Smyrna Goodwill Employee to Receive a Car Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017

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In 2002, at age 15, Alena Sanders moved to America from the Czech Republic

A Goodwill employee in Smyrna will receive a donated vehicle through the nonprofit's Wheels-to-Work program on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The Wheels-to-Work Program was established to help Goodwill employees and clients who need reliable transportation to get to work.

Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas will present Alena Sanders, an assistant manager at the Smyrna Goodwill store, with the keys to a used but clean and working automobile at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. The ceremony will take place at the Goodwill Career Solutions Center at a 937 Herman St. in Nashville.

Meet Alena Sanders

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In 2002, at age 15, Alena Sanders moved to America from the Czech Republic with her parents. Five years later, she obtained a work permit, but her limited English and lack of work experience made finding a job difficult. While other employers ignored her application, Goodwill gave her a job. She was hired as a sales associate at Goodwill's Smyrna store. Over eight years, she has risen through the ranks to become an assistant manager. Only one thing has held Alena back: the lack of reliable transportation.

More Information on the Wheels-To-Work Program

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Ten people applied to receive a donated vehicle through the Wheels-to-Work program in 2017. A selection committee made up of Goodwill employees from various departments helped to determine who was eligible to participate. To qualify for the program, participants had to meet certain qualifications, such as being employed at least 32 hours, having a valid driver's license and good driving record.

After being notified of acceptance into the program, participants had to complete training classes on budgeting, defensive driving and car maintenance. Recipients also pay a $200 administrative fee. Budgeting classes were provided at no cost by Fifth Third Bank, while the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department provided the defensive driving classes.

Several employees remain on a waiting list to receive an automobile through the Wheels-to-Work program. People who choose to donate vehicles to Goodwill support not only the Wheels-to-Work program but also Goodwill's mission of changing lives through education, training and employment. More information can be found at www.giveit2goodwill.org/vehicles.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.

For nearly 60 years, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2016, Goodwill served more than 43,000 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed more than 17,000 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill's Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231.

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