Goodwill and SAFE: Working Together for Survivors
When Sarah* walked into the SAFE shelter almost nine months ago, she was fleeing for her life. Now she is much more stable, has a full-time job, and is finally feeling independent now that she’s away from the violence that haunted her past.
Every person that walks through the doors at SAFE is a survivor – from sexual assault, abuse, or domestic violence. And Goodwill Central Texas is there to help the team at SAFE, get people who are healing back on a positive path.
At SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone, a merger of Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace), we have embedded a Career Case Manager onsite to provide job search assistance and employment support. Thanks to our community partnership for over 8 years, survivors of abuse have been able to receive Goodwill services.
With our Ready to Work Collaborative, Goodwill’s objective is to assist individuals living at or below 200% Federal Poverty income guidelines, and transition them out of poverty with career-readiness and employment. In fact, our Ready to Work program serves over 350 people living in poverty each year. The successes have been many, and have truly transformed lives, like Sarah’s.
Once Sarah arrived at SAFE and knew she was out of harm’s way, she started to improve her skills immediately. She took advantage of Goodwill’s financial literacy classes, offered at the Goodwill Resource Center, to help her improve her knowledge regarding credit and keeping a budget. She took numerous Career Advancement Training classes that covered topics like “Being a Team Player,” “Dependable Skills,” “Motivation,” and “Application, Resume, and Interviewing Basics.”
As she gained job skills, Sarah’s Career Case Manager referred her to the Goodwill Business Solutions team, where they focused on searching for Sarah’s dream job – working at a bookstore. Her Placement Specialist discovered a job opening at a popular local bookstore, and Sarah was thrilled at the opportunity to interview. With the support of her Placement Specialist, she got the job! Sarah has completed six months of employment, and hopes to eventually advance to a manager position. Currently in transitional housing, Sarah is actively looking for something permanent now that she has stable employment.
Goodwill’s assistance through SAFE did not stop with Sarah. Her daughter has become involved in the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program, a program designed to help youth ages 16-24 stay in school, return to school, and prepare for employment.
“I couldn’t have come this far in less than a year without SAFE and Goodwill,” says Sarah. “I owe my job, and my life, to them both.”
SAFE utilizes their campus to provide housing, healing, and support for individuals and families affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and exploitation through prevention and intervention services. In addition, the organization promotes safe and healthy relationships, increasing the capacity for abuse prevention in Central Texas.
If you, or someone you know, need the assistance of SAFE, call 512.267.SAFE (7233), 24/7/265, or visit http://www.safeaustin.org/help/
If you’d like to volunteer at SAFE:
It takes a village
SAFE is just one of Goodwill Central Texas’ community partners. We’ll be highlighting other wonderful organizations throughout our region during 2017 and beyond.
*Name has been changed to protect client’s identity.