Octavia Martinez - Outstanding Youth

Octavia

“Goodwill helped me stay on course to achieving my goals, and showed me that I can still accomplish more.”

Octavia grew up in Austin, and she was excited to have the opportunity to move away from home to begin attending college at Texas Women’s University. Her life was working out just how she had planned until she came home to visit one weekend, and her family home caught fire and burned down. Her relatives escape the fire, but Octavia was left with painful burns that would need medical treatment.

Between juggling her hospitalization, her ongoing medical care and expenses, her education, and her now displaced family, Octavia had no other option but to leave school. Unsure where to turn next, and still in the midst of her recovery, one of Octavia’s friends referred her to Goodwill. She credits her Career Case Manager and the Career Advancement Team with helping to get her life back on track, “My Case Manager reviewed my transcript and spoke with my [college] advisor…I got support, I was shown how to do things.”

Octavia’s skills and determination made her the perfect candidate to receive a paid internship with the Goodwill Human Resources Department. While there, she attended the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy where she received her certification in phlebotomy. And in May, she completed a Bachelor’s Degree and got a job with the State of Texas, through the Goodwill Staffing Group.

Octavia says, “I’m a motivated person…anything worth having, is worth working hard for.” This motivation helped her to overcome her injuries, complete career-skills training, and finish her Bachelor’s Degree.

Today, she helps individuals with HIV get access to the help and resources they need to live healthy, productive lives. And soon, Octavia will take the GRE exam and attend graduate school. She enjoys helping others, and wants to give them a ‘hand up, not a handout’ just like Goodwill. “My goal is to help people who have been through what I’ve been through.”