JOYful Giving Season

We invite you to join us in Giving JOYfully this year:


Dear Friend of Goodwin Connections,

What a year it has been. Our program’s families have faced challenges we could never have imagined, but thanks to our community’s unwavering support, our 80 student parents are staying the course to graduation day. These remarkable scholars are more determined than ever to build brighter futures for their families.

For many of us, the global pandemic has led to a time of reflection. Now is the time to pause and consider what matters and how we want to spend our days. For Manuela, who entered our program in the fall, that process was already underway. We’ve invited Manuela to share a little bit of her story, her motivation, and her hope for the future.

This spring, I will be the first in my family to graduate from college. I was also the first in my family to graduate from high school.

Coming from three generations of agricultural workers who never advanced beyond primary school, education was never encouraged or made a priority for me.

When I was a young teen, my parents divorced, and I was made to live with my father because he was in a better financial position. But it was not a good situation.

My first daughter was born when I was 16. As a single mother with limited education, I worked as a hotel dishwasher and maid while being forced to work in Germany’s vineyards with my father. This was not the future I wanted for my young daughter.

Six years ago, we arrived in the U.S. To receive additional food and household supplies, I volunteered at a local food bank. It was there where I met my husband, who was also a volunteer. He became a mentor to my daughter and has been a tremendous support and encouraged me to go after my educational goals.

Two years ago, my second daughter was born, and after being a stay-at-home mom for the first year of her life, I earned my GED (in less than nine weeks!), and now I am a student at Pierce College. I am working toward my Associate Degree inSocial Services & Mental Health.

Being a student parent with Goodwin Connections has relieved my family’s financial burden and has allowed me to stay focused on my courses. After struggling to find affordable and nearby childcare, I feel so lucky that my daughter now attends the on-site, high-quality childcare facility at my college. My daughter and I can grow together on campus.

My degree will help me understand others, but it will also give me a better understanding of myself and the challenges I encountered in my past. I’m committed to healing myself before I can help others heal.

My life experiences have forced me to develop the strength I needed to change my course. I’m committed to forging a new path for my future, and I thank you for helping me along the way.

We know that Manuela and the other 79 students in our program this winter will go on to do great things and give back to their community in a meaningful way.

While this year’s holidays might look and feel a little different than in year’s past, our JOYful Giving tradition continues. Inspired by our longtime supporter Joy Goodenough, JOYful Giving is a celebration of family and friendship.

We invite you to join us in Giving JOYfully this year:

However you choose to celebrate, we hope the holidays bring you joy and hope for a bright future.

From all of us at Goodwin Connections

Posted in News, Personal Stories, Uncategorized