Square, who had been to prison and resorted to using drugs and alcohol to cope with the tragic loss of two daughters, was homeless living in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle when she made a commitment to herself.
“I promised myself I was going to do something with my life,” Square said.
She wanted to change and get an education, but Square, who is in her early 60s, wasn’t sure where to turn without a high school diploma and a third-grade reading level. She tried attending college and was turned away after being told she wasn’t a good fit.
“I knew about Goodwill,” Square said. “I went there on Rainier and Dearborn. I told them my situation. I said, ‘I went to college, and they told me I didn’t belong there.’ (The Goodwill employee) said that shouldn’t happen to anyone, and it won’t happen here I can promise you.”
Square attended orientation the next day and began taking the classes she needed to obtain her High School 21+ diploma.
After plenty of hard work and numerous hours spent working Seattle Goodwill’s Job Training and Education staff, she earned her degree and got to walk during Renton Technical College’s graduation ceremony June 23, 2016. She now serves as a Goodwill Ambassador, championing Seattle Goodwill’s mission, and hopes to take business classes in order to develop a successful business of her own someday.
“When I went to Goodwill and took these classes, it gave me my life back,” Square said. “Now when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, I see a success. I see a human being that got their dignity and their pride back and a high school diploma.”