Growing up in North Carolina, Patrice Blackstock faced hardship from a young age. “I didn’t have any real guidance because my mom was often sick,” she said. “I just wanted to belong, be loved and appreciated and I got involved with the wrong crowd very early in life. At 15 her parents separated and she had her first son. In order to care for her ill mother and new baby, she often missed school and eventually dropped out. When she was 20, Patrice had a daughter and met a man with a bad habit who led her to drugs. “I became a totally different person and lost all control,” she said.
Patrice gave birth to another daughter at age 23. Not willing to listen to her mother’s advice to get clean, she moved to South Carolina with her partner and children. She ended up in jail several times and was in a perpetual downward spiral. With five children to care for, Patrice knew she couldn’t continue down this path and entered a rehabilitation facility in Florence, SC.
“They say you can’t do it for someone else but you can because I did it for my children,” she said.
Patrice did everything she could to make positive changes in her life and her actions are proof that her desire for change is more powerful than her addiction.
During her time there, Patrice was introduced to Goodwill during a group outing. “I’ll never forget shopping at that store because it was the first time I spent money on something other than drugs and it felt good,” she said. Once she was clean, Patrice received a home through Habitat for Humanity and started a job at Salvation Army where she worked for 11 years before the store closed. She says this was the worst time in her life because she had finally found a place where she belonged and didn’t know where to turn.
Barely scraping by, she was elated when she learned Goodwill would be opening a new store in town. She was connected with Employment specialist Bobby Cox, who helped her get the job. “Nobody would hire me because of my background but Goodwill gave me a chance when no one else would,” Patrice said.
“Patrice did everything she could to make positive changes in her life and her actions are proof that her desire for change is more powerful than her addiction,” Bobby said. Just as her children were the driving reason for her to turn her life around years ago, they continue to be her motivation each day. Patrice is now happily married and a proud grandma to 10 grandchildren. Her advice to people who fall on tough times is, “Never give up no matter how hard life gets. There is always a silver lining, you just have to find it.”