Addiction, Homelessness Lead Woman to Help Others Succeed at Work


Goodwill Industries® Honors Michele Carter with the 2013 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff

West Palm Beach, FL – May 9, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Michele Carter, director of re-entry and juvenile justice services for Gulfstream Goodwill Industries (West Palm Beach, FL), helps those who were formerly incarcerated to find jobs and successfully re-enter the workplace. Carter inspires her clients with her own personal journey through addiction and homelessness. For her dedication to improving the lives of others, Goodwill Industries International honors Carter with the 2013 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff.

As a young adult, Carter dropped out of high school and turned to drugs and alcohol. She moved in with a man 12 years her senior and had a son. She says their on-again, off-again relationship exacerbated her drug and alcohol use. When she divorced her husband, Carter asked her sister to take care of her son. After becoming homeless, she decided it was time to make positive changes in her life. She enrolled in Gulfstream Goodwill’s Project Success, a transitional housing program that supported her recovery and transition back into the working world.

In February 2007, Carter was working at a detox center when she saw a job opening for an ex-offender/re-entry program manager at Goodwill®. The job required a bachelor’s degree or equivalent job and life experience. During her interview, Carter convinced the hiring manager that she had both the skills and the passion to help others, and she earned the position.

“Former program participants are often the key to the success of current participants. They lead by example and provide an extra layer of support,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “Michele is a true ambassador for self-reliance and what can be achieved through hard work.”

Carter serves on numerous boards and is active in community organizations that work with the homeless and the formerly incarcerated. She is a founding member of Palm Beach County’s Criminal Justice Commission Re-Entry Task Force.

Of her award, Carter says, “”Once I accepted and embraced the resources I needed to transform my life I gained the confidence to make it happen.”

Carter will receive her award at Goodwill’s annual Delegate Assembly meeting in Grand Rapids, MI, on June 23.


The Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff honors a current Goodwill employee who is a past recipient of Goodwill services and exemplifies the mission of Goodwill Industries and its founder Rev. Edgar J. Helms’ values of unselfish service to people with disabilities or other disadvantaging conditions.

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