My story really started when I didn’t pass the 12th grade. I didn’t think school was important. I thought I could make plenty of money working, but I ended up selling drugs on the side, and I got caught and went to prison for a little while.
When I was in prison, my kids were taken from their mother. While I was incarcerated, I took parenting classes so that when I got out, I could show that I had the initiative to try to get my kids out of foster care.
After prison, I got my kids back. I also got a job at Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. I still have my kids, and I’m still working for Goodwill. Goodwill has helped me along the way by giving me steady employment so I don’t have to get back out there in the streets. It has been five years on October 20.
I was hired to work donations. I soon transferred to the outlet store. I was told there were a few forklift positions coming up and that I should try to apply. In the meantime, I was watching and paying attention to how they were unloading trucks and learning at the same time. I had driven a forklift in Mississippi, but it was a four-speed. I had to learn this one, so I got certified through Goodwill to drive a forklift.
I was thinking about getting my GED when I heard about some classes for employees, “Getting Ahead” and “Good Assets,” that would teach you to set goals and manage money, so I signed up. Later, I enrolled in Goodwill’s Excel Center, a high school for adults, and everybody has been real supportive of me. They’ve helped me when I was having problems with my math. Now that I’ve gotten on track, I have one more math class at the Excel Center, and then I can graduate.
My little girls motivate me. Completing my high school education will give my kids a better incentive to stay in school and get theirs while they can, while they’re younger. It will be real important for them to see I started something and finished it.
My next goal is to learn to manage money better. I’m learning how to use my community and my resources around me to better my life. Now that I’m finished with school, I’m trying to enroll in Habitat for Humanity so I can do the hours that are required to get approved for a house. Something that I’ve learned is I can’t try to do it all at once – take little steps at a time and take care of things step by step.
I want people to know that you can learn from your mistakes, and you can further your education no matter how old you get. To have a second chance is great because it makes you look at all the things around that you want to do better.
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