How many people can say they found their “dream job” right out of college? Sofia Shine is one of those rare individuals. A Ball State 2021 graduate, Sofia started her career in July as a Family Empowerment Coach at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Goodwill’s best-fit school for students who are experiencing barriers to education.
Sofia says that Indy Met is the perfect fit because of her past experiences and passion for helping others.
“In past jobs, I have worked with at-risk youth and students on probation,” Sofia said. “I wanted to find a career where I could help teenagers who were facing obstacles and collaborate with other professionals who are experts in their field. Indy Met truly is the best fit for me.”
Originally from Guatemala, Sofia is highly influenced by her adopted family, which includes her father, eight siblings and her grandmother, who passed away years ago.
“My grandma started a league for individuals who are blind or dealing with impairments,” Sofia explained. “She motivated me to choose a helping profession as my career path.”
Her family’s commitment to helping individuals also rubbed off on Sofia’s sister, who also works at Indy Met as a math instructor.
Indianapolis Metropolitan is one-of-a-kind in its ability to offer individualized support for students and their families, from access to college and career readiness opportunities, such as college courses and industry-recognized certifications, to onsite child care and transportation assistance.
As a Family Empowerment Coach, Sofia and her teammates help ensure that students and families are connected to necessary employment, health and education services. Recently, Sofia learned that one of her students was having a difficult time getting to school due to a parent’s car needing to be serviced.
“I met with the parents to learn more about the situation,” Sofia said. “In this case, Indy Met was able to pay for the car to be fixed so our student could return to school, and the entire family could continue to move forward with their lives.”
Family Empowerment Coaches meet with Indy Met students and families on a regular basis to ensure that students are not only on track to graduate but also to obtain a living-wage post-graduation through employment or secondary education.
“We Indy Met coaches call ourselves the ‘dream team’ because we all have different professional and personal experiences that allow us to connect with our students,” Sofia said. “When I was in high school, I never saw my guidance counselor, but at Indy Met, we try to see every student on our caseload at least once per day.”
For the remainder of the school year, which is still her first year at Indy Met, Sofia says she wants to continue building relationships with students both on and off her caseload, as well as connect more with parents and guardians. She also has a desire to continue her education, for which Goodwill offers tuition reimbursement.
“Eventually, I would like to earn my Master’s in Social Work and minor in Spanish, so I can learn and research more to connect our students and families to a wider range of resources that might be of help to them,” Sofia said. “I am so lucky to have landed my dream job right out of college!”