My Story: Gradlin Davenport
I grew up in the tough and challenging Cooper Road area of Shreveport, LA. Gang influence, frequent fights and peer pressure took its toll and I was no match for the pull of the streets.
In August 2008, now dropped out of high school and hanging with the wrong crowd, in the wrong scene, I was arrested for robbery and found myself in the Swanson Center for Youth, a secured placement facility in West Monroe, LA. Then my future cracked even harder when I lost the two most influential people in my life in a fairly short – first my grandmother to diabetes, then my mom to long-term kidney failure.
While incarcerated at Swanson, the Office of Juvenile Justice referred me as a participant in Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana’s programs. It was clear that I wanted and needed help, and help was there.
Since that decision, I have moved steadily through successive ‘step-down’ programs. And at each step, Goodwill has been there. All along my journey, I was supported by different Goodwill youth specialists, several times a month, but all offering the same, consistent, encouraging guidance to help me stay on track, to cultivate the right work disciplines and life skills, and to push through the programs toward my goals.
I am now making the right choices and now better prepared. I leaned on Goodwill to help get ready for entering the work force. Assisted with filling out job applications and practicing interview skills, I applied for and landed my important job at Ralph & Kacoo’s restaurant.
I now live with my sister and her family. Recent changes in my work schedule have worked in my favor, and in October of this year, I reentered Goodwill’s literacy program, helping me continue on toward earning my GED.