Goodwill® Helps Youth Set Education, Employment Goals

Female Goodwill staff member counsels female African-American youth.When given guidance and support, a young person can learn new skills, become a hard-working employee and succeed in life. That’s the philosophy of the Crossroads Reintegration Program at Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana (Shreveport).

The program helps youth ages 12 to 21 with their personal growth and goals, assuring a smooth transition from secured placement facilities back into their homes and communities. Staff members help youth build healthy relationships, focus on the future and become productive members of society.

“Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana recognizes that reintegration can be difficult,” says Jennifer Miller, a youth specialist at the Goodwill. “But we have the expertise to help young people with the issues that they face.”

Youth specialists visit youth in secure placement facilities to help them set short- and long-term behavioral goals and provide them with decision-making tools that can be used immediately and upon release.

Once youth return to their homes, they are offered key services through Goodwill, including assistance with educational enrollment and completion, support with gaining and maintaining employment, and conflict resolution classes. In addition, the Goodwill offers two training classes per week that focus on job readiness and independent living skills. GED courses are available for youth who don’t wish to return to traditional schools.

Young people in the program also have priority access to other services offered by the Goodwill, including literacy courses, basic and intermediate computer classes, résumé preparation and money management classes.

“Our mission is to work hand-in-hand with a supportive team to nurture and promote balance within our youths’ lives, their families and the community,” says Miller.

The Crossroads Reintegration Program is funded by the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice.