Mentor Honored for Her Work with Youth

Goodwill Industries International Names Susan Mullen its 2016 Volunteer Leader of the Year
Peoria, IL — Susan Mullen has spent much of the past 20 years working with youth — ranging from serving as a sixth grade teacher to a youth and family worker for a nonprofit — and she has brought that experience to the Goodwill® GoodGuides® program as a volunteer mentor. Goodwill Industries International recently named her its 2016 Volunteer Leader of the Year.
Goodwill GoodGuides is a national mentoring program for youth between the ages of 12 and 17. The program requires that each volunteer mentor spend one hour per week mentoring a student, to help them with career navigation skills while supporting school completion, preparation for post-secondary education and productive work. Mullen has gone far beyond the minimum requirement, mentoring 11 students over the past three years and spending more than 500 hours with her mentees in 2014 and 2015.
“Volunteering for Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois has meant that I have a special opportunity to give assistance to kids who need a little extra support or who need help with problems with family, school performance, anger, relationships and emotions. They need someone they trust to talk with or ask questions,” said Mullen. “I get to treat each student as an individual, help them express themselves, and encourage them to ask whatever questions they have for me.”
In 2013, when one of her mentees was expelled from middle school, Mullen helped the student find the resources to get enrolled in an alternative school. She even drove the student back and forth from the GoodGuides office for tutoring so the student wouldn’t fall behind in school, then worked with the mentee on anger management skills to prevent any further education disruptions.
“As a former teacher, I know how powerful it can be for students to have a constant, caring adult presence in their lives, and Sue provides that for youth,” said Patty Fuchs, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois. “Though Sue would never expect to be given recognition for her efforts, I think it’s important to showcase her abilities and dedication as an example for others to follow.”
“Sue helps young people in her community build brighter futures,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Caring mentors are important people in the lives of young people and we’re proud to honor Sue for her commitment to youth.”
The Volunteer Leader of the Year Award is given to a local Goodwill Industries® volunteer in recognition of outstanding leadership and service to a member Goodwill organization.
Goodwill Industries International is a network of 164 autonomous community-based member organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. Goodwill is one of America’s 20 most inspiring companies (Forbes, 2014). Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that help fund skills development, job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,000 stores and online at®. Goodwill also keeps textiles and other goods out of landfills. Local Goodwill organizations also build revenue and create jobs by contracting with businesses and the government to provide a wide range of commercial services, including packaging and assembly, food services preparation, and document imaging and shredding. Last year, more than 426,000 people in the United States and Canada used Goodwill’s intensive one-on-one career services to prepare for employment. In addition, more than 24 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills. To learn more, visit
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