Success Stories

Meet a few of the people Goodwill has helped.


When you visit our home office on a Friday afternoon, you’ll be greeted with a lively “Live Long & Prosper” by Emma: Star Trek enthusiast and proud employee of Goodwill Tenneva.

Emma joined the Goodwill Tenneva family in July of 2018. In October of that same year, she began working as our Data Entry Clerk. She works closely with our organization’s Data and Technology Manager to develop critical reports for our organization.

Emma is one-of-a-kind: she is incredibly intelligent, outgoing, a data whiz, and exceptionally witty. She is laser-focused on the task at hand, and always has a way of bringing smiles to everyone she meets. Emma loves to read, and enjoys spending her days off building her literary collection while shopping at Mr. K’s.

What Emma loves most about working for Goodwill Tenneva is getting to work alongside people who care about her. She loves making a difference in her community, and feels that her work at Goodwill allows her to grow both professionally and personally.

“I am Goodwill Strong because of the difference I make for my community.”

The next time you stop by our home office, be sure to offer a “Live Long & Prosper” greeting to Emma!


If you’ve spent some time in Southwest Virginia, you are almost certain to have been graced by the inspiring presence of Kenneth: Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) Assistant Extraordinaire.

Kenneth has been a tremendous asset to SCSEP since his enrollment in February of 2021, where he serves as a Program Assistant. He is responsible for assisting with the recruitment of SCSEP participants in the Southwest Virginia area and forging relationships with community agencies.

Kenneth has an extensive background, having studied Ministry at Duke University with continued studies at Emory and Henry and East Tennessee State University. He has spent his career in management, as a crisis intervention specialist, and as a residential counselor. He is an avid tennis player, and is arguably one of the best tennis instructors around!

What drew Kenneth to SCSEP was the ability to learn new things and cultivate new relationships within the community. Kenneth has never met a stranger, and enjoys meeting new people and sharing his story. To meet Kenneth is to make a new friend, and he firmly believes that you are never too old to learn!

One of Kenneth’s favorite quotes is: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

If you happen to spot Kenneth while on a trip up to Abingdon or Chilhowie, be sure to say hello!


When you walk through the doors of our Bristol Commons store, you may hear a hearty laugh amongst the hustle and bustle. That’s when you know Sharon is there, spreading cheer everywhere she goes. 

Sharon joined the Goodwill Tenneva family in January of 2020 when she enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a national employment and training program partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. This program allows Virginia residents ages 55 and older to build employment skills, share the valuable skills they have, and supplement income through meaningful work.

Upon Sharon’s enrollment in SCSEP, she started working at our Bristol Commons retail store. She excelled in her role and was hired by Goodwill Industries of Tenneva in February of 2021 as an employee of the Bristol Commons store. She currently works on the sales floor, and is responsible for stocking and ensuring the retail environment is safe and clean for customers. Sharon is very thankful for the opportunity and the emotional uplifting she received when she secured her job.

“Goodwill gave me a reason to live. They hired me when nobody else would and have blessed me. I look forward to coming to work every day.”

A mother of six children, Sharon had spent 30 years working two jobs at a time while supporting her family. She wishes that Goodwill had been an option while raising her children, much in part to the support she receives and the flexibility she is given. Sharon says that Goodwill has changed her life for the better.

“What I love most about working for Goodwill Tenneva is the opportunity they have given me. The sky is the limit. If you want to learn, Goodwill is willing to teach you—I mean, they are REALLY willing to teach you. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here.”

The next time you stop by our Bristol Commons store, be sure to tell Sharon hello!

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