At Thrive, we believe one of the most important ways to fight burnout is to find purpose and meaning in the work you do every day. Our partnership with Walmart enables us to see the power of Thrive’s behavior change platform in action every day. Through small better choices that build momentum over time, Walmart associates (and their friends and family) are able to make changes that drastically improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

Each month, we award 18 winners with a cash prize for their accomplishments in the Thrive Challenge. Reading through their stories and learning how each of them overcame everyday struggles gives us so much inspiration and passion for the work that we do. 

Below, read the stories of our 18 winners for the month of July. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Jessica Dever, Walmart Supercenter #2027, Lavale, MD

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“I’m a 37-year-old single mom and I was having a hard time trying to do too many things at once. My grandma got sick — she had cancer. I was helping to take care of her, and I was always rushing around with my 10-year-old daughter, Summer. We’d stop and grab a burger because it was convenient, and I gained weight. It was time for a fresh start, so I downloaded the Thrive app. I started by cutting back on fast food. Now, I’ll make chicken Caesar salad or chicken fajitas. Summer enjoys cooking with me. We go for walks and play in the backyard. Summer will be doing flips and cartwheels and I try to keep up with her. I feel like I’m a kid again, being a bit rambunctious. All my family live close by and we’re enjoying cookouts together. I’ve lost a lot of weight in the past year. I bought a bikini for the first time ever and I absolutely love it. I’m much more confident. Sometimes I forget I’m almost 40!”

Maury Escobar, Distribution Center #6561, Colton, CA

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“I’ve always been a procrastinator and it’s affected everything. I’m in school right now taking a translation course, but I was always studying at the last minute, which made me anxious, which was affecting my relationship with my husband, Cristian. I downloaded the Thrive app and I started with time management. On my days off, I’ll start the laundry then clean the house while the clothes are washing. I schedule two hours four times a week to do my school assignments. I put my phone in another room in ‘do not disturb’mode. I’m enjoying studying and connecting with other classmates. Doing simple Microsteps has helped me feel more secure. Cristian and I go for hikes in nature and have meaningful conversations. Before I go to bed, I take a hot shower to wind down. I make sure I get eight hours of sleep and I’m more energized during the day. Thrive is helping me to change my life in a positive way.”

Jaquita Arnold, Distribution Center #4030, Atlanta, GA

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“I’m a 36-year-old single mom with three teenagers and it’s been challenging raising them on my own. Whenever I was stressed, I’d shop online or in stores and buy things I didn’t need. Then I’d feel upset when I got home; I felt down. My co-worker, Delpha, inspired me to download the Thrive app, so I started with the money Challenge. I decided to put away 50 dollars a week. I made an automatic direct deposit into a savings account. I gradually increased the amount to $100 a week. At the end of each month I’d look at my balance and go, “Oh wow!” I sit down with the kids and we make a budget. We work out how much we need for groceries, random household items, and luxuries. My kids are learning about finance and saving money themselves. I’ve saved $3000 and I feel amazing. I’m planning to buy my dream house in 2025. And it will mean a whole lot knowing I bought it myself for me and my family.” 

Jessica Hamilton, Neighborhood Market #6323, Gulfport, MS

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“I’m a single mom with a ten-year-old daughter, Jade, but I never made enough time for Jade or for myself. I had a health scare and the doctor said I needed to improve my diet and lifestyle. I downloaded the Thrive app and began by cutting out soda and drinking more water. My stomach feels a lot better, and oh my goodness, my skin looks better. Spending time with Jade has become a priority. We go to the beach and we walk our dog, Mango. Jade and I go roller skating. We skate round the house and down the street — anywhere our wheels will roll. For dinner, I’m making meals like baked salmon with lemon pepper and broccoli. We put our phones away and have good conversations. I had a meeting with a real estate agent to talk about becoming a first time home owner, and I’m on course to buy a house. I’d love a wrap-around porch with rocking chairs, a big yard for our dog, and a guest room for my mom.”

