Finding Community Through Second Chances

    [fa icon="calendar"] Jun 14, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray

    Noelle Gray

    For over 10 years, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s New Beginnings program has helped those who have been previously incarcerated reenter their communities. The program is designed to offer Hoosiers the resources to address the barriers they encounter after being released from the criminal justice system. 

    Through barrier removal and case management, Goodwill New Beginnings participants can work toward transitioning from entry-level work to a skilled, in-demand career within their community, at Goodwill and beyond.

    Billie Edison was drawn to Goodwill New Beginnings because she was aware of the employment and housing barriers people face after leaving prison. She wanted more support in those areas to ensure her success.


    “I had a lot of life skills,” said Billie. “But I knew there were going to be a lot of issues with applying for jobs and housing.”

    Goodwill staff connected her to the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, a program dedicated to creating affordable housing opportunities for individuals in the city. Through this program, Billie is able to rent a brand-new home, where every payment gets her closer to homeownership in the next two years. 

    An important aspect of Goodwill New Beginnings is in-person class time, where individuals striving for successful reentry gain the soft and hard skills necessary to achieve their goals. Billie was able to improve her computer skills and helped others who were also intimidated by tech gain greater confidence and understanding. Her experiences in class and connecting with other participants led to Billie finding a sense of belonging and community.

    “Class just felt like family to me,” said Billie. “It was a safe place to revisit computers and a judgment-free zone.”

    Goodwill New Beginnings staff became a part of her support system as well, encouraging Billie and cheering on her success. When she recalls her reentry experience, she’s not only proud of herself but grateful for all of the support she received.

    “It’s been absolutely amazing,” said Billie. “I'm amazed at what I could accomplish in such a short time. I wouldn't have been able to do that without Goodwill New Beginnings.”


    Currently, Billie works with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as a help desk technician in the organization’s information technology department. She wants to learn and thrive in her position but is also looking for opportunities to spread awareness about the importance of reentry services.

    “I want to do more speaking engagements,” said Billie. “Anything I can do to branch out and help people understand what reentry is and what these programs can do is really important to me.”

    For more information or to refer a potential candidate, please contact the Goodwill New Beginnings team at 317-524-3956 or

    Topics: Community Partners, Employment, New Beginnings, Criminal History, Mission Awareness

    Noelle Gray

    Written by Noelle Gray

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