Success Stories – Sunni Thomas

“Why are you here?” my supervisor asked me. It was 2004 and I had, not long before, started a job as an apprentice at Goodwill’s warehouse in Cordelia. I’d been unemployed for some time as I was a stay at home mom. I have a total of seven children who, at that time, were four, six, eight, eight, ten, twelve, and thirteen years old (six boys and one girl, all except the youngest have birthdays between May 21 and June 2). After staying home with my youngest, I needed to get back into the workforce so I came to Goodwill, I told him. He informed me there was a position opening as an HR coordinator and asked me if I was interested in applying.

I applied and was offered the job, which I started on July 5, 2004. This led me, after a couple years in HR, to become the manager of the Community Services Program, then I worked as the program manager between the Community Service Program and Job Services Program for the next 11 years. When Goodwill restructured the Workforce Development Team, I was offered a position as the assistant director of contracts for Solano County, which is the position I currently hold today. I ensure that the benchmarks are being met, am the liaison between Goodwill and the county, and look for new opportunities for Goodwill in Solano County.

I love what I do. I have so many different stories of lives that I have personally enriched by providing them with job opportunities. I have seen clients, after finishing up their program with Goodwill, become inspired, go to school and get their degree. Clients have said that if it wasn’t for me and my staff, they don’t know where they would be.

I’ve never been a single mother, but I can relate to my clients because I am married with seven children. I’ve been in the place where they are, receiving benefits, because I was always pregnant (well, at least in the 90’s). I went to college pregnant with twins, took a final two days before I gave birth. I had five children under five years old. I worked hard so my kids had opportunity. I believe that you have to want your life to change and act on that desire, it will not change on its own.

Now my youngest child is a senior in high school. I have worked at Goodwill throughout his entire school years. All the people I work with have become more than co-workers, they are my family.

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