Finding Success in Others’ Success

It’s great to have a mission in life. It’s even better when you find a place that lives and breathes that mission. When Shanelle walked into Goodwill 13 years ago, she wasn’t sure where it would lead, but she knew she’d found a home.

“For me, it’s about helping people,” says Shanelle. “That’s where I get my passion. It’s seeing the true success of someone.  We always say that we’re more than just case managers. We’re whatever our clients need — a best friend, a mentor, a sister, or a brother.”

“In a community where most of the students have never been outside of Pontiac, there is a lot of mistrust in the parents and the kids. It takes a lot to build trust in this community,” says Shanelle.  “You know they’re scared to just step out and take a risk. It’s meeting them at their level and really connecting. We become attached because we do a lot of barrier removal before we can even get them to the program.”

Once someone is referred to Michigan Works!, they enter the pre-apprenticeship program to assess the right path for them. It can help them get their GED or some type of skilled trade. Michigan Works! provides support services such as work clothes and gas cards to assist with getting to and from work. “Many students, when they start, don’t even have blue jeans,” says Shanelle. “We take them shopping for graduation, get them a tie and teach them how to tie it, or get them work boots.”

Shanelle’s work highlights the core values of Goodwill. “It’s very personal,” she says. “You get to know the individual. We treat everyone with dignity and respect.” Shanelle is glad to do what she loves for a living, and the world is a better place because of her.