Meet Larry Hawkins

“I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Goodwill.”

“I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Goodwill.”

Larry was living his ideal life – married, with a career and a home, when he began suffering with debilitating depression and anxiety. His struggles with mental health lead to a spiral of unemployment, divorce and, eventually, homelessness. Larry quickly found himself sleeping on a floor mat at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). He recalls the stress of living on the streets, “your anxiety is off the charts…[it’s hard] to survive in that atmosphere.”

Larry was at rock bottom but his Front Steps Case Manager at the ARCH recognized his motivation to build his life back, and moved him from the intake sleeping area, into a bunk in the upstairs men’s dormitory. He received counseling and support services, and was connected with Goodwill to start training for a new career. Larry wanted to get his life back – he was determined to get his own home and get back to work.

His Goodwill Case Manager connected him to resources at the Goodwill Career & Technical Academy, where he received enrollment assistance to Austin Community College. Larry spent nine months working towards his Network+ and A+ information technology certifications. Larry was excited to have the opportunity to go back to school, and he says the day he completed his certifications was, “one of the proudest days I can remember…being able to complete something I really wanted to do.” He loved learning so much, he’s even thinking about taking a few more classes.

While Larry attended classes at ACC, his Goodwill Case Manager helped write his resume, and he got a job at Fry’s electronics. He didn’t mind taking the two-hour bus ride, between work and the homeless shelter, but he needed help from his Case Manager to extend the shelter’s nighttime curfew so he could work evening shifts.

Larry is our 2017 Hall of Honor Outstanding Achiever. He spent nearly three years diligently rebuilding his life, step-by-step. His comittment and determination brought him a long way and now he has moved into an apartment of his own and looks forward to reuniting with his three children, and two grandchildren. Larry also says he would love to work at Goodwill someday, so he can help other men and women to get back on their feet too. “I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Goodwill,” says Larry.