Meet Iris

Goodwill Excel Center Graduate

At this point, I’m so close to graduating. Goodwill has changed my life.

Iris has six kids — a 15-year-old, a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 2-year-old. Not having a high school diploma or a certification meant that she was getting jobs only paying so much an hour. “It was really hard, and with six kids, it was even harder. I was pushing my kids to graduate and do things the right way instead of the wrong way like I did. It wasn’t fair on my part. I needed to do something to show them that I can do it. If I can do it, then they can do it, too.”

A couple years ago, Iris was at a Goodwill store in Austin, and she was given a flyer about going back to school and getting a diploma at The Goodwill Excel Center adult high school. Although she hadn’t considered finishing her education before, for some reason, she kept the flyer — something just told her to hang onto it. About a month later, Iris decided to call and ask about enrollment. To her surprise, she was encouraged to come in that day! Iris says from that point on, her life was changed forever.

This June, Iris will graduate from The Goodwill Excel Center. She also recently completed her Nursing Assistant training at the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy, passed her certification exam, and is currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant! She knows that by having a diploma, she’ll be able to command a higher wage now and in the future.

“At this point, I’m so close to graduating. Everything that I’ve gone through is behind me — it’s all about getting across that stage and getting my diploma. Goodwill has changed my life. You have to do your part and put in your work. Nothing is given to you. But in the end, it’s all worth it.”