Angel Beyersdorfer struggled with drug addiction for a decade before she finally hit rock bottom. She lost her home, car and driver’s license and couldn’t hold down a job.
As a small city in rural, southern Indiana (population <7,000), Scottsburg has the same challenges larger cities have but fewer resources available to address them. Of the 12% of Scottsburg residents who didn’t graduate from high school, an astonishing 44% over the age of 25 live below poverty level. Other common barriers include criminal history, addiction and homelessness.
Greg Perry beamed with pride as he stood at the podium at his graduation from Goodwill’s New Beginnings program, recounting the experiences that led him to prison as well as those that changed his life. New Beginnings is a six-month, re-entry program that helps those who were recently incarcerated adjust to society after their release.
Referred to Goodwill’s New Beginnings program by his parole officer in 2017, Christopher Holifield was determined to make a change, for himself as well as his children.
Success stories at Goodwill are more than a stamp of “this story is done.” Instead, they acknowledge that the individual reached their goals, overcame their challenges and launched into their next chapter. Johnny Manson is just such a success story. He demonstrated tremendous growth in education, employment and financial goals.
Finding healing in faith while incarcerated
Cory Tipton doesn’t make any excuses but admits his lack of adult guidance led him down the wrong path as a teen.
When someone struggles with being in and out of the criminal justice system, it can be difficult to break the cycle. For many of these individuals, education becomes a solution to make that happen. Cortez Adkins, 23, enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, in 2017 seeking a change in his life.
When James Wilson was incarcerated in 1996, he was facing 42 years for conspiracy to deal drugs. He knew when he walked into the penitentiary at 37 years old that he needed to make changes in his life if he was going to turn things around. After 17 years, with a squeaky clean record as an inmate, Wilson appealed to the courts for an early release. His request was granted, and he was released – on house arrest.