Discussing Juneteenth with Goodwill Leaders

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 19, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in Leadership Spotlight, Strategic Plan, DEI

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    Since 2021, the United States has observed Juneteenth annually on June 19. On that date, in 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that all enslaved African Americans were finally free. This was over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, issued under President Abraham Lincoln, went into effect.

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    Goodwill NFP Administrative Coordinator, Ash Patel, Celebrates Pride Month

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 7, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in Nurse-Family Partnership, Mission Awareness, Pride Month, DEI

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    June is Pride Month, a time dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ identities. Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is proud to join the celebration and highlight LGBTQ+ people in our network, helping us work toward our mission of changing lives through education, health and employment.

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    Removing the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 29, 2024 1:06:24 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, mental health, Mission Awareness, DEI

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    As part of our One Goodwill Strategic Plan, launched in 2022, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana developed a number of initiatives aimed at improving the mental health support provided to the people we employ, educate and serve. One of these initiatives included hiring a Mental Health Strategist, an entirely new role created to support the organization as we sought to create a culture that removes the stigma surrounding mental health. 

    Learn more about Sarah Ash, Goodwill’s Mental Health Strategist, and how she envisions making an impact in her new role.

    Tell us about your background and experience in the mental health care field.

    I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and have worked in settings such as schools, child welfare, health care, emergency services and private practice therapy. Depending on the role, my support of individuals’ mental health may have looked like barrier removal (much like Goodwill’s mission and life coaches offer to Goodwill employees and graduates), legal advocacy or traditional talk therapy. Fortunately, this sort of varied experience gave me a tremendous amount of insight into the way we approach “care” for others and how much more creative and expansive our care can be!

    Describe your current role at Goodwill.

    Currently, I serve as Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana’s Mental Health Strategist. This role was created in alignment with the Strategic Plan, which has a strategic objective dedicated to supporting the mental health of the individuals Goodwill employs, educates and serves. So far, this has looked like forming relationships across the organization to understand the unique challenges different areas face before partnering with them to develop ways to address those challenges. It has been exciting to think through the nuanced support we can implement in such a broad and diverse organization.

    What are some of the challenges employers are grappling with in terms of mental health in the workplace?

    The World Health Organization defines mental health as, “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well and contribute to their community.” Even if we can all more or less agree on what mental health is, what we each need as individuals to achieve it can be vastly different! For employers, this can be a really challenging reality to navigate because it means that each employee needs something unique. So attempting to build something that is both equitable and adaptable is very difficult, but important work. 

    How is Goodwill responding to these challenges?

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    Embracing Second Chances After Incarceration

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 5, 2024 3:30:00 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Criminal History, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, DEI

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    "My life is completely different now. I have resources, mobility and a support system. I finally have meaning," said Loretta "Lori" Fairfield, a Team Lead 2 at Goodwill.

    Lori's life prior to joining Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana was marked by trauma and adversity. She experienced the loss of multiple family members, while her parents battled alcohol addiction. Later in life, Lori herself grappled with addiction, leading to her incarceration in 1997.

    After spending over 25 years in the criminal justice system, Lori reached a turning point where she was determined to transform her life. Achieving seven months of sobriety, Lori entered house arrest with the intention of reentering the workforce. However, she encountered barriers securing employment due to her previous incarceration. At the suggestion of her caseworker, Lori embraced the opportunity to work for Goodwill and joined the Goodwill retail store in Lebanon as a wares producer in November 2021.

    During her tenure at Goodwill, Lori made significant progress in her personal and professional life. She established a more structured routine with her grandson, pursued her education and actively participated in various forms of outpatient therapy. Through therapy, Lori addressed the trauma she had experienced and worked on managing her severe social anxiety.

    Lori tackled financial challenges and set goals for advancing her career with her Goodwill Mission Coach, a life and career coach. Mission Coaches are available to all Goodwill employees and students. As she gained new skills and responsibilities, Lori was promoted to the role of Team Lead within her first year at Goodwill. Lori's peers recognized her progress, success and dedication to her role, resulting in another promotion to Team Lead 2 within a few months.

    "I love my job, the people and the diversity,” said Lori. “I enjoy helping people."

    Since joining Goodwill, Lori has achieved numerous milestones with the support of her team. Drawing on her life experiences, she finds common ground with others facing adversity and aspires to guide and support her peers as a strong leader.

