In 2003, at the age of 15, Ashley Brummet was in a horrific car accident that changed her life. She broke her back and was told by doctors she would live in constant pain. As a result, she was prescribed pain medication to help her manage her symptoms.
“Since I was prescribed the medications by doctors, I didn’t realize I could become addicted,” said Ashley. “But by the time I turned 18, I was hooked.”
Due to her addiction and pain, Ashley dropped out of high school during her junior year at the age of 17. The following year, she discovered she was pregnant.
“I was sober during my pregnancy and felt great,” said Ashley. “However, after giving birth, I was prescribed more pain medication and didn’t know how to say no.”
This became a repetitive cycle with all four of her children, and her addiction persisted.
Ashley had her youngest child in 2015, who was diagnosed with autism. Her diagnosis is what pushed Ashley toward sobriety for good.
“I started counseling and drug treatment in 2016, and my life started to change,” said Ashley. “I was becoming a better mother, partner, and person.”
Feeling renewed, Ashley realized it was time to enter the workforce for the first time and she began her career with Goodwill. With over 70 retail locations, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana employs over 4,000 individuals, two-thirds of whom possess a barrier to employment such as lack of education, disability or a criminal history. Goodwill offers employees wraparound support services, including access to a Mission Coach, an individual dedicated to developing and improving the lives of Goodwill employees.
Ashley thrived at her store. She started out as a cashier, and has since been promoted three times due to her work ethic and problem solving skills. However, her life was about to take another unexpected turn.
“On the day I was promoted to Team Lead in 2019, I went home feeling amazing knowing things were looking up! However, that night, I woke to the smell of smoke. My house was on fire.”
Ashley and her four children were safe, but they lost all of their personal belongings in the fire and their home became uninhabitable.
“Overnight, I was homeless with nothing,” said Ashley.
In the coming days, Ashley connected with Goodwill Mission Coach services, and Goodwill was able to help Ashley regain housing, provide clothing, support her through maintaining her employment and continue to be a steadfast mother to her children.
“Goodwill helped me tremendously,” said Ashley. “Without Goodwill, I'm not sure where my life would be. I had this group of people that genuinely cared about not only me, but also my kids. I have never felt more loved. It was then I realized that Goodwill is more than just a job -- they helped me in ways I can't even express.”
Ashley recovered her home and has since been promoted to Site Lead at the Fountain Square store. She also has been sober for eight years. Her next goal is to become a Regional Director of the Goodwill retail division in the future.
“Having a job has helped me stay on track. If Goodwill had not given me a chance, I don't know where I would be right now, and in my position I get to help others reach their full potential,” said Ashley.
Learn more about what Goodwill does at goodwillindy.org.