Knoxville Awards Banquet Celebrates Successes

   GoodGuides Mentee of the Year: Danasjia Horsley; Most Improved Client of the Year: Felicia Young; GoodGuides Mentor of the Year: Kaylin Bailey; Skill Training Client of the Year: Landon Conner; Worker of the Year: Donald Alloway

GoodGuides Mentee of the Year: Danasjia Horsley; Most Improved Client of the Year: Felicia Young; GoodGuides Mentor of the Year: Kaylin Bailey; Skill Training Client of the Year: Landon Conner; Worker of the Year: Donald Alloway

Success is an everyday occurrence at Goodwill. With over 4,000 individuals in our training programs and employment services in 2014, there is always somebody at Goodwill accomplishing their goals or discovering new capabilities.

On April 8, Goodwill Industries-Knoxville was joined by over 100 community members to celebrate some of the outstanding individuals who have been involved with Goodwill’s programs at the 44th Annual Awards Luncheon.

The Skill Training Client of the Year, Landon Conner, impressed Goodwill staff during his time in the Goodwill Driver’s Education program. Landon developed an understanding of the material quickly, but was skeptical of his abilities. To build confidence, he spent a lot of time walking outdoors with program staff to learn the types and colors of the lines on the road. Once he got behind the wheel, Landon's confidence grew and he only required six behind-the-wheel lessons before demonstrating excellent driving skill and receiving his driver’s license in October 2014. Since obtaining his license, Landon also completed Goodwill’s Work Adjustment program and has obtained employment at Ruby Tuesdays, where he is making progress towards his ultimate goal of becoming a professional cook.

Felicia Young had a rocky start during her time at Goodwill. She started in Goodwill’s Work Adjustment program, but significant family and personal issues made attending training very difficult, and ultimately, she had to take a break from the program in May 2014. When her children went back to school in August, Felicia returned to Goodwill, this time enrolling in the Self-Paced Applications for the Computer Environment (SPACE) program, as well as Driver’s Education. She obtained her license and completed the classroom portion of the SPACE program in December. Now, Felicia is enrolled in the Volunteer Opportunity program at CONNECT Ministries. This program is providing her with the opportunity to utilize the skills she learned in the SPACE program as she looks for employment. Upon receiving this opportunity, she presented three backup plans for potential issues, demonstrating her personal growth beyond computer and driving skills. Throughout her enrollment in Goodwill's programs, Felicia has shown tremendous dedication and determination, which is why she was selected as Goodwill's Most Improved Client of the Year.

Donald Alloway also showed extreme commitment and dedication as he fought to obtain and maintain employment. He came to Goodwill’s Placement Program after completing Work Adjustment in June 2014. Transportation was a constant struggle, but Donald remained focused and dedicated to his job search. He actively participated in job readiness and placement training seminars and attended employment events hosted by Goodwill and other community organizations. In September, he was offered a full time position at Walmart. He accepted the position happily, even though his position ended after the buses stopped running for the day, causing him to have to walk six miles home each night. Still, he maintained his commitment to employment and continued to work. Goodwill staff worked with Donald to identify possible solutions to his transportation barrier, and Donald ended up advocating for himself with his employer to modify his schedule. With his optimistic outlook, self-motivation and determination, Donald has now maintained employment at Walmart for over six months, earning him the title of Worker of the Year.

 Danasjia Horsley accepts the first-ever GoodGuides Mentee of the Year Award.

Danasjia Horsley accepts the first-ever GoodGuides Mentee of the Year Award.

Danasjia Horsley, right, took home the inaugural award for GoodGuides Mentee of the Year, thanks to her dedication to the program and motivation to participate in GoodGuides opportunities. Danasjia successfully completed an online babysitting course through the American Red Cross, participated in the Adopt-A-Stream service learning program and, most recently, has participated in the GoodGuides Leadership Academy, where she is developing skills and knowledge to be successful in the future. She and her mentor have been together for 8 months, and she has developed career aspirations to work in the medical field with infants, has improved her grades and has become a leader for the younger youth in the GoodGuides program.

Kaylin Bailey signed up to be a peer mentor in the GoodGuides program. She consistently met with her mentee, working hard to identify fun and creative activities. Kaylin and her mentee have charted out goals, created tie-dye shirts and have learned chess together. As a young person, she overcame adversity of her own, allowing her to relate to her mentee and understand the importance of a strong support system. She has worked extremely hard in high school and, as a result, will receive a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Her positive attitude and the positive influence she has had on her mentee made Kaylin the perfect candidate for the inaugural GoodGuides Mentor of the Year award.

Congratulations to all of the 2014 award winners, and thank you to all the supportive individuals, businesses and organizations who help make Goodwill’s mission possible.