    "I wouldn't be here without them. They stuck by me and supported me through my legal barriers, educational barriers and the dramatic things in my life. I have a career now!"

    Are you looking to start a career at Goodwill? Check out our website for current job openings!

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    Shattering Stereotypes: Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] Mar 19, 2024 11:00:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, ClickGoodwill, Retail, Mission Awareness, DEI

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    Empowering Women Through Leadership at Indy Met

    [fa icon="calendar'] Mar 8, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Education, Leadership Spotlight, Goodwill Education, DEI

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    Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is excited to continue highlighting women leaders contributing to our mission across the organization! Sofia Shine is the manager of operations at Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a best-fit school for students experiencing circumstances that may present a barrier to education. She considers Women’s History Month the perfect time to empower women.

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    Achieving Independence at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Mar 1, 2024 5:03:10 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, Disability, Success Story, Retail, Southern Indiana, Mission Awareness, DEI

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    In 2021, Matthew Rose was diagnosed with Eales Disease, a rare, incurable disease that affects his eyesight by causing the blood vessels to swell shut, which can lead to permanent damage and loss of vision. He also suffered two strokes. 

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    Goodwill's Chief Diversity Officer Discusses the Great Migration

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 16, 2024 11:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Leadership Spotlight, Strategic Plan, DEI, Black History Month

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    Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana continues its celebration of Black History Month by spotlighting African American leaders across the organization. Ivan P. Cropper, Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief Diversity Officer at Goodwill, sees February as a pivotal time to set the tone for the rest of the year – an opportunity to reflect on the influence of African Americans and those who paved the way for future generations.

    "Black history is American history, and although we emphasize it in February, it’s no less important throughout the year," Ivan said.

    Black History Month provides a space to recognize Black people’s contributions to America’s successes, which have had an enduring impact. Ivan recalls being influenced by figures such as Jesse Jackson running for president in the 1980s and being drawn to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From Spike Lee’s thought-provoking films to Oprah Winfrey’s journey from actor to executive producer in "The Color Purple," Ivan acknowledges the challenges these individuals faced to achieve success.

    Ivan's family history is intertwined with the Great Migration – a period of time between 1910 and 1970 when African Americans left the Jim Crow south behind in pursuit of opportunities up north. His mother, father and grandmother left Virginia and North Carolina in the 60s and 70s, with his grandmother selling her established corner store to join her son in Connecticut, where Ivan was later raised.

    In response to the events surrounding George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana looked inward to determine its role in fostering a better and more equitable world. The organization appointed Ivan as Chief Diversity Officer, entrusting him to lead the effort in championing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout the organization. Under Ivan's guidance, Goodwill incorporated DEI into its strategic plan, encouraging all departments to develop their own equity work plans that complement the organization's plans.

    "Being the Chief Diversity Officer is understanding the broad spectrum of where people find themselves,” Ivan said. “It's about ensuring that programs and learning opportunities are in place to meet people where they are and allow them to continue their education within that space."

    Ivan remains committed to collaborating daily with people from all walks of life. Similar to his parents and grandparents who sought to create opportunities for their futures, Ivan strives to create opportunities for the individuals we employ, educate and serve at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.

    "People of color have been on this continent for centuries, making contributions to American life,” Ivan noted. “I genuinely appreciate the people we work with day-to-day and what they bring to the table. Their open hearts and minds for people of all walks of life are evident every day. I’m happy to be a part of it."

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    Celebrating Black History Month with L’Tanya White

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 13, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in The Excel Center, Education, DEI, Black History Month

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    Black History Month continues, and so does Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s highlight of African American leaders contributing to our mission: changing lives every day through education, employment and health. Our next spotlight is on L’Tanya White, the director of The Excel Center® in Clarksville. She brings a passion for inspiring others and 20 years of experience to the school’s staff and students.

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    Celebrating Black History Month with Lakeysha Hamilton

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 6, 2024 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in Employment, Disability, Retail, DEI, Black History Month

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    February is Black History Month, and Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is excited to highlight the African American leaders who contribute to our mission of changing lives every day through health, education and employment. Lakeysha Hamilton, Goodwill’s director of outlets, has been with the organization for over 20 years and looks forward to Black History Month.

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