Goodwill Faces: Alison, Joe and Sam, Sherion & Ta'Vion

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
February 2, 2017
 

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

Years ago Alison was a semester away from earning a computer science degree when she had an epiphany. She hated it. The earning potential behind a degree in technology was enticing, but the passion simply wasn’t there. So Alison left college and took some online courses before randomly taking a job working with adults who had disabilities. She fell in love with it and eventually went back to college at Oregon State University, where she earned a degree in human services. Alison completed an internship, working with children for DSHS and realized her desire to work with youth. Her journey has led her to Seattle Goodwill where she serves as Youth Program Supervisor, overseeing the Green Corps and Youth Year-Round Programs.

 

“Both programs teach me more about life and, sure, we are teaching them, but they are teaching us just as much. Seeing the youth’s growth, it’s incredible. For the Youth Year-Round Program getting that graduation announcement from someone that comes in and had a 0.4 GPA and was just extremely behind but was able to fight through and graduate now is so rewarding. Then they send you the graduation announcement, and they want you there because you were a part of that. For Green Corps, it’s hearing ‘Thanks to Goodwill, I’m able to step away from my life and have a second chance.’ Words can’t really describe what it’s like. It’s not just me; it’s all of Goodwill that is behind all of this. It’s incredible.”

-Alison


 

Brothers Joe and Sam from 2011 to 2015 were living a nomadic lifestyle after being​ evicted from their home where they lived with their parents and brother. Sam and Joe decided to visit Seattle Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Center in Marysville last summer, took several courses and workshops including Keyboarding, Retail and Customer Service and Resume Essentials and both have landed jobs. Sam and Joe are thrilled to start financially helping their family and plan to begin saving for college.

“About the time I graduated from high school our family got evicted from our home. We were living out of hotels for a while. I spent most of that time in the room taking care of the dogs and cleaning up for when they’d kick us out. I really wanted to start helping out. I just couldn’t get an interview. After years of not even getting a call back, I was feeling really discouraged about applying to places, and coming here (to Goodwill) helped with getting that call back right away. I think what helped me the most was in the workshops. I took one of the ones for resume building, (and it) showed me how to make one that was decent since mine had a large hole in it. (Goodwill) helped me best by keeping me from getting in my own way about thinking I wasn’t going to get a job before I even tried.”

-Joe

“I was in school until 2015 when I graduated. It was like a year after high school for me, so I figured I’d need a job eventually, so I thought (going to Goodwill) would be a good idea to at least get my leg in the door of getting one. I just looked at the schedule and saw what interested me. (The curriculum) was very well organized, very well thought out.”

-Sam


 

Three years ago Sherion, a student at Franklin High School, was looking for something to do during summer break when she found a flier for Seattle Goodwill’s Youth Year-Round Program, which provides students age 15-to-17 the tools and support to graduate and successfully chose a path to higher education. She applied, got accepted and has developed an invaluable resource in Goodwill. Sherion experienced personal growth, developed important skill sets, has interned at Goodwill through the Seattle Youth Employment Program and regularly volunteers with the current Youth Year-Round Program participants. Now a senior, Job Training and Education staff have helped her apply to colleges while guiding her through the process.

“I had a lot of growth. When I came in I didn’t like to meet new people. I was more on the shy side, but then having everybody around and them taking your phones for the whole day, you have to interact with other people, so I appreciate Goodwill for that. When I came into the program I didn’t think I was going to be with Goodwill this long. I think it’s more like the energy and support you get when you come to Goodwill, because it’s not like you’re only getting good vibes from people in your program, but everybody here. They are always so welcoming. It makes you want to come back, and they’ve done so much, it’s never a problem to come back and help out.”

-Sherion


 

Ta’Vion lost his mom to the justice system when he was 3 and his dad when he was 8. He was in foster care for two years when he was 6 and 7 years old before reuniting with his mom at 8. He had a daughter at an early age, but tragedy struck soon after when she passed away. A pivotal point in his life came during his junior year in high school when he got into an altercation with another student, resulting in a criminal charge and a day spent in jail. A reference from a friend to Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Programs offered Ta’Vion what he was looking for—a second chance. He completed Seattle Goodwill’s Green Corps Program, began volunteering in Goodwill’s Youth Year-Round Program and was eventually hired as a Youth Assistant for Seattle Goodwill and is now the Community Liaison Intern.

 “When I was 19 I did a day in jail. It really was a time of thought. I really sat there and was like, ‘This is not me. This is not who I want to be.’ You know, having this daughter young, I was like, ‘If she was still here, I wouldn’t want her to feel regrets on me.’ I really did a 180. So once I got out I really just looked for a job, went everywhere looking for a job just to stay out of trouble and stay away from everybody I use to hang out with. People kind of treated me like a monster. I like working with the youth, because my all-time goal is to become a youth counselor. I feel like there are a lot of youth that feel like they don’t have that resource or don’t have nobody to talk to. I feel like it takes a village to raise a child, so I want to be part of that village and help shape somebody else just like someone helped shape me. I did everything I could to show the youth that even if you have a background, even if something bad happens, you can always overcome it.”

-Ta’Vion


 

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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