New Horizons Through Education

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 20, 2024 3:01:18 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in The Excel Center, Education, mental health, refugee, Goodwill Education, The Excel Center West

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    After the loss of her husband, Bunmi Oloke, along with her two young sons, made the decision to leave their homeland of Nigeria and seek asylum in the United States in December 2018. Overwhelmed by grief and grappling with the weight of her new reality, Bunmi found herself confronting not only the challenges of adapting to a foreign land but also the formidable task of preserving her mental well-being.

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    Removing the Stigma of Mental Health in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 29, 2024 1:06:24 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, mental health, Mission Awareness, DEI

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    As part of our One Goodwill Strategic Plan, launched in 2022, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana developed a number of initiatives aimed at improving the mental health support provided to the people we employ, educate and serve. One of these initiatives included hiring a Mental Health Strategist, an entirely new role created to support the organization as we sought to create a culture that removes the stigma surrounding mental health. 

    Learn more about Sarah Ash, Goodwill’s Mental Health Strategist, and how she envisions making an impact in her new role.

    Tell us about your background and experience in the mental health care field.

    I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and have worked in settings such as schools, child welfare, health care, emergency services and private practice therapy. Depending on the role, my support of individuals’ mental health may have looked like barrier removal (much like Goodwill’s mission and life coaches offer to Goodwill employees and graduates), legal advocacy or traditional talk therapy. Fortunately, this sort of varied experience gave me a tremendous amount of insight into the way we approach “care” for others and how much more creative and expansive our care can be!

    Describe your current role at Goodwill.

    Currently, I serve as Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana’s Mental Health Strategist. This role was created in alignment with the Strategic Plan, which has a strategic objective dedicated to supporting the mental health of the individuals Goodwill employs, educates and serves. So far, this has looked like forming relationships across the organization to understand the unique challenges different areas face before partnering with them to develop ways to address those challenges. It has been exciting to think through the nuanced support we can implement in such a broad and diverse organization.

    What are some of the challenges employers are grappling with in terms of mental health in the workplace?

    The World Health Organization defines mental health as, “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well and contribute to their community.” Even if we can all more or less agree on what mental health is, what we each need as individuals to achieve it can be vastly different! For employers, this can be a really challenging reality to navigate because it means that each employee needs something unique. So attempting to build something that is both equitable and adaptable is very difficult, but important work. 

    How is Goodwill responding to these challenges?

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    Raising Awareness of Mental Health in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 14, 2024 9:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in ClickGoodwill, Retail, mental health, Mission Awareness

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    As we enter the month of May, Goodwill wants to take a moment to highlight the significance of Mental Health Awareness Month and why it’s important to us.

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    Empowering Families Through Goodwill Nurse-Family Partnership

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 3, 2024 9:23:27 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents, mental health, Mission Awareness, Multi-gen impact

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    “When I was first diagnosed with unspecified psychosis, I didn’t want to believe it,” Michaelae Cotton said. “Many times…those with this diagnosis are described as ‘crazy.’ I was embarrassed and felt ashamed. It wasn’t until I found safe spaces that I began to embark on a journey of victory. My nurse came into my life at the perfect time.”

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    Reflecting on 2023: A Year of Mission Growth

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jan 26, 2024 1:32:26 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Community Partners, Employment, Nurse-Family Partnership, The Excel Center, Education, Foundation, Retail, mental health, Multi-gen impact, Strategic Plan, Goodwill Education, DEI

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    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.

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    Finding Community at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jan 12, 2024 11:24:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Success Story, Goodwill Commercial Services, Criminal History, mental health, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness

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    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 to apply. 

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    From Recovery to Advocacy: "I Am Living Proof"

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jan 5, 2024 10:41:20 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Success Story, Criminal History, ClickGoodwill, Retail, mental health, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness

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    World Mental Health Day: 3 Strategies to Improve Your Mental Health

    [fa icon="calendar'] Oct 10, 2023 1:13:51 PM / by Sarah Ash, LCSW posted in mental health, Mental Health Day

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    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. 

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    Finding a Balanced Education at Indy Met

    [fa icon="calendar'] Sep 12, 2023 3:00:00 PM / by Noelle Gray posted in Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Education, mental health, Goodwill Education

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    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.

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    Five Self-Care Tips for Mental Health Awareness Month

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 26, 2023 11:45:18 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in mental health

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    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.

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