Bradley Sims believes that working for Goodwill is much more than a job — he considers it a family.
“The sober community here is unbelievable. I don’t think I would have made it without them. They had faith in me when no one else did,” Bradley said.
From a young age, Bradley faced a great deal of adversity while growing up with his grandparents in Brown County, Indiana. Both parents struggled with addiction, and his father also struggled daily to maintain his mental health. Watching his father struggle had a direct impact on Bradley’s own mental health.
“My father was suicidal, and it directly impacted me. I was never happy,” Bradley said.
Around age 15, Bradley was introduced to drugs. Shortly after, he discovered that his younger brother had taken his own life, sending him deeper into his battle with addiction. After finishing high school, Bradley and his girlfriend were incarcerated for crimes related to their addiction.
“Watching my girlfriend be taken away by the police was a turning point in me deciding to get sober,” Bradley said.
In addition, his mother passed away while he was incarcerated, leaving him a personal letter which would later help him enter rehab. He enrolled at The Amethyst House, a Bloomington based addiction treatment center. Here he was offered an employment opportunity through Goodwill.
In March 2021, Bradley started his new job at Goodwill’s Commercial Services in Bloomington. With the support of his peers and leadership, Bradley was promoted to the Line Lead position.
“Every aspect of my life has changed since joining Goodwill. I wake up happy, and I want to go to work,” Bradley said.
After joining Goodwill Commercial Services, Bradley obtained his driver’s license, purchased a vehicle and secured housing for his family. He continues to advance himself by mentoring coworkers and attending internal training to broaden his skill sets. He strives to overcome the adversity he faces each day.
“For me, the feeling of loving yourself and knowing that you mean something — that feeling of accomplishment is ten times better than drugs,” Bradley said.
Are you or someone you know looking for a career? Visit goodwillindy.org/careers to apply.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a period to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities. Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is proud to be an employer to nearly 1,600 persons with disabilities which equates to one-third of our workforce. Many of our employees with disabilities are empowered through accommodations and understanding to increase their independence and reach their full potential.
From a young age, Kane Sparks has been passionate about working with and helping others. In high school, for instance, he volunteered at a campus snack bar and excelled in his role. After graduating, he was excited to enter the workforce and felt confident in his job prospects.
Thanks to your support, lives are being changed in your community. In addition to significant growth in our Retail, eCommerce and Commercial Services divisions over the past year, we currently employ nearly 5,000 Hoosiers – 61% of whom have barriers to employment, like a disability, criminal history or lack of a high school diploma.
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.
When Teresa Smith joined Goodwill Commercial Services in 2009, she was re-entering society and the workforce after a period of incarceration and a decade-long addiction to methamphetamine, which led to her losing custody of her son. Her history with the criminal justice system made it difficult to secure a job, but she approached the opportunity at Goodwill with a focus on improving her professional skills and rebuilding her life.
Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana partnered with local organizations across Indianapolis to host two drive-thru turkey giveaway events on the near and far east side of the city this past November.
After 14 years of missionary work overseas, Tim Hudson returned to his hometown of Indianapolis to take care of his parents and provide them with the daily and nightly care they needed. When they passed in 2019, Tim had trouble finding another occupation that could help with expenses. He regularly applied to job opportunities, but his lack of recent work history and age were constant barriers to achieving employment with a life-sustaining wage.
For more than 35 years, Goodwill Commercial Services has provided high-quality janitorial services to central Indiana businesses and buildings. Through our AbilityOne program, Goodwill employs over 125 Hoosiers who are blind or have other significant disabilities.
It’s been two years since Pete Yonkman, CEO of Cook Medical, a medical device manufacturing company based in Bloomington, Indiana, approached Goodwill’s leadership about partnering on a unique project. Those conversations came on the heels of the murder of George Floyd and pandemic-related racial disparities and included questions about social justice and the role we play as employers in helping to strengthen our communities.