In 2012, Carlton Foster enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, to earn his diploma and expand his career possibilities. He would go on to be the first graduate of The Excel Center’s Anderson, Indiana, location while also earning multiple industry-recognized job certifications.
Lizbeth Cruz Gonzalez, 36, has constantly been striving for the best opportunities in her life, even at a young age. Originally from Mexico, Lizbeth wanted to pursue her education, but it came with challenges.
At the age of 13, Katie Reigelsperger learned she was expecting a child. Lacking a support system as her parents struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism, Katie's parents withdrew her from school. While her friends were applying to college and attending prom, Katie was caring for her baby, changing diapers and working a series of low-paying jobs that lacked advancement and had little financial security or benefits. Then she learned about The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s tuition-free high school for adults, and her career path and life were forever changed.
Saja Abbas arrived in the U.S. in 2009 as a refugee. Born in Iraq, her family was forced to flee their home in 2006 to escape war. As a result, Saja missed out on attending middle school and high school.
Dakota McLaughlin experienced significant challenges growing up. His mother passed away when he was young, and he was also bullied at school, especially when he came out as gay, which often left him feeling alone. After experiencing domestic violence from a family member, Dakota felt safer leaving home, even though he had nowhere else to go.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana proudly presents its 2023 Educators of the Year!
Sarah Schwartz graduated from Indiana University Southeast in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in education and a concentration in math. There weren’t many positions available for math teachers near her home in southern Indiana, so she continued to work part-time in the IU Southeast math lab. She also got a second job at a Goodwill retail store to earn extra income.
Each year, Goodwill celebrates some of the most extraordinary Hoosiers we serve through a ceremony that honors recipients across seven award categories. Eligible nominees include employees, students, program participants and community partners. When you donate and shop at Goodwill, you're empowering people in your community, like those whose stories you can watch below, so thank you for your support. Together we're changing lives!
For many, Earth Day is an annual reminder to invest in our planet. April 22 serves as a call to action to reflect on how we individually and collectively impact our environment and to focus on actions we might take to help strengthen our local communities and global climate.
In May 2022, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana and Cook Medical officially opened our new manufacturing facility built in partnership with the northeast Indianapolis community. The goal was to bring opportunities in education, health and employment to a community that experiences high poverty, high unemployment and limited opportunities due to corporate desertion in the preceding decades.