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.
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.
World Mental Health Day is a reminder to us all to intentionally pause and reflect on the importance of nurturing our emotional well-being. In our busy lives, it can be easy to overlook and even deprioritize our own needs. Over time, this lack of self care can manifest as increased irritability, fatigue, anxiety, depression or even burnout. Today, take a moment to reflect on how you can prioritize your mental health through mindfulness practices, connection to others and accessing therapy.
Indianapolis Metropolitan High School is Goodwill’s best-fit school for grades 9-12, supporting teenaged students experiencing barriers to education and ensuring graduates can either enter college or the workforce. These outcomes are met through a number of wraparound services Indy Met offers for its student population, including transportation, child care and family empowerment coaching.
As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana is reflecting on the progress we’ve made as an organization in supporting our employees through their mental health struggles, while removing the stigma surrounding mental illness. However, we also recognize that challenges remain to ensuring quality and affordable mental health care is available to all, and we’re taking steps to provide all of our employees with adequate mental health support.
When Johnny Manson joined Goodwill in October 2016 as a part-time donation attendant, he had been struggling to secure employment due to past legal issues and a lifelong history of depression.
Bea Sweet joined the Goodwill retail crew at our Columbus location in November 2021. Although she has the support of a few friends and her co-workers at Goodwill, Bea has experienced the judgment and stigma associated with coming out as a transgender person. She began living as a woman almost seven years ago, when she was 41 years old.
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.