Martha Bess has always had a love of learning, but personal barriers prevented her from finishing high school as a teenager. She married at 14 years old and started her own family, which grew to include six children. Over 20 years later, she began working with her church’s homeschool co-op, where her children attended, and soon discovered her own love of teaching. To advance her career and to continue to set a good example for her children, she knew she would need a high school diploma.
As a sophomore at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Leonard Lofton was a successful student with plans to be a history teacher.
Rachel Hendrickson knew the direction she wanted to take her life, but she needed help crafting a plan. After six years employed as a retail associate at Goodwill, she began working with a career and life coach at Goodwill — also known as a Guide. Together, they charted a path to accomplishing her goals of getting a driver’s license, owning a car and being promoted to Team Leader.
Seven years ago, Karen Narvaez arrived in the United States from Nicaragua with little knowledge of the English language, but with a strong thirst for knowledge and a drive to succeed. After seeking out basic English courses, she was referred to The Excel Center by a friend in 2015. Unsure at the time of her ultimate career and education goals, Karen enrolled at The Excel Center part-time, with the idea that earning her diploma would help improve her fluency in English. However, Karen’s motivation soon began to change. Despite a transportation barrier, she set — and accomplished — her goal of attending school every day, and even completed her courses at the top of her class in Anderson.
Since she was young, Lindsey Lemen wanted to pursue her college education. Unable to attend college after graduating from high school, she put her dream on hold. Lindsey faced barriers after graduating that made it hard for her to maintain full-time employment. These barriers were removed after she started working at the Goodwill store in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Meet Alexis Hornung & Andrew Weston
Alexis Hornung and Andrew Weston work together at their local Goodwill store in Corydon. They each turned 18 years old and graduated from high schools in Harrison County this past spring. Alexis, who graduated from Lanesville Senior High School with academic honors, always enjoyed being around kids and tutoring her classmates. Her passion for teaching was solidified at a young age by her stepmother, who taught special education.
Meet Sarina Kenney
Meet Caroline Costa
Dreams and goals are great, but when you can’t afford the steps to get there, they can seem unattainable. Caroline Costa was feeling that way about her own future when she moved back in with her mom in 2016. Pregnant, unemployed and financially unstable, Caroline had left an unhealthy relationship and made the difficult decision to place her son up for adoption.
“I felt I wasn’t in a good position to financially give my son everything he needed.” Caroline said, while speaking about that difficult decision.