Meet Donya

GCTA Graduate

“Goodwill has a lot of opportunities for people if you put your mind to it.”

Donya was steadfastly attending college in Houston when, one day, she was devastated to discover that she could not continue her studies. In 11th and 12th grade, Donya had been home-schooled and, unfortunately, due to certain technical specifications, her high school diploma was deemed invalid.

During this time, when Donya had been diligently working to improve her life, she was also dealing with domestic violence. She knew she needed to remove herself from the situation and, with the determination to rise above her challenges, she moved to Austin in search of opportunity. She wanted to start a new life, and her first step was earning a high school diploma. Donya researched numerous high school programs but knew she had found the one she wanted at The Goodwill Excel Center. With hard work and diligence, Donya graduated after just ten months and was even named 2019 Prom Queen!

But Donya wasn’t about to leave Goodwill just yet. She was interested in pursuing training for a career certification and, just before graduation, enrolled in the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy (GCTA). First, she completed training as a Nursing Assistant and earned her certification (CNA). After that, knowing she would increase her competitive advantage, she completed the Phlebotomy course and obtained that certification, as well.

Looking back on her experience, Donya says the GCTA Faculty stands out to her the most. “They were always so positive and really kept me going.” Despite working 11-hour overnight shifts while concurrently attending GCTA classes, Donya still managed to complete her training and pass both certification exams! Her teachers were always understanding and inspired her to push through. “The teachers are motivating, and they teach you how to succeed.”

Towards the end of her phlebotomy course, the students were connected to some healthcare-related employers for job opportunities, one of which was a mobile testing company. The hiring managers were so impressed with Donya that they offered her a job on the spot! Now she’s happy to be working in the industry for which she had worked so hard.

Donya intends to return to the GCTA and complete training as a Medical Assistant so that she can earn another career credential. With all of her training and experience, her ultimate goal is to be become a Registered Nurse and continue a rewarding career in healthcare. “Goodwill has a lot of opportunities for people if you put your mind to it. You just have to get up and go after your dream.”