When Edward Rickenbach first joined Goodwill in 2009 as an assistant site leader, he was struggling with homelessness and severe depression — a diagnosis he had first received in college but learned would be a lifelong battle. In just 18 months, he worked hard and was promoted to site leader, where he was responsible for managing the store and all of its employees.
Audrey Land has been working for Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana for the past four years and shows incredible drive and dedication — both individually and professionally — as she follows her career goals at Goodwill.
A word you hear often around The Excel Center Ⓡ, Goodwill’s high school for adults, is grit. Recently, I met a student who truly embodies this. John Thompson exudes passion into everything he does and preserves regardless of the challenges he may be experiencing, continuously inspiring those around him. I’m honored to introduce you to John and share his story.
Ashleigh Schneck started at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s Clarksville location in December 2017. She was four months sober after 21 years of living in addiction. She had voluntarily moved into a sober living house for women the month before and was starting over in every aspect of her life.
I met Audrey McPherson a little over four years ago when she was working as a textile producer at our retail location in Castleton. Audrey had recently been released from incarceration and felt her options were limited. She did not see a future for herself and was unable to visualize a path forward.
Lily Howell began her journey with Goodwill in 2018 when she enrolled in The Excel Center® Clarksville, Goodwill’s high school for adults, and accepted a position as a part-time associate at the Goodwill retail store down the street. She also met her Guide, Chris Wass. Serving our retail employees, students and other program participants, Goodwill Guides work to identify strengths and challenges and help develop paths to success that involve setting career and financial goals.
When much of the world shut down in March due to the pandemic, a lot of people were left without jobs, or income to be able to pay their bills. For those who were unable to collect unemployment benefits, there were few options available to stay afloat. One of those people was Goodwill Guides participant Rizan Hajji.
Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never had a paying job and only 16% of persons with autism ever live independently, so when twin brothers Andre and Austin Archer connected with Goodwill Disability Services in 2016 and said they were eager to do both, our team got to work.
In 2015, Georgina Palma-Santos was pregnant with her first child at the age of 16. Her traditional high school was not designed to support students with children. Seeking other options, Georgina enrolled in an online school but felt like the lack of structure was difficult to manage while raising a newborn. When she heard about The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, she was relieved to have a school with a childcare option.