Tina Thiessen, Walmart Supercenter #3370, Palmetto, FL

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“My husband, Kevin, and I have seven children; three still live with us. But we weren’t communicating. And I wasn’t exercising or eating well. I started the Thrive Challenge and I began by trading diet coke for water. We involved the kids in meal planning; they take it in turn to choose veggies. We’re making grilled chicken, veggie burgers, and whole wheat noodles. My mom’s side of the family are from France so I’m making French recipes, like delicious crêpes topped with fresh fruit. French culture centers around a good meal that brings everyone together and that’s what I wanted for my kids. We’re doing things as a family; last week we went bowling and had a blast. Way back, I used to run marathons, so I’ve started running again. It’s my time to think and reflect. My mood has improved and I’ve lost 14 pounds. I have the energy to play with my grandkids. I realize how lucky I am to have my family and I feel blessed.”

Zachery Hall, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, AR

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“When I was younger, I was very athletic. I won a college football scholarship. But I was eating fast food and I gained weight. My wife, Savannah, and I were trying to start a family, and she had four miscarriages. We’re blessed to have two daughters now, four-year-old Hayden, and two-year-old Ryleigh. But I knew I had to take a serious look at my health, so I downloaded the Thrive app. We cut out processed food. That meant no more frozen pizza! We’re trying new food from different cultures, like curried lentil and coconut soup. I challenged myself to wake up at 4 a.m. and do a cardio workout, and we go for family walks. The kids and I draw on the chalkboard and we’ll paint together. At work, I’m focusing on allyship. I’m open to everyone, to all cultures and perspectives. I’ve changed my lifestyle and lost 35 pounds. But what’s most important, Thrive has helped me be more present with my kids. And I feel awesome.”

Felicia Witten, Walmart Supercenter #3726, Grand Blanc, MI

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“I was born with a hole in my heart, which I discovered when I was pregnant with my son, Andrew, who’s now 23. Over the years, I wasn’t taking care of myself and my doctors said losing weight would be easier on my heart. I started the Thrive Challenge two years ago and cut out fast food. I pack my lunch every day; I might have eggs and yogurt. For dinner I make baked chicken or fish with veggies. My husband, Todd, and I go for walks and connect. And if I’m alone, I put on ’80s music and dance throughout the house. I’ve lost a lot of weight and feel fantastic. I really enjoy thrift store shopping for cute clothes with my friend, Samantha. You can find great bargains. I’m 57, but I feel much younger — I have a lot of energy. At work, I’m the one climbing the shelves to reach things. Lots of ladies I’ve known lived into their 90s, and that’s what I want for myself. I’m shooting for a long happy life.” 

Tyler Williams, Distribution Center #6014, Laurens, SC

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“Three years ago I lost my mom to suicide. It was shocking. I started drinking and eating too much. Also, my wife, Karrah, and I were focusing so much on our careers that we weren’t spending enough time together. I downloaded the Thrive app. I stopped eating fast food and started drinking lots of water. I cook chicken with vegetables, and I’m enjoying using my smoker. I made smoked salmon that turned out really good. We sit down for dinner together every night, and then take our dogs, Shadow and Rosie for a walk. We just had our eight year wedding anniversary; we rented a boat and went out on Lake Murray; we love it out there. I’m working out again at the gym — it feels good — and I’ve lost 15 pounds. I miss my mom. I know I’ll never be fully healed — it’s a process. But Thrive is helping me continue that healing process. I know my mom is proud of me and is somewhere thinking of me — and that gives me comfort.” 

Katherine Sauer, Walmart Supercenter #2485, Ponderay, ID

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“I’ve been through a lot of loss. My husband died of lung cancer. Five years later, I met someone else, then he became ill and passed away. I’m 52 now, and the grief never goes away. My mom moved in with me and we weren’t taking care of ourselves. For dinner, we’d have something quick cooked in the microwave like burritos or just popcorn. I really wanted to change my life and I started the Thrive Challenge. We’re staying away from junk food. We’ll have soup, beef and veggie stews, or rotisserie chicken and salad. I’m walking 10 to 12 thousand steps a day and I joined a gym. I’ve lost 30 pounds and I have more energy for my five grandchildren. I play with them and go to all their games. I never miss one. My grandkids complete me. I feel their grandpa is with me when I’m with them. I’m dealing with my grief and focusing on gratitude. You’ve got to keep going — and I really appreciate my life.”

