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.
Rocky Nolen is a Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana employee who currently works as part of the janitorial team at the Army Reserves on 96th street in Indianapolis. As a member of the Indiana Army Reserves from 1978-1986, this role is perfect for him. Rocky has overcome several obstacles since the start of his journey with Goodwill, including drug addiction, experiencing homelessness and hospitalization due to a coma. Today though, Rocky is able to support a healthy, beautiful family thanks to his drive to overcome life’s challenges and a training program he learned about in 2005.
June 19, or “Juneteenth” as it’s commonly known, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved Black residents in Texas learned from Union soldiers that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years before.
Bobetta Wright was one of Indiana’s 7% of teenage girls to get pregnant while she was in high school. Due to circumstances surrounding her pregnancy, Bobetta was told to leave her high school and never returned to finish. Without a high school diploma, Bobetta and her husband were unable to find employment, leaving them unable to secure stable housing. Her family bounced around from place to place for several years, even having to spend one winter out in a tent.
Madison Stevenson, 20, has big goals that include earning a PhD and pursuing a career in engineering. Yet, there was a point in time that Madison believed she might not earn a high school diploma.
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.
When Teresa Smith joined Goodwill Commercial Services in 2009, she was re-entering society and the workforce after a period of incarceration. 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.
When most people think of sustainability, they think of recycling trash, using reusable shopping and produce bags or using recyclable materials in their homes. But, buying secondhand and vintage clothing, shoes and other items is also a great way to practice sustainability and reduce the strain on our natural resources.