To grow in his career and earn a family-sustaining wage, Mark Powell needed his high school diploma.
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.
The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults, provided a priceless opportunity for Veronica McNeil to earn her high school diploma in a supportive environment.
Last year was a big year for Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana as we educated, employed and served more individuals than ever before. Since launching our new Strategic Plan two years ago, we’ve made significant progress on our objectives and goals.
Goodwill Mission Coach Benjamin Hutto began his journey with Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana in 2016 when he enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults. Previously homeschooled, Ben struggled to focus, which he later learned was related to undiagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder. But The Excel Center in Kokomo empowered him to earn the credits he needed to graduate at an accelerated pace.
Ben continued his education by earning an associate degree from Ivy Tech Community College in 2018, and his bachelor's degree from Indiana University Kokomo the following year. Then, in 2020, the pandemic happened.
Due to his laser focus on his education, Ben had no work history, and he experienced barriers to finding a job after graduating. His Goodwill Mission Coach encouraged him to apply for a leadership position at a local Goodwill store, which led to the next step of his Goodwill journey as a Retail Team Lead. Although Ben was later promoted, he strived to do something beyond the scope of retail. When the opportunity to become a mission coach emerged, he jumped at the chance and applied.
“I know it sounds cliche, but I really enjoy helping others,” said Ben. “I feel that, given my path at Goodwill, I’m uniquely qualified to help students and employees make those connections.”
In 2022, Ben was officially welcomed as the newest Goodwill Mission Coach. He now supports people with similar experiences, who have barriers to employment or education and can use a helping hand to reach their goals. As a mission coach, he connects Goodwill’s employees and students to a number of resources, like Goodwill New Beginnings, a reentry program for individuals previously involved in the criminal justice system, and The Excel Center – the first step in his own Goodwill journey.
“I really appreciate the chances Goodwill gave me,” said Ben. “They were willing to take a risk on me knowing that risks don’t always pay off. There are many companies that won’t do that, so when I’m working with our employees and students, I share my own journey to give them hope about what they can achieve at Goodwill.”
J’Shon Zeigler enrolled at Indianapolis Met High School, Goodwill’s high school for traditional-age students, his sophomore year.
Indianapolis Met High School, Goodwill’s traditional school for students in grades 9-12, recently celebrated Latin cultures by hosting an engaging and educational student assembly in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is a best-fit school designed to support students experiencing barriers to education, such as homelessness, pregnancy or parenting, involvement in the criminal justice or foster care systems, or are identified for special education.
Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 - October 15! In accordance with this celebration, Goodwill recognizes current staff across our organization with Hispanic heritage. Marina Plata has served as a Life Coach at (Meadows) for nine months. Marina has an extensive background in Spanish and International Studies and celebrates this month each year as an opportunity to display how the Hispanic culture has and continues to impact the United States. Marina’s students describe her as knowledgeable, empathetic and a great listener. Read on to learn more about Marina and her heritage!