Making a Fresh Start

    [fa icon="calendar"] Jun 14, 2023 1:09:41 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff

    Jenny Kakasuleff


    Kris Bussey was only 10 years old when she was first introduced to painkillers on the school bus. 

    “I was raised in a broken home, so the idea that drugs could solve my problems appealed to me,” Kris admits.

    She struggled with long-term drug use which eventually led to a six-year incarceration. In 2019, she was released from the Indiana Department of Correction into a work release center for high-risk parolees.  

    “The only property I owned was the outfit the prison provided me upon release – velcro shoes, black slacks and a white button-up shirt. I hoped it would allow me to get a job,” Kris said.

    However, she was denied work by 17 different employers due to her criminal history. Lacking any support system, she was feeling hopeless – until she connected with Goodwill. 


    “Initially, I was not a star employee,” Kris said. “I was going to be late to my interview but couldn’t call to let the manager know because I didn’t have access to a phone. I also needed flexibility with my schedule when parole called me in for a random drug screen.” 

    Despite these challenges, the managers at Goodwill saw potential in Kris and offered her a part-time position, which she quickly turned into multiple promotions. She was also selected for Goodwill’s 2023 Employment Achievement Award.

    “After six years of incarceration, I suffered from what is called institutionalization,” Kris said. “I felt like an outcast, but over time, I learned that Goodwill was the only place where I fit in.”


    In less than three years, Kris was promoted to site leader of her own Goodwill store, where she has taken an active role in hiring individuals seeking second chance employment and shares her own story as proof that they, too, can overcome their challenges.

    “My goal right now is to continue serving people, delivering results and doing the work needed to achieve that,” Kris said.  

    Check out all of Goodwill's career opportunities on our website.

    Topics: Employment, Success Story, Criminal History, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Pride Month, LGBTQ, DEI

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