Spotlight on Success: 2013 Graduate of