My Story: Mike Neuzerling

Mike, a young man with Down syndrome, knows first-hand the importance of having a job, and the sense of pride and responsibility it creates, especially when your family is depending on you for financial support. While living in a challenging family situation, Mike came to his local Goodwill through a Work Services program for on-the-job training and classroom instruction while being encouraged to strengthen his social and teamwork skills in a supportive environment.
Struggling to find himself following a house fire, Mike’s responsibilities to his family had grown beyond his capabilities, resulting in work absences and personal health issues. Through candid conversations with his support team, Mike made the life-changing decision to gain his independence by living outside of the family home.
Through the encouragement of local Goodwill staff, he joined the Community Opportunities Club, a social group that provides recreational and community outings for adults who have been impacted by a physical disability or brain injury.
Faced with yet another obstacle after moving out, Mike lost his main source of inspiration and support: his mother. Despite the emotional toll, he found the inner-strength to push through and begin his own personal transformation: to redefine himself as the determined, self-sufficient man his mother always wanted him to be.
Nowadays, you can find Mike working for Goodwill’s E-cycle program, and continuing his journey. We could all learn something from Mike’s fearless approach to life’s obstacles.

Watch Mike’s inspiring story which focuses on overcoming challenges, gaining employment, having new relationships, becoming successful and in Mike’s words, “slaying dragons.” 

NOTE: As originally posted on Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago.