Making a Difference: Goodwill Industries offers students second chance


RICHLAND TOWNSHIP - For some, it's about getting a second chance.

An opportunity for a do-over. Enrollment is now open for three programs that Goodwill Industries is offering for young adults who are looking to turn their lives around.

For Anna Kuhl, it’s what she’s needed to finally feel happiness in her life.

The 23-year-old who works at the small miracles day care in Geistown struggled when she was younger.

She lived in numerous foster homes until the age of 14 when she dropped out of high school.

"So I was jumping from house to house. I knew I needed to get my life together," said Anna Kuhl of Small Miracles Child Care Center.

Years later after the birth of her son, Anthony, Anna Kuhl knew she needed to make a change.

She learned about Goodwill's employment programs and found their 6six-month Youth Build program was a good fit.

"When I got my GED it was my biggest accomplishment of my life so far. I was really excited they were going to help me with my CNA,” said Kuhl.

"So not only are we serving our students, but serving the needs of our community," said Goodwill’s program manager, Mindy Rickabaugh.

She's worked with dozens of 17 to 24 year olds-year-olds who have completed the programs. Students can earn their GED’sGEDs, receive training in construction, healthcare or welding.

Mindy sayssaid the programs are like giving these young adults a do-over.

"And giving them a second chance to somebody only helps this community," said Rickabaugh.

And a second chance is what James Thomas, a welding student at Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center, desperately needed.

After being expelled from school at 16, he needed a new direction.

"Put excuses behind and like do what you need to do for your life, for your future," said Welding student James Thomas.

James went through the nine-week youth to work program.

"I liked it a lot. So it was like, I have the opportunity to do it," said Thomas.

And new this year, Goodwill's Life Launch program. It's for young adults who are leaving the criminal justice system.

"Not necessarily convicted, but be convicted. But not necessarily. And we will provide support and stabilization as well as education to those folks who need it," said Rickabaugh.

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