Timothy Parchman, Neighborhood Market #5767, Fishers, IN

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“I was promoted and transferred to a different store. COVID happened, and my wife Amanda and I had a baby, Minnie, who’s now two. I wasn’t working out and I’d eat on the go, like a bag of chips. Tammy Coday told me about the Thrive app and I began with movement. I’ll walk over to talk to someone instead of texting, and I’ll walk around the store throughout the day. Gym time is a priority. I do strength training primarily. For me, it’s like taking a break and decompressing. I’m trying to gain weight, so I’ll have oatmeal with peanut butter, and for dinner I’ll have pasta. Amanda and I are avid hikers. We love going to the beautiful state parks. If there’s a rugged trail, I put Minnie in a carrier on my back. As well as my job, I’m working toward a business degree and I schedule time to study after I’ve put Minnie to bed. Getting into a routine has been incredible and I’m excited about my journey.”

Hunter Goller, Walmart Supercenter #1765, Somerset, PA

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“I have a degree in computer science. But when I graduated, I got a lot of job rejections, and I struggled with depression and anxiety. I was happy to get my job at Walmart, but I wasn’t motivated to do anything outside of work. I was bad at time management. Jimmy Miller, a co-worker, encouraged me to start the Thrive Challenge. I began by mapping my days out when I was off work and writing down what I wanted to do that day. So at 10 o’clock, I walk our dog, Odin, and get some fresh air, then I get some lunch, and work on my website and my app. Putting down my phone when I’m working on a project helps me focus. It stops me getting distracted. When I feel stressed I’ll do some sit-ups or go for a jog. My goal is to become a software engineer, so I’m improving my skill sets. I’m making progress and I’m proud of myself.”

Joshua Hickman, David Glass Technology Center, Bentonville, AR

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“I’m 33 and I was depressed. I was eating a lot of fast food like McDonald’s because it was easy. I weighed 400 pounds and I was tired all the time. I didn’t feel comfortable going out in public and socializing. I started the Thrive Challenge and I began by taking a brisk walk in the park every day. There are pretty trails and trees, and I’m enjoying breathing in the fresh air. I’ve been making friends at work. My co-worker, Brian, and I like to go to explore nature. We both share an interest in wildlife. I’m cooking whole foods and eating lots of vegetables. My favorite recipe is baked lemon chicken. I adopted a cat called Norry. She’s very playful and likes cuddling at night! Before I adopted Norry, I felt alone at night. Now I feel somebody’s here with me, which is comforting. My goal is to buy a house. I visualize myself with a family, living somewhere nice with lots of animals.”

Mario Espino, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville AR

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“Recently, I wasn’t feeling good. I work remotely and I was very sedentary. I was eating fast food and I gained a lot of weight. I wanted to be a role model for my two teenage sons, Luis and Diego, so I started the Thrive Challenge. I saw a nutritionist who recommended incorporating more protein and veggies into my diet. I’ll have eggs or yogurt with fruit for breakfast — I like mango a lot. For dinner, I’ll make grilled chicken with asparagus, broccoli, and couscous. The boys and I are bonding. We go to the gym together. I have more energy and I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’m also hiking with friends. We live close to the Grand Canyon and it’s pretty amazing; it always brings a tear to the eye. We just had a family reunion in Mexico for my cousin’s quinceañera. 300 family members got together at my grandfather’s ranch; it felt special, reconnecting with people and my culture. It made me reflect on how happy I am — everything’s going in the right direction.”

