When Athiana Lerma came to Goodwill in 2014 she needed someone to help her find some traction and a plan for the future. She started with GoodFutures as a high school dropout with limited options. She lacked confidence in herself and felt the system owed her. The Goodwill staff, helped Athiana begin looking at her situation differently. She just needed a little guidance and perspective. “Eric, Cassie, and Jason were just so fun and open and I felt like I didn’t need to hide anything from them, and I could be honest about what I needed and what I was struggling with here which helped them to help me to succeed.”
By working with GoodFutures, Athiana started to understand that getting the things she wanted in life was going to take hard work and persistence. She started to learn to set goals and budget her expenses so she could plan down the road. With a growing confidence and work ethic, Athiana went back to school and was able to attain her high school diploma and she did not stop there. Athiana continued her education and became certified as a caregiver. She is still working fulltime as a caregiver and is now in a position to give back and help others in a community that once helped her.
“Things have always been pretty bad at home, up until I joined GoodFutures. GoodFutures actually gave me the independence to live on my own and get myself out of that situation and I’ve been living on my own ever since.” Athiana now has a place to call home, a steady fulltime job, a few cuddly cats and a solid relationship. She has stable income, a stable home life and she is happy. Her future is looking good.
It is always rewarding to see a young person turn their life around and even more so when they devote themselves to helping others in the community. When asked, Cassie Valenzuela GoodFutures Mentor and Service Learning Coordinator said “We are incredibly proud of her. She continues to be in contact with us, she works and lives on her own, owns several cats, and has been in a long-term relationship. So I would say she has been very successful!”
Athiana is just one of the many thousands of youth in Southern Arizona that have received services from Goodwill’s six local youth programs. Learn more about Goodwill’s impact on the community at GoodwillSouthernAZ.org/50years.
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