Meet LaQuinita

The Goodwill Excel Center Graduate

“I took advantage of every option there is. That’s how I’m able to stand here today. ”

Out of great sadness has come great success for LaQuinita, and the best is yet to come.

Three years ago LaQuinita lost her sister, and with her sister’s death went her entire support system for herself and her two children. The loss of her sister and her lack of a strong support system left LaQuinita without a permanent place to live. She and her children ended up living from house to house with friends or staying in homeless shelters, with no permanent place to call her own. She knew she needed a better job so she could afford a home for her family but didn’t feel she had a lot of options. Then, she got the idea of finishing her education so she could change her circumstances.  “My sister was all I had. I thought, ‘what would she want me to do?’ I was lost and needed direction, and I figured what better than to go back to school,” said LaQuinita.

At The Goodwill Excel Center, LaQuinita found the support system she needed. That support helped her stay in school and set up the rest of her life for success. “One tactic I learned from Lindsey (the Goodwill Excel Center Mental Health Counselor), that I continue to use, is a little wooden box. The exercise is a way to deal with stress. When I’m feeling stressed, I pull a suggestion out of the box. One slip of paper says things like ‘take a drive’ or ‘go to the movies with my girls.’ I still have that box.”

LaQuinita also took advantage of the many programs Goodwill has to offer, giving her the tools and resources that helped her make her life stable today. “I took advantage of every option there is. That’s how I’m able to stand here today. I was able to say, ‘hey, I need help.’ It helped give me the security I needed to keep pushing forward.”

LaQuinita graduated from The Goodwill Excel Center in 2017 and continued her education at Austin Community College. In 2018, she got her certification in Business Management from ACC and plans to pursue post-secondary education until she has her Associates Degree.

Currently, LaQuinita is working in the hospitality industry, but she intends to move into the non-profit world and eventually start her own non-profit. Her idea is to provide services for people like her, people who have faced homelessness, whom she terms the ‘Working Homeless.’ “For the working homeless, I know how hard it is, not only on themselves but their families. They just need a little help to get back to stability, just like I did.”