Overcoming Adversity and Emerging a Leader

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 24, 2024 1:45:00 PM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, Success Story, Parents, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches

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    A Path to Financial Empowerment at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 19, 2024 10:30:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Retail, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, Financial Literacy

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    Embracing Second Chances After Incarceration

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 5, 2024 3:30:00 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Criminal History, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, DEI

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    "My life is completely different now. I have resources, mobility and a support system. I finally have meaning," said Loretta "Lori" Fairfield, a Team Lead 2 at Goodwill.

    Lori's life prior to joining Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana was marked by trauma and adversity. She experienced the loss of multiple family members, while her parents battled alcohol addiction. Later in life, Lori herself grappled with addiction, leading to her incarceration in 1997.

    After spending over 25 years in the criminal justice system, Lori reached a turning point where she was determined to transform her life. Achieving seven months of sobriety, Lori entered house arrest with the intention of reentering the workforce. However, she encountered barriers securing employment due to her previous incarceration. At the suggestion of her caseworker, Lori embraced the opportunity to work for Goodwill and joined the Goodwill retail store in Lebanon as a wares producer in November 2021.

    During her tenure at Goodwill, Lori made significant progress in her personal and professional life. She established a more structured routine with her grandson, pursued her education and actively participated in various forms of outpatient therapy. Through therapy, Lori addressed the trauma she had experienced and worked on managing her severe social anxiety.

    Lori tackled financial challenges and set goals for advancing her career with her Goodwill Mission Coach, a life and career coach. Mission Coaches are available to all Goodwill employees and students. As she gained new skills and responsibilities, Lori was promoted to the role of Team Lead within her first year at Goodwill. Lori's peers recognized her progress, success and dedication to her role, resulting in another promotion to Team Lead 2 within a few months.

    "I love my job, the people and the diversity,” said Lori. “I enjoy helping people."

    Since joining Goodwill, Lori has achieved numerous milestones with the support of her team. Drawing on her life experiences, she finds common ground with others facing adversity and aspires to guide and support her peers as a strong leader.

    "I wouldn't be here without them. They stuck by me and supported me through my legal barriers, educational barriers and the dramatic things in my life. I have a career now!"

    Are you looking to start a career at Goodwill? Check out our website for current job openings!

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    From Student to Mission Coach: A Path to Growth at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jan 17, 2024 12:41:58 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Success Story, The Excel Center, Education, Retail, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, Goodwill Education

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    Goodwill Mission Coach Benjamin Hutto began his journey with Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana in 2016 when he enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults. Previously homeschooled, Ben struggled to focus, which he later learned was related to undiagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.  But The Excel Center in Kokomo empowered him to earn the credits he needed to graduate at an accelerated pace.

    Ben continued his education by earning an associate degree from Ivy Tech Community College in 2018, and his bachelor's degree from Indiana University Kokomo the following year. Then, in 2020, the pandemic happened. 

    Due to his laser focus on his education, Ben had no work history, and he experienced barriers to finding a job after graduating. His Goodwill Mission Coach encouraged him to apply for a leadership position at a local Goodwill store, which led to the next step of his Goodwill journey as a Retail Team Lead. Although Ben was later promoted, he strived to do something beyond the scope of retail. When the opportunity to become a mission coach emerged, he jumped at the chance and applied. 

    “I know it sounds cliche, but I really enjoy helping others,” said Ben. “I feel that, given my path at Goodwill, I’m uniquely qualified to help students and employees make those connections.”

    In 2022, Ben was officially welcomed as the newest Goodwill Mission Coach. He now supports people with similar experiences, who have barriers to employment or education and can use a helping hand to reach their goals. As a mission coach, he connects Goodwill’s employees and students to a number of resources, like Goodwill New Beginnings, a reentry program for individuals previously involved in the criminal justice system, and The Excel Center – the first step in his own Goodwill journey.

    “I really appreciate the chances Goodwill gave me,” said Ben. “They were willing to take a risk on me knowing that risks don’t always pay off. There are many companies that won’t do that, so when I’m working with our employees and students, I share my own journey to give them hope about what they can achieve at Goodwill.”

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    The Pride of Achievement

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 6, 2023 9:31:13 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Disability, Success Story, The Excel Center, Education, Criminal History, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, Goodwill Education, Pride Month, LGBTQ, DEI

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    Dakota McLaughlin experienced significant challenges growing up. His mother passed away when he was young, and he was also bullied at school, especially when he came out as gay, which often left him feeling alone. After experiencing domestic violence from a family member, Dakota felt safer leaving home, even though he had nowhere else to go. 

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    Announcing Goodwill's 2023 Award Honorees...

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 6, 2023 10:00:00 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, Nurse-Family Partnership, Disability, TalentSource, Success Story, The Excel Center, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Education, Goodwill Outlet, Criminal History, Parents, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, LGBTQ

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    Each year, Goodwill celebrates some of the most extraordinary Hoosiers we serve through a ceremony that honors recipients across seven award categories. Eligible nominees include employees, students, program participants and community partners. When you donate and shop at Goodwill, you're empowering people in your community, like those whose stories you can watch below, so thank you for your support. Together we're changing lives!

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    Life Goes On | Ashley's Story

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 2, 2023 9:00:00 AM / by Kari Podany posted in Employment, Retail, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches

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    In 2003, at the age of 15, Ashley Brummet was in a horrific car accident that changed her life. She broke her back and was told by doctors she would live in constant pain. As a result, she was prescribed pain medication to help her manage her symptoms. 

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    Support Every Step of the Way

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 27, 2023 4:00:00 PM / by Chris Wass posted in Employment, Success Story, Retail, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches

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    When Melissa Lebo started her career at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana in 2015, she had been out of the criminal justice system for four months. As she reentered the workforce, she was unsure of how far she could go in her career and personal life. Little did she know, Goodwill’s wraparound services and programs were ready to help her achieve her goals.

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    Couple Finds Love Connection at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 14, 2023 11:00:00 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Employment, The Excel Center, Education, Valentines Day, Retail, Mission Coaches

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    In 2018, when Richard Ramsey enrolled at The Excel Center®, Goodwill’s high school for adults, he didn’t know that he was taking the first step toward meeting his future fiance. 

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    Empowerment Through Education

    [fa icon="calendar'] Dec 30, 2022 11:00:00 AM / by Jenny Kakasuleff posted in Success Story, The Excel Center, Education, Language Barrier, refugee, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, Goodwill Education

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    Imagine being denied a basic education unless you pledge allegiance to political beliefs that you do not ascribe to. This is what Rizan Hajji Mohamed faced when he was forced to flee his home country of Syria. 

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