Meet Kaitlen

Goodwill Excel Center Graduate

“Goodwill opens their arms and helps you…there are no closed doors, and they never let you fail.”

 “I found a place where no matter where you come from, what your background is, what you’ve been through – Goodwill opens their arms and helps you…there are no closed doors, and they never let you fail.”

At age 15, Kaitlen became pregnant and eventually had to drop out of high school. She worried that she’d never be able to have a successful career. Today, she’s setting a strong example for her son by providing a stable home, earning her high school diploma, and working at a full-time job while completing professional hours to earn a National Apartment Leasing Professional (NALP) certification. What an amazing outcome!

Kaitlen was living in Waco, Texas, when, in the 9th grade, she got pregnant. With the support of her baby’s father, Isaac, she continued to attend school. But after the birth of their son, she began missing a lot of class. So, at age 18, Kaitlen dropped out of high school. She attempted to get her GED but with little educational support, she was unable to pass the exams.

Wanting a better life for themselves and their little family, Kaitlen and Isaac moved to the Austin area. At first it seemed to be an improvement, but soon they were struggling to get by – paying rent and even buying food became a challenge, especially with a young son to care for. Kaitlen lost hope that she would ever be able to pursue her education or life goals.

Thankfully, Kaitlen found out about The Goodwill Excel Center. She was ecstatic – the chance for a high school diploma for FREE, along with free childcare?! She jumped at the opportunity.

She knew her life was about to change when she came to her first school orientation. “I knew I was going to become a different person…a better person!” says Kaitlen. “The Goodwill Excel Center became my second home,” she recounted. And with the additional childcare support for their son Ethan, Isaac was able to work full time and improve their life at home.

Kaitlen received her high school diploma from The Goodwill Excel Center on June 30, 2016. While attending high school, she also co-enrolled and completed the National Apartment Leasing Program (NALP) training at the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy (GCTA). Kaitlen recently accepted a position with a local apartment community, thanks to the Employer Fair provided by the GCTA at graduation. “I’m very excited about working with the Avesta Solano Apartment Community Team,” said Kaitlen. “I appreciate how they treat their residents, and I love the team huddle every morning!”

When we asked her to share one thing that would inspire others, Kaitlen said, “You just need to have a good attitude. Anything is possible in life, if you want it enough.”