Reggie Lewis, like many high school students, lacked the drive and focus to do well in high school. Before he became involved with Goodwill his grades were poor and his future uncertain. Goodwill helped Reggie find his hidden talent, get involved in confidence building teams and clubs, and significantly improve his grades. He is now on track to graduate high school and attend college.
Brandy Burr was addicted to drugs and alcohol for almost 18 years and lost custody of four of her five children. Working with Goodwill, Brandy was able to find the self-confidence she lacked to beat her addictions and become self sufficient. Today, Brady has a good job, a place to live, and is able to be the kind of mother she always hoped she could be.
Aaron Samora lost his job and his confidence and then fell into depression. When his family started falling apart he got involved with Goodwill. As he learned new job and parenting skills, his confidence started to come back. He was then able to find a new job and connect with his family on a new level. Today he's a more confident man, a more engaged husband, and a better role model and parent for his four children.
Michael Kirk understands the term "don't judge a book by its cover" more than any of us can know and not only because he is the book processor at a Goodwill retail store. Michael is also blind. At Goodwill, we recognize Michael's perseverance in finding gainful and meaningful employment, despite his condition. As a writer and amateur comic, he wants everyone to remember him for his "pure charisma and charm". He is a true example of perseverance and success.
Niishia has seen her share of rough times. She overcame a challenging living condition, battled a coma-inducing illness at the age of 11 and lost her mother early in life. Once you hear her story of perseverance, you’ll quickly realize there isn’t much this talented teenager can’t overcome.
Tim Ortiz has been a hardworking Goodwill employee for over 30 years. Tim works in Goodwill's community programs division. He assembles sprinklers and works on various other projects in the Goodwill Work Activities Program that employs individuals with developmental disabilities or other conditions that prohibit them from traditional community employment. Tim has many friends at Goodwill and they all say he is a great person to work with. His smile and laughter is a constant presence at work that all of his friends look forward to seeing.
Nayeli was the first in her family from Mexico born in the United States. She has done an outstanding job of acclimating herself to American life, cultural differences and the educational process. Her dedication and determination-matched with Goodwill’s support-have created a community leadership role for Nayeli; making her one of the most active participants in our program today.
Trisha Maki is living proof that a fulfilling career and family life is within reach, regardless of a difficult history. Several years ago, she battled a methamphetamine addiction, lived away from her three daughters for a time, and was arrested for drug possession.
Benefiting from a program partnership between Adams County and Goodwill, Trisha was given a fresh start. She regained custody of her daughters after eight months of sobriety and fortitude. In addition, her job as a guest services representative at Motel 6 allowed her to secure a larger home for her family.
Don’t be surprised if you see this awardee on the next Broadway billboard. Christopher T. VanDegrift-Kram has used the art of theatre as a medium for moving past his difficult upbringing. While many teens with similar backgrounds may have experienced tremendous difficulties, Chris hasn’t skipped a beat. With an amazing energy and presence, Chris focuses only on the future and giving back to others.
Along with his mother and father, Othello escaped the war-torn Ivory Coast of Africa in 2004. He had always dreamed of making a better life in his home country. It was through his Goodwill mentor Robert Clam, an enrollment services counselor at Regis University, that Othello realized a great way to give back to his country. He made the decision to get an education and bring his knowledge back to Africa.
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