I originally came to the Sarasota YMCA’s Schoolhouse Link when I was attending Sarasota Military Academy. I was having a rough time. I didn’t live with my parents, I was “couch-surfing” and I didn’t have a home of my own or a parent providing for me. I would just go from house to house of friends I lived with, sleeping on their couches.
My school found out about my situation, and they worked with the YMCA, who founded Schoolhouse Link. They helped me with food stamps, so I can actually give and not just take from my friends, school supplies, clothing; they helped me get tickets for prom. They also helped me get a job at Goodwill Manasota (Sarasota, FL).
The partnership began with Schoolhouse Link paying for an internship/trial period so I could get experience. I was offered a full-time job – I had a few job opportunities through Goodwill so I could get experience in different fields.
I was asked to help with the computer refurbishment department when it was launched. I have always enjoyed learning how things worked, and I have always enjoyed learning. Instead of having to pay to have someone fix something, I want to figure out how to do it myself.
I began helping with the Tech Connection center and it was a great opportunity. I was asked to go on the radio show for Goodwill and Steve Paley, the president of a local security firm, was there the same day. He heard my story and offered me a job at his company.
I was sad to leave Goodwill but excited to see what my future would look like. The company is great, the leadership and management really care about you and what you are interested in, and how you can improve, and this wouldn’t have been possible without Goodwill and Schoolhouse Link. They have changed my life for the better.