This week I celebrated my one year anniversary at my job and it kind of snuck up on me. I was talking to a mentor at one of my schools and he asked me how I got involved with Goodwill and when I started. I nonchalantly answered him and told him that I started on March 7th and then it hit me that I had started exactly one year ago that day.
It's crazy how fast time flies when you're doing something that you truly love.
When I first started at Goodwill I remember feeling such a peace in my soul about what I was doing. I remember feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I feel pretty blessed to still feel that way everyday.
Throughout this short and lightning fast year I've learned a lot about myself but more than anything I've acquired so much knowledge about the complexities of education. I've learned and seen first hand that for some students, high school can be an almost insurmountable challenge.
Before starting at Goodwill I think it's safe to say that I had lived a pretty privileged and sheltered life. I was home schooled my entire life and after that I went to a small all women's college before working for a global education program for 4 years.The majority of the people that I had worked with and had gotten a chance to know had supportive parents that pushed them to get the best education possible.
In my mind, if you didn't get a high school diploma it was because you were lazy and didn't care about your education. Man, was I way off. I've met students that are the main bread winners for their families, students that can barely make it to school on time because they're just getting off work before the first bell rings. Students with learning disabilities that have gone unnoticed and untreated their entire lives.
I thought that attendance, grades and graduation rates were black and white. I thought that people fell in either one of two categories, the motivated or the unmotivated. Those that cared and those that could care less. The truth is, that education is such a multifaceted and complex topic and the reason why some don't have proper access to it or don't have the resources that they need to succeed can be even more complex.
I truly love what I do. I love it because it not only gives me a chance to provide under served youth with the resources that they deserve but it also is continually opening my eyes to the trials and tribulations of human life.
Not everyone has the privilege of being raised in a two parent home. Not all students have the privilege of being able to come home from school and JUST focus on their homework without having to do many other tasks to help their parents. Not every student has the privilege of knowing where their next meal will come from.
Often times it's not an issue of whether someone is lazy or motivated. Often times it's so much more than that and it takes someone getting in the trenches and showing students that they truly care to find the answer and that's what Goodwill does.
Two years ago the only thing I knew about Goodwill was that it was a company that sold used clothes. I had no idea that in Denver alone it was an organization that served over 17,000 youth and those are only the numbers from the 2015-2016 school year. I had no idea that they brought in mentors from the community to work with students and to be a consistent and supportive adult figure in their life. I had no idea that they ran adult programs that help to break the cycle of poverty and gives those with mental and physical challenges opportunities to work traditional jobs.
The 'Good' in Goodwill is that we are about so much more than just clothes, we're about people and their futures and their children's future. We're about families rising out of the pit of poverty and youth not being a victim of the school to prison pipeline. We're about doing good and having that good start where it often matters most, the classroom and in the lives of people in our communities.
So keep shopping at Goodwill friends because the money that you spend in our stores goes directly to programs for youth and adults in your neighborhood. Do your part and I'll continue to do mine and together we'll keep the Good in Goodwill.