rises residents work and go through the TEO program. I am so happy to be able to help other residents get the opportunity I did. With Goodwill and the TEO program good things are ahead of you if you are willing to work for them.

-Tara Bennett, Hope Rises Graduate