What if a shirt you no longer wear could help a single mother who dropped out of high school get her diploma? Or what if that lamp that’s collecting dust in the garage could help someone with a developmental disability gain meaningful employment? That’s exactly what happens when you donate items to Goodwill Acadiana—the money generated from selling items in the retail store goes back into the community.
Goodwill Acadiana seeks to fulfill the dreams of people who have been hindered from accomplishing educational and vocational goals. They recognize that the best way to achieve this is to focus on the individuals living in the communities they serve. To accomplish this, Goodwill offers employment services and adult education classes at no charge, safe housing at an affordable price, and a supported employment & prevocational habilitation program for those with disabilities and other barriers.
The Supported Employment program assists individuals with developmental disabilities in finding competitive employment. These individuals are employed in the community in an integrated setting and receive on-the-job training and support from Goodwill employment job coaches. The overall goal is to provide hope and stability to those who would otherwise have difficulties holding jobs.
Goodwill Acadiana’s HiSET program offers free instruction to individuals seeking a high school equivalency diploma. These are adults who never finished high school for a variety of reasons. Our instructors work hands-on with each person at their own pace to help them master the subjects on the exam and offer continuous professional support after they graduate from the program.
In the Prevocational Habilitation program, individuals with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities can acquire job skills and vocational experience in a supportive work environment. Having meaningful employment gives these individuals a sense of dignity and pride in their work. Additionally, participants acquire new skills for future advancement opportunities.
Goodwill also partners with Employment Developmental Services, a non-profit agency that’s in the business of putting people to work through the State Use Program. Through this partnership, they hire individuals in the community with barriers to employment including developmental disabilities, education level, medical disabilities, former incarceration, homelessness, etc.
Goodwill Acadiana desires to be a place where people can turn when they need help overcoming obstacles toward improving their quality of life. Offering hope without costing dollars or dignity to those in need is something everyone associated with Goodwill Acadiana’s programs takes great pride in. For proof, just take a look at the hearts behind the service:
Nadia Ford, Director of Vocational Services
Nadia has been gratefully employed with Goodwill for 8 years, with 17 years of social service experience working with all populations including the elderly, children, teens, formerly incarcerated youth/adults, and developmentally disabled children/adults. Her passion is to encourage people to believe in themselves and assist them in reaching their highest potential.
Megan Briscoe, Supported Employment Job Coach
Megan has served in her role with Goodwill for 8 years. Working within the Supported Employment Program, she works specifically with the Prevocational Habilitation program, where she has the opportunity to train individuals on their specific job tasks and help them develop the necessary skills to maintain their employment.
Latarus “T” Gray, Job Coach
As a ten-year employee of Goodwill, T’s on a mission to ensure individuals are equipped to meet their goals on the job. As a job coach, she initially trains individuals on their job tasks and follows up with them daily. As she monitors their progress, she is responsible for providing whatever instruction, direction, or support is needed to ensure they meet their goals.
Andrea Beer, Employment Specialist
Andrea’s been committed to helping others navigate the job-hunting process for 10 years in Acadiana, focusing on job search plans, tools, and communications training. She also co-supervises the Goodwill Community Service Program, directing those with court-ordered community service who desire to get their service hours by working at one of the many Goodwill sites in Acadiana.
Janet Francois, Adult Education Instructor – HiSET Program
Janet has been with Goodwill for 8 years and says that her role as Adult Education Instructor on the Goodwill Mission Services team is very rewarding. What she enjoys most about her role is the opportunity it affords to be part of restoring hope to those who didn’t complete their high school education due to some barrier.
Lisa Miller, Adult Education Instructor—HiSET Program
After a 34-year career as a teacher in the public school system, Lisa found her new home with Goodwill of Acadiana serving as the Adult Education Instructor in Opelousas. She’s had a wonderful time assisting her students, who often come in feeling hopeless and afraid. She provides the education they need to prepare for the HiSET and says she’s blessed with the opportunity to offer critical encouragement and support to grow their self-confidence and independence.
Cicely Brailey, Adult Day Care & Supported Employment Administrator
Although only being employed with Goodwill for a little over a year, Cicely has 12 years of experience with the Department of Children and Family Services, in which she serviced children and adults who had cases within the Child Welfare Department. She is dedicated to aiding in the improvement of the quality of life for others and believes that God has blessed her to be a blessing to others.
Tiffany Turner, Administrative Assistant – Mission Services Department
Just two years into her career with Goodwill, Tiffany says it’s already difficult to narrow down why she loves her job. “We regularly get to celebrate the success of others, whether it’s individuals graduating from our HiSET program, finding housing, landing a job, or overcoming the unique obstacles of their lives. In the Crisis Assistance Program, we see a lot of people during some of their hardest times, and, through collaboration with other community programs, we have the rewarding chance to provide a helping hand to get them through. “