Courage: A Reflection on GII’s 10th Annual Advocacy Day
By Devin Crase, GCT Multimedia Producer
Being courageous means something different to everyone. For some, it means asking your boss for a raise, moving to a different state, or starting a new business. For others, courage can mean continuously applying to jobs knowing that you’ll be rejected, repeatedly, due to your criminal background. Courage can be found in re-entering the civilian workforce after multiple combat tours. While all of these are excellent examples, I see a great deal of courage in sharing your own personal story to help others broaden their perspectives, connect in a meaningful way, and exact legislative support.
This April, I was able to spend time with some of the most courageous people I have ever met. Everyone has a story, but some stories have the power to inspire change. This is what I learned during my time in Washington D.C. at the 10th Annual Goodwill Advocacy Day.
On April 6th, over 125 Goodwill advocates - including CEOs, board members, staff, and program participants - gathered and marched on Capitol Hill. All together, we held over 600 meetings with legislators over the span of eight hours. We split up into groups and set out with one goal in mind, to spread the purpose and power of Goodwill.
Accompanying me were two individuals with extraordinary journeys, GG and Syretta. Over the course of the day, I found myself deeply moved and inspired by their stories. These two brave women were able to ascend from difficult life circumstances and share their stories in hopes of building allies on Capitol Hill.
As a military spouse, GG shared that the stress of multiple deployments and living with her husband, who was struggling with PTSD, became too much for her to handle; she succumbed to alcohol and drug addiction which resulted in choices that cost her everything – including her freedom. After serving three years in prison, GG was released with no direction or assistance. While in a transitional home, someone told her to go to Goodwill and everything changed for the better. She regained custody of her children and has been steadily rebuilding her marriage. She now works as an Administrative Assistant at the Goodwill Community Center and prides herself on greeting others who are on their own journey to restoration and independence.
Syretta is a U.S. Army Veteran who did two tours in Iraq as a combat medic. After returning home she found herself without a job and eventually without a home. Syretta was living out of her car, until one day she found out about Goodwill. She now works as a Recognition Associate at Randolph Airforce Base; Syretta helps fellow Veterans receive the medals they’ve earned and deserve. She is now married, has a home, and is sharing her story with anyone who will listen.
On Advocacy Day, we met with six Texas Representatives and one Texas Senator. As we shared the impact of Goodwill’s mission through GG and Syretta’s stories, I could see a transformation in the demeanor of the legislative staffers. Every person in the room realized the life-changing power of work. I have always been proud of working for Goodwill, but that day made me realize how much I LOVE working for Goodwill. Every day I go to work, I get to be the change I want to see in the world by sharing these stories of transformation with the community. Join me in sharing the Goodwill story.
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Thank you to GG and Syretta, for taking the time to share your powerful stories. And thank you Devin, for capturing it in such a visually beautiful way.
Warms my heart…