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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Delaney

Delaney wasn’t always the strong, independent woman she is today. After graduating from high school in inner-city Chicago, she was eager to start her first year of college but quickly dropped out after substance abuse problems took control of her life.

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Aleta

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Bridget

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Shantrese

Shantrese has been a part of the Goodwill family for many years but her path to employment and independence hasn’t always been so easy. Having grown up in Alabama with a learning disability and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Shantrese moved to Milwaukee only to experience family tragedy after her brother was shot and killed as a result of neighborhood violence.

Faced with tragedy at such a young age, Shantrese found herself struggling in adulthood with managing her emotions and creating meaningful relationships. Her journey with Goodwill began in Work Services, where she gained on-the-job training and classroom instruction, while being encouraged to strengthen her social and teamwork skills in a supportive environment.

With future goals in mind, Shantrese knew she wanted to be productive with a job in the community and set her sights on that next step. With the help of Goodwill’s Supported Employment Program and the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, she tried several temporary work experiences in the community but none proved to be quite the right fit. Faced with yet another emotional set back, Shantrese was overcome with grief after losing her mother and best friend. With the help and support of Goodwill’s job coaches, she took a step back to focus on her own well-being first before continuing to pursue new job opportunities. After regaining her emotional strength a few months later, Shantrese was ready for work again and Planet Fitness was the right place, at the right time for Shantrese.

As a staff member, Shantrese helps to keep Planet Fitness looking neat and tidy by following a rotating task list that changes daily; wiping down fitness equipment, vacuuming, washing mirrors and always smiling. Coworkers and gym members alike have embraced Shantrese because her friendly demeanor and strong work ethic. Proving that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, Planet Fitness awarded her with employee of the month.

After the news spread about Shantrese’s positive impact, several Planet Fitness locations throughout Milwaukee County have partnered with Goodwill to hire other Goodwill Supported Employment candidates. Shantrese’s future job goals include working on communication skills with new gym members and possibly conduct new member tours at Planet Fitness.

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Tommy

When you aren’t sure which road to take, having someone to guide you can make all the difference. Goodwill provided the pathway, but it was Tommy who had the drive and passion to succeed.

When you aren’t sure which road to take, having someone to guide you can make all the difference. Goodwill provided the pathway, but it was Tommy who had the drive and passion to succeed.

Due to a physical disability with his hand, Tommy was sometimes bullied by his peers and suffered from depression, which led him to inflict injury upon himself. With the guidance of family and a Milwaukee Public School psychologist, Tommy began to open up about his feelings and apply himself to his studies.

Tommy was in the inaugural class of Career and Technical Education students from Milwaukee Public Schools who attended classroom training in Skills for Life and Work and Goodwill’s Culinary Institute Program. This new partnership between Goodwill Workforce Development, Goodwill TalentBridge and Milwaukee Public Schools was created to bring awareness of training programs and opportunities students can access. After hearing about the options available, Tommy applied for and participated in Goodwill’s Culinary Training sessions at Goodwill’s Café 1919. While in training, Tommy gained valuable work experience, as well as his ServSafe Certification. Not only did Tommy graduate from Goodwill’s Culinary Institute Training Program, he also graduated from Vincent High School in 2016.

Tommy is currently working two part-time jobs and preparing for college in the fall. He will be majoring in psychology and is eager to learn how life experiences and circumstances shape the people we become.

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Mirabel

Faced with poverty and limited career options, Mirabel left her home in the Republic of Cameroon in West Africa, with only her faith and hope for a better life for her family. Mirabel arrived in the United States with her husband in 2016 on a visa, as a part of the U.S. Department of State Diversity Lottery. Upon arrival in the United States, finding employment was her number one priority. With communications challenges and little time to adjust to life on a new continent, Mirabel was uncertain where to turn.

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Christine

With gang violence and crime in her neighborhood, Christine knows the importance of making good choices, given the harsh realities of the world around her. Having lost a brother to a brain aneurism and with a second brother estranged from the family due to alcohol, Christine relies on the support and encouragement of her mother and father to seek out better options.

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Theresa

Before coming to Goodwill, Theresa would describe herself as financially, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. After spending 25 years in and out of jail, with a total of nine incarcerations, Theresa knew that the road to a better life was going to be long, and she wasn’t sure where to start. She didn't think anyone would give her a job or a second chance.

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Michael

When the Goodwill Workforce Connection Center needed to recruit a new employee to help job seekers find employment, they found exactly what they were looking for in Michael. A young man with a developmental disability and speech impairment, Michael was already a part of the Goodwill family, having been involved with Goodwill’s EmpowerOne program.

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Rebekah

Rebekah was not always the exuberant and confident young woman we know today. With the challenges of a developmental disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), paired with the realization that the services she received in high school wouldn’t be available to her after graduation, Rebekah was unsure of her path.

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WISCONSIN
Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

ILLINOIS
Metropolitan Chicago -
Administration
Tel: (312) 994-1440