Goodman has devoted her career to bringing light to dark situations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 24, 2002

Staff writer

More than 10 years ago, Suffolk resident Patrica Goodman had a strange dream – at least she thought so at the time. In what remains vivid imagery in her mind, she was opening people’s mouths to insert light bulbs.

Today, Goodman realizes that this dream was merely defining her purpose.

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As an ordained minister and manager of an outreach program that assists the region’s disadvantaged population, Goodman has spent most of her career bringing light to many dark situations.

Goodman was hired by Norfolk-based The STOP Organization 17 years ago as a Community Services representative, and today wears the hat of Rural Community Services Manager. Goodman spends her days interfacing with clients in Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

There’s seemingly no end in sight to the phone calls and office visits Goodman receives daily requesting assistance with housing, utilities, food, and other resources offered by the agency. Based upon federal and state guidelines, Goodman interviews clients, processes applications, and determines eligibility, while overseeing the program in the Western Tidewater localities.

Goodman’s office is based at STOP’s Center for Employment Training on Tynes Street in Suffolk. On a monthly basis, Goodman estimates that sometimes as many as 200 requests for assistance are considered.

Goodman said she’s always had &uot;great compassion&uot; for people, which contributed to her career choice. Goodman added that she finds it equally fulfilling when she’s able to facilitate linkage to the various support channels offered by STOP. And when this is not possible, &uot;I enjoy being able to just encourage someone,&uot; said Goodman. &uot;Sometimes we may not have the funds to assist, but I always have hope that they can make it and try to encourage them.&uot;

Goodman also does her share of encouraging via her church, Higher Dimension Family Outreach Center at 312 Gloucester St. in the city. Since 1991, Goodman has been an ordained minister and evangelist, committing to sharing the Gospel wherever God leads her, she said. Goodman said her ministry focus is women and children.

&uot;I have an ongoing desire to win souls for God and be more like a light bulb,&uot; said Goodman. &uot;There are people in darkness, and I just want to help them turn on the light.&uot;

Goodman took time this week to share some things about herself with the News-Herald:

Name: Patrica Ann Goodman

Age: 40

Hometown: Suffolk

Family: Parents are Raymond Goodman Sr. and the late Mary A. Goodman. Oldest of three siblings: Belinda Brown and Raymond Goodman Jr.; one son, Patrick, 9, a rising 4th-grader at Kilby Shores Elementary School, and three nieces and four nephews.

Education: Master’s Degree (Religious Education), Virginia Seminary-Suffolk Extension; Bachelor of Science degree (Office Administration), St. Paul’s College, Lawrenceville, Virginia.

Career/Occupation: Rural Community Services Manager, The STOP Organization; Prepaid Legal Services Associate

Volunteer activities: Youth Pastor, Sunday School Superintendent; member of Sickle Cell Advisory Committee and Boy Scouts.

Favorite thing about life in Suffolk: I reside in the rural area of Suffolk and I love the country living.

Why did you pursue your chosen career? In December 1984, I had just finished college and was looking for employment when my mother was working in the same building with Mrs. Ruby Walden (Suffolk resident). Mrs. Walden suggested that I volunteer with her and that’s how I was hired.

Favorite thing about your job: Being able to have an impact on people’s lives that may not otherwise be reached or helped.

Least favorite thing about your job: Not being able to help everyone that comes to my office seeking services.

What accomplishment are you proudest of? Receiving my Master’s degree and the presence of my parents during the ceremony, especially my mother who took ill after graduation.

Who or what motivates and inspires you? My parents and grandparents inspire me to be all that I could be in my home, my church and in my community.

Favorite way to spend your free time: Just relaxing and spending time with my son.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others? Learn to love yourself and then you will learn to love others.

What ingredients are in the recipe for a good life? Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

We all have our &uot;15 minutes of fame&uot; in this life. How would you spend your time in the spotlight? Entertaining children through Christian Clowning using skits to create an atmosphere of learning and positive motivation.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Expressing my feelings even more because it is so important that people know how you feel. Your feelings are all that you have and when that is damaged, you don’t have anything.