Finding hope in the darkness: Marvin’s Story

Marvin Marks was not born blind. Until a few years ago, he was a forklift driver, a husband, and a father, until one day, without notice, he started to go blind from a tumor on his optic nerve.  In a very short time, Marvin lost all his sight, first in one eye, and then the other. His life began to fall apart and he lost his job, his wife, and his home – his reasons to get up in the morning. “I had to find something to do to get out of my house—it was driving me crazy,” he said. “I had to find someone to give me a chance.”

After meeting Kathi, who works for Goodwill Easterseals, he was able to work briefly as a telemarketer.  “When that business shut down, I was right back to where I started—unemployed.  Stuck at home.  I became depressed and my life was falling apart,” Marvin said.

Then he found out Goodwill Easterseals had another program he could join for training to learn new skills. Through his hard work, despite his disability, Marvin was able to turn a temporary training position into a permanent one. He has now been employed for over three years.  “I was so excited—I didn’t want to go back to being unemployed again. Since I haven’t been blind for very long, there is still a lot I need to learn.  I’m learning to use a cane. The folks here have also helped me with things that are hard for me, like reading my mail and making a budget work. They have become like family to me—a real support,” he said.

“I like working here because it gives me a reason to get up.  I have someplace to be besides sitting at my house.  I want to work and have a job.  It gives me momentum.  It keeps me active.  I am glad Goodwill Easterseals is here.  I have a job and a paycheck, and more importantly, I have somewhere to go.”


Marvin’s story is just one of over 10,000 from people who came to Goodwill Easterseals over the past year looking to enhance their education, find a job, or get support for their family. We are here, but we wouldn’t be able to help without the compassionate support from our Gulf Coast community.

Come meet Marvin and hear his story on a Hope to Opportunity (H2O) tour and find out the good things Goodwill Easterseals is doing to help your neighbors who need it. We bet you will say, “I had no idea you did that!” at least once, and with your knowledge, we can spread the message of hope and bring opportunities to even more people. You can reserve a spot, or just show up to any one of the dates on the tour card. We sure would love to have you!

Sensory-Friendly Santa is this Saturday!

Please join Goodwill Easterseals of the Gulf Coast, the Autism Society of Alabama, and Santa America this Saturday for our Sensory Santa event! It is free to the public and provides a soft, calm environment for children on the autism spectrum and others with sensory processing disorders to visit Santa. RSVP to Michelle at 251-259-5553 to reserve a spot! The event it from 1:30-4:30 at our Goodwill Easterseals Spanish Fort location (behind Publix). We will have crafts, snacks, and a giveaway for the parents every hour. Come visit peaceful, nurturing Santa and experience love, hope, and joy as we head into the Christmas season.

FOX10 News | WALA

When you shop, you help!

Christmas is almost here and Goodwill Easterseals has plenty of gifts available for purchase! We have a wide selection of children’s stuffed animals, toys and games. If you are searching for an affordable present for your little tot, come visit us today.

While you are shopping, you will be bringing help and hope to children and adults who need the encouragement, education and employment that Goodwill Easterseals provides to the community. Happy Holiday Shopping!

Christmas on the Coast ornaments selling out quickly!

We are selling out of the 2017 ornaments quickly! We are completely out of the Callaghan’s ornaments online but some are still available at our Goodwill Easterseals stores and vendors, and Coffee Cup, as well as ornaments from past years, can still be ordered on our website. You may want to call ahead to make sure the vendors have not run out. Thank you so much for your support of our Christmas on the Coast ornaments!

Goodwill Easterseals’ Adult Education

We are so proud of our students who work hard in the adult education classes every week! Many of them are brushing up on reading and math skills. They are taught in small class sizes by staff and volunteer instructors. One of the tutors, a Spring Hill College student, said, “I love seeing the students’ faces when the pronunciation of a word clicks in their heads. This program is just one of the many great opportunities at Goodwill Easterseals!”