Goodwill Faces: Donald, Brycen, Shawnteal & Farida

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
November 17, 2016

Recently, we started an ongoing social media series called “Goodwill Faces” that highlights our students, staff, and volunteers involved with Seattle Goodwill. You can tune into our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

Here are our first four #GoodwillFaces: 

#GoodwillFaces - Donald

Donald first began pursuing his GED in 1976 when he was 25 years old. He didn’t finish, but in 2005 he renewed his mission, and 11 years later, with the help of Goodwill Job Training & Education instructors, he earned his High School 21 Plus diploma June 23, 2016, during Renton Technical College's graduation ceremony.

“Everything that I’ve sought to acquire in life—everything—if things didn’t work out, I’d quit. Job, if it didn’t work out, I was out of there. I’d quit. Married, marriage didn’t work out and things became complicated, I’d quit. I was just known in my own eyes as a quitter. I decided at this point that I wanted to get this GED. I don’t care how long it takes. So I started once again in 2005. Here it is 2016. Until the High School 21 program came along, I would have been doing this until I was 76 years old. I just got tired of viewing myself as a quitter, so I decided I wanted to stick with it.”
- Donald


#GoodwillFaces - Brycen

Brycen moved to Washington from California when he was a sophomore in high school largely to remove himself from a troubling home situation. He joined Seattle Goodwill’s Youth Aerospace Program as a senior at Snohomish High School and is enrolled at Everett Community College where he’s working toward a career in machine manufacturing.

“My dad was a drug addict, and my birth mom was a drug addict. As you can just imagine, there was a few complications with all of that. (Moving) wasn’t to get away from them, but rather it was to get a new start in life, because from day one it’s been like all-the-odds-against-us kind of thing. With it being an unhealthy atmosphere in California, people weren’t always the nicest, especially myself. I know how I was. Like I said, I’m a man of faith, and I really believe it was God that brought us up here, because of all the random places to pick. To come to Washington and have it working out and stuff and to find Goodwill, it’s like that’s got to be from someone who knows what he is doing... I wouldn’t be where I am now without Goodwill. I wouldn’t be in college. Just the financial steps you have to take just to get into college, I didn’t understand any of them. My mom, single parent, didn’t have any money. She wasn’t very familiar with the next step after high school either. It’s been a really interesting ride.”
- Brycen


#GoodwillFaces - ShawntealShawnteal came to Goodwill at 21 years old without a job, a high school diploma or a sense of direction in her life. She joined Seattle Goodwill’s Green Corps program, earned her High School 21 Plus diploma during an internship at Goodwill and now three years later she mentors Goodwill’s youth program participants working full time as a Youth Program Assistant. 

“When I was young I was a terrible kid. My first time going to juvenile was 10. By the time I was 13, I spent my 13th birthday in juvenile and did two-and-half years in Echo Glen. I got out not caring about myself, not caring whether I lived or died the next day or whatever. I was doing what I wanted to do, whatever I wanted to do. My dad was really abusive, so my mom would try to be more like a friend than a parent. She figured that we already went through enough with my dad, so she was like ‘I don’t really want to put you through too much.’ She was trying to be more like a friend. She wasn’t a bad parent. She just wasn’t strict, so I had a lot of freedom for whatever I wanted to do. So I ended up making bad decisions, hanging with the bad people. From the time I was 21 I was looking like I didn’t have anything. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t have a diploma. I didn’t have anything and then I came here. … Somebody saved me. Somebody came and said, “Listen Shawne, you need to snap out of whatever it is your going through and get this together because you have these opportunities. You’re smart. You’re a leader.’ Somebody came to me and saved me and helped me out, so I feel like I’m obligated to help others and to pay it forward.” - Shawnteal


#GoodwillFaces - Farida

A year ago Farida immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in order to live with her husband of five years. Farida immediately went to Goodwill, completed Job Training and Education classes and now works as a cashier at Seattle Goodwill’s Dearborn location.

“I came to the U.S. one year ago. When I came here, the next day I went to Goodwill and I took ESOL Class Level 2. I completed the course successfully. I applied for many jobs, and I got four offers at the same time. But all the time I liked Goodwill, so I chose Goodwill. I worked in a school (in Bangladesh). After five years of teaching, I got a principal position. This is my goal. I love teaching. In my country I completed a Master’s degree, and I hope when I get the chance, I can start education (here).” - Farida




Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.

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