From Barriers to Brighter Future

Imagine: You’re a mother of three and you recently relocated to the United States from the Middle East with your family. Striving to enforce the value of education to your children, you vow to complete your high school diploma – despite a sizable language barrier. You enroll in part-time high-school diploma classes so you can meet your two older children as they get off the school bus every day. Now, you need to find child care for your youngest daughter.


Anisa doesn’t have to imagine this scenario – she’s living it.


A native Farsi speaker, Anisa needed to enroll in ESL (English as a Second Language) courses before taking academic classes. Anisa also worried that her youngest daughter Adrina would be developmentally delayed due to her limited communication skills. Then, Anisa found one of United Way ATX’s Community Investment Grant partners – Goodwill Industries.


Goodwill Industries launched The Goodwill Excel Center, the first free public charter high school in Austin, Texas for adults 17 – 50. This high school has specialized learning plans, life coaches, and support services to help ensure student success. Thanks to The Goodwill Excel Center, Anisa was able to enroll in ESL classes and receive free childcare throughout the course of her education. The service allows parents to take classes close to where their kids attend child care and save parents several thousands of dollars a year in child care.


All of this sounded like a dream come true to Anisa. After Anisa enrolled, Adrina’s teachers at the Goodwill Industries Exploration Center worked with Anisa to integrate Farsi into their classroom so that the learning environment would be better equipped to meet Adrina’s needs. Through a combination of in-class and at-home dual-language learning, Adrina not only learned to communicate with her teachers and her peers – she excelled. By the time Anisa completed her ESL courses and received her high-school diploma, Adrina was consistently helping her teachers and had even been assigned as the morning classroom greeter.


Anisa, Goodwill Industries, and United Way for Greater Austin all believe in the power of family. Thanks to our partnership and funding support of Goodwill Industries, Anisa was able to earn her degree and is now empowered to advocate for her children. This is what it looks like to LIVE UNITED.


Goodwill Industries Exploration Center is supported by United Way for Greater Austin’s Community Investment Grants. Learn more here.


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