Success Stories – Michelle Norton

It was during high school that Michelle fell in with the wrong crowd and started experimenting with alcohol, then drugs. She fell in love- first with a man, then with methamphetamine. Not long after, her daughter, Nichelle, was born.

Their relationship was toxic so Michelle left Nichelle’s father, but believed she needed a man to make her feel complete. She went from one bad relationship to the next, using drugs to mask her emotions, dragging her daughter along with her.

Wanting to do what was best for her daughter, Michelle agreed to let Nichelle move in with her aunt until she could get her life together. Without her daughter, Michelle had no responsibilities and the freedom to do what she wanted. This freedom led Michelle to stealing and selling drugs.

Michelle’s sister moved to Montana and took Nichelle out of state. Twice a year she’d visit Michelle and after living with her aunt for seven years, she told her mom she didn’t want to go back. Nichelle was 15 and Michelle told herself she had to be the role model her daughter needed. And so Michelle made a choice.

Michelle found a Narcotics Anonymous sponsor and started working the steps. She joined Goodwill’s Welfare to Work program, attending the Job Services and then Community Services Program within Goodwill, and working at the Fairfield Goodwill store. Slowly, she began to believe that a different way of life was possible. When she was invited to attend the Goodwill Academy, Michelle hadn’t worked in years. She had huge gaps in her employment and a criminal background, but Goodwill was giving her the chance to make a change.

Michelle worked her way through the Academy and was promoted to Lead Processor, then Service Coordinator. Today, Michelle is a Transitional Employment Coordinator, helping people get jobs to get back to a productive way of life. Michelle shares her experience, strength, and hope with others who are seeking change.

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