Michael Pendergrass, Walmart Supercenter #48, Monett, MO

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“I was working too much. My wife Katie and I had a baby, KaeLeigh, who’s now 14 months old. I wasn’t home enough and I felt like I wasn’t a good enough father. And I struggled with stress eating. I started the Thrive Challenge, and I began by getting off my phone when I got home from work. We go outside more. I push the baby around in her carriage and I’m teaching her to ride her little tricycle. It makes me feel warm inside watching KaeLeigh grow up. We’re cooking instead of eating out. For dinner, we’ll make chicken and rice or we’ll grill burgers and hot dogs. I started jogging again and I’m in training for the Heart Of America Marathon In September. When the baby’s asleep, Katie and I sit down and talk about our days, and we discuss our dreams and plans. We want more kids and we’re designing a new, bigger house. We want five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a big yard. We’re excited about the future.”

Sidi Nzemen Temo, David Glass Technology Center, Bentonville, AR

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“I was making 16 dollars an hour for a long time. My wife Lea also works at Walmart, and we have three children. Money was a big challenge. I wanted to go to college and get a better job. But I was a procrastinator. I was inspired to start the Thrive Challenge by Candie Holland. I signed up for a degree in business and leadership. Going back to school was hard, but Thrive helped me with time management. I spread out my homework from Monday to Friday, doing a little at a time instead of doing it all at once. Thrive Microsteps are magical miracles for me. I graduated with my bachelors degree. And better yet, I got my masters degree, and I now have a job as a merchandising analyst. I feel valuable and valued. I saved enough money to put a down payment on a house and we moved in on June 24th. It’s a blessing. That’s the only way I can describe it.”

Eloisa Garcia, Walmart Supercenter #5055, Naples, FL

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“Losing weight has always been a challenge. My husband Juan and I have three daughters. Life felt chaotic and I had no energy. I downloaded the Thrive app andI started walking three miles a day. Then I began jogging in the nature park by the river. There’s a butterfly garden and it’s very calm and soothing. Now, I’m running every day and I’m going to run a 5K for charity. I go rollerblading in the park with the kids. I hadn’t done it in nearly 20 years; I feel like a teenager again. Juan and I are on a strict keto diet. We’ll have boiled or scrambled eggs with avocado. And we’ll make chicken with broccoli, or lettuce wraps. I’ve lost 24 pounds and I feel amazing. We’re saving to buy a house — we’re putting money away each month. I’m living life in the moment. I want to show my girls that they’re capable of anything they put their mind to, and that they can conquer the world.” 

Rudi van der Vyver, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN

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“Last December, my wife, Ashley, had a health scare. She had double pneumonia in both lungs. Ashley fully recovered — it’s honestly a miracle. But it’s been hard for our family. I was taking care of our 11-year-old twins, the bills piled up, and everything was stressful. I started the Thrive Challenge and instead of eating out, I began learning new recipes and cooking family meals. We all love Italian food and spaghetti is a family favorite. We’re making better decisions with money. Instead of buying name brand food and household products, we buy generic alternatives. And we’re saving hundreds of dollars. I canceled a bunch of subscriptions and streaming platforms. For the first time in five years, I have no credit card debt — it’s a huge, huge relief. We own our home and our plan is to pay down the mortgage. Ashley and I have a beautiful connection — it’s beyond heavenly. We’re always with the kids; we’ll play music together, or we’ll be outside in nature. I have the dream home and the dream family.” 

Davie Lubbers, Walmart Supercenter #2804, Oklahoma City, OK

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“I became a pharmacy manager just when COVID hit. Work was stressful and I didn’t take care of myself. My husband Tyler and I had a baby, Collins, who’s now nearly two. But I didn’t have the energy for the baby. I downloaded the Thrive app and I started meal prepping. I’ll cook grilled chicken and rice. We always have fresh veggies. I started a garden. We’re growing tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Collins loves helping water the plants. My husband got a job close to home and I’m not working as many hours. We go for walks in the park. I go down the slide with Collins in the playground. I take her to swim class and to the zoo. Every other weekend, Tyler and I go for a dinner date and my mom will take care of the baby. We’d love to have more kids. And my plan is to be the mom who’s always there, splashing in the kiddie pool playing with them and seeing life through their eyes.”