Paradise resident Candace Psomas, 31, is a believer in the power of work. With the support and opportunities provided through Goodwill of Southern Nevada, Psomas said she is able to focus on turning her life around while recovering from a 19-year addiction.
“What they say about the power of work is true, especially with a clear head,” Psomas said. “I have goals and ways to work toward them. I’m so much more responsible, and I’ve already been rewarded for it in so many ways.”
Goodwill opened a new retail store and donation center on Feb. 28 at 7420 S. Rainbow Blvd. The organization started building the 16,000-square-foot facility last October and hired 40 full-time employees, including Psomas, who transferred from another store.
“It’s exciting for the community,” said store manager Brenda Close. “The 40 jobs we’ve created are all full time with benefits. It’s really encounraging for the economy and the community.”
The store is set to provide additional revenue for Goodwill Career Connections, a program that helps residents look for work regardless of their disabilities or circumstances. According to Goodwill spokeswoman Kathy Topp, the program helped more than 2,000 people find work in 2013.
“I really appreciate that there’s no discrimination on our past,” Psomas said. “They recognize that we’re all trying to build new futures.”
Psomas said she started using methamphetamine at 12 to cope with childhood abuse.
“I would drink myself to sleep and use drugs to wake up,” Psomas said. “At the time, I didn’t know there was a better way of life.”
In 2013, Psomas was arrested for not complying with a community service requirement from a previous misdemeanor drug-related charge. She spent about three months in jail, and her two children were placed into foster care.
“I didn’t want to admit how bad it was until I was in jail for the first time, and my kids were taken from me,” Psomas said. “I couldn’t believe what I had done. That really killed me.”
Once released from jail, Psomas was admitted for rehabilitation to WestCare Nevada, where she was reunited with her children.
“I could never go back to that life, ever,” Psomas said. “It’s amazing how by doing the right things, everything falls into place.”
While in rehabilitation, Psomas filed more than 200 job applications across the valley. She heard about the opportunity at Goodwill through a friend.
“(Close) called me in for my interview, and I was hired on the spot,” Psomas said. “I was so happy, I cried. (Close) really gave me a chance.”
Psomas started working as a Goodwill cashier on Dec. 3. Within two months, she was promoted to a shift-lead position.
“I come from a place with a lot of abuse and doubt,” Psomas said. “Strangers at a company that I’m brand new to see something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. It means a lot to me, and it helps me do my best every day.”
According to Close, Psomas was promoted because she is a natural leader, a quality Psomas said she never used to describe herself.
“She’s an exceptional employee,” Close said. “She takes pride in her work, and she’s always positive. We’re really lucky to have her.”
Now 13 months clean, Psomas is living in a new apartment and focusing on providing for her children. She said she hopes to pursue a long-term career with Goodwill.
“I just really believe that it was God’s will that I work for Goodwill,” Psomas said. “Had I not gotten this job, I don’t know if life would have gone this way.
“Goodwill is good for my own recovery. The community helped me when I needed it, and now it’s time I pay it forward.”
Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit sngoodwill.org or call 702-214-2056.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.