Jobs Change Lives.
"I took College 101 so I could get my associate’s degree in personal fitness training and start my career. Once you get your career, you never go to work another day in your life." Read James' story below.
The day after James got out of prison, he visited Goodwill to enroll in a career pathways program.
James wanted more than a job. He wanted a career. His cousin J.C., a retail instructor at Seattle Goodwill, told James about the free classes and programs offered at Goodwill. J.C. encouraged James to visit Goodwill and sign up for classes.
“When I was in prison, I started working out and lost a bunch of weight. Guys would say, ‘Hey, JJ, How did you do that?’ So I began training guys. They’d say, ‘Hey, man, You should be a personal trainer.’ I thought: ‘I like this. Maybe I could make a living doing this.’ Part of my problem was I had never found a career. I did things like selling drugs, which cost me. I made the choice to give away my freedom.”
“I got into College 101 and was introduced to my college navigator, who was amazing. Through the program I got things like a monthly ORCA card so I could commute to class. Goodwill paid for my first quarter because my financial aid paperwork didn’t come through in time. For the first two quarters, if you got a high enough GPA, Goodwill gave you additional financial support.”
“Goodwill donors also offer financial scholarships to students in the College 101 program. I received a $1,000 scholarship from the H. Martin Smith, Jr. family through Goodwill.”
Goodwill helped James overcome some of the biggest barriers to enrollment, including his own discouragement. James thought, “Man, this is overwhelming.” But with the support of the staff at Goodwill, he made it. “I didn’t know that it took so much just to get registered for school … Goodwill held my hand through all that.”
James knows the power of an education. Now that James is doing what he loves, he believes that his future career will change many lives.
“For me, being a fitness trainer I know I’ll be able to help a lot of people. I hope to have my own business by the end of this. I’m excited to see where the future leads.”
James is one example of why we do what we do at Goodwill:
“I had never found a career in all those years before prison; I think that was part of the problem. I did things like selling drugs, which cost me. I made the choice to give away my freedom. But now I’ve found something that I love and that I want to make my career. A career is something that we choose. We find something that we love doing, make a decent living at it, and then we never have to go to work another day in our lives.” – James
Goodwill offers Community College 101 to support students like James through the enrollment process into a community or technical college program. Our college navigators and case workers, like Cammie Carl, provide ongoing support throughout each student’s college experience.
I’m excited to share James’ story with you in this quarter’s newsletter. James is an exceptional example of the power of education. We hope his drive, discipline, and humility inspire you and reinvigorate your passion for those we serve.
Daryl J. Campbell, President & CEO
“I have a criminal background, and I pursued education. That was my route out of the rut I was in. That’s why College 101 is important.”
Cammie Carl is a case manager for Seattle Goodwill College 101 students like James. According to Cammie: “College 101 is a short-term program. It’s five weeks, three days a week, for 90 minutes each day. It’s meant to prepare students who want to pursue short term, two-year degrees. During the program each student has access to both a college navigator and a case manager like myself.”
A student’s college navigator teaches the class and helps students navigate the college enrollment process. The class covers career exploration. College navigators take students on field trips to local community and technical colleges, help students apply for financial aid and other funding sources, and also cover how to survive and thrive during college.
Case managers like Cammie, help students navigate everyday life outside of school. From housing to signing up for medical and vision insurance, to mental health referrals, a case manager’s job is to help students overcome the barriers that get in the way of success. For James, that meant setting him up with an ORCA card so he could get to class. Then getting him a referral for vision insurance so he could get glasses. For another student it might be helping them find housing.
Cammie does what she does to help others who have stories like hers. “I use my story all the time. When I teach at the jail, that’s my opening. I have a background. I share my story. And they realize, ‘Oh, I can do it.’”
“I grew up in a single-parent household. In my teenage years, I started rebelling and ended up in the juvenile system and in foster care. Then I ended up in prison. I think I was almost 21. During that time, I found out I was pregnant. I thought, ‘This is just not the life that I wanted to live.’”
After her sentence, Cammie was motivated to restart her life. After receiving her GED, Cammie went on to earn her AA, then her BA, then her MA in Social Work—all as a single mother of four.
“I think education is key to building yourself up. It leads to better jobs, which empower people. If you can become more self-sufficient or economically stable then you have more opportunities. That’s why I think College 101 is important.”
One look at Sheree Wen’s resume and you’ll know she is smart, kind, successful, and educated. Wen, a Goodwill donor, is not only a scientist and engineer with a PhD from UC Berkeley, she’s also the President and CEO of Wen Group and the Chair of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in Seattle. She serves as United States National Commissioner to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Culture Organizations (UNESCO). She has devoted herself to bettering lives globally through UNESCO and IEEE. Sheree serves the local community through cultural and charitable organizations.
It shouldn’t surprise you that Sheree firmly believes that jobs change lives.
“It’s impossible for somebody not to have a talent. If they know what they are good at or what they wish to achieve in their own life, they should come to Goodwill. At Goodwill, they will find a team of experts to help them discover the possibilities and lead them on a productive journey. That’s what is truly valuable about Goodwill’s program.”
“You can lead someone to water but you can’t force them to drink. When you show them the possibilities, they will automatically think, ‘I can do this too, because you’re here.’”
Goodwill is about showing people the shining light of life, helping them transform themselves, stepping towards a beautiful dream, and reaching for real joy of life. That’s why Sheree Wen loves Goodwill.
J.C. Maxie, James’ cousin whom you met at the beginning of this quarter’s issue, works as a retail instructor at Goodwill.
J.C. referred James to Goodwill when James got out of prison. J.C. believes, “Goodwill staff exists to build confidence in our students. We want them to know we’re for them, not against them. We’re not going to judge them. We’re here to build them up. We know students have to manage life outside of work and school, so we integrate soft skills into each program. A lot of students have never been taught these skills.”
J.C. teaches students that preparing for work or class begins at home. He knows this is difficult because many of the students don’t have homes. J.C. assures students that no matter where they live, if they have a home or not, wherever their foundation is, getting ready can start there.
The class covers skills like preparing for the work week. “A lot of students are used to hanging out and don’t have internal discipline. We cover things like getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast (if they have the ability), how to eat healthily, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
The soft skills are extremely practical. J.C. covers questions like: “Does your child go to daycare? If so, do you know when it opens and closes and do you have a plan for when your child gets sick?”
Soft skills also cover harmful versus healthy coping mechanisms. This gets students to identify harmful coping mechanisms they may default to, and to plan healthy alternatives like working out or going for a walk.
J.C. also asks the hard questions like, “Are there old friendships that may need to be reevaluated?” He covers how to find the right friends, get on a routine, and set goals. J.C. does a lot of goal setting with students, identifying both short-term goals and long-term goals.
J.C. sets himself up as a role model. He comes to work dressed professionally, conducts himself as a professional, but also let students know: “Hey, I understand you. I grew up right up the street from you. I probably know your grandmother, and I understand the things that you’re going through, but there’s other ways we can deal with it.”
Friday, November 6, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.
Elliot Hall at Bell Harbor
The Glitter Gala is Seattle Goodwill’s only fundraising dinner. All proceeds support Seattle Goodwill’s job training and education programs. Our focus for this year is Goodwill’s Youth Programs, which are centered on college and work readiness for youths aged 15 – 24. For more information visit: seattlegoodwill.org/glittergala