Meet Chaz

Goodwill Excel Center Graduate

“I don’t have time for my old life, because that kind of life will never allow me to reach my goals.”

Currently, Chaz is in college and working to attain his long-term goals, but it wasn’t always that way. “I ended up in trouble, running with the wrong kind of people, and spent time in jail,” Chaz said. “Some people think jail is no big deal. That you are tough, and you do your time, and that’s it. I’m here to tell you; it’s not. It’s hard to go to sleep at night when your stomach is bubbling…when you are missing your family. Behind those doors, everyone knows what you’re doing. You’re crying for your Mom; you’re crying for your Dad.”

When he got out of jail two years ago, Chaz realized that it had changed him for the better. He said it turned his mind around and allowed him to set new goals, with the help of his family. “Mom sat me down and begged me to do two things: Never go back to prison and don’t die. It is a very powerful message to have your mother sit you down and beg you not to die. It broke me down. No one wants to see your Momma cry over something that you did.”

That is when Chaz became focused on education. He found The Goodwill Excel Center and his life changed for the better. “When I set foot in Excel, I felt like Miss Wendy was trying to help me, Miss B. was trying to help me, Mr. Solis was trying to help me.”

He said there was a difference in how he felt about Excel than about a regular high school. It was a place where he wanted to be, and a place where he knew he belonged. He knew the staff cared about him and his future. “When I needed tutoring, they were there. If I missed a class, they were there. Even when I needed transportation, they were there. When I needed help, they were there.”

Today, Chaz works hard to achieve his goal of attaining his college degree. He says you can find him in one of three places every day; class, work, and bed “I don’t have time for my old life, because that kind of life will never allow me to reach my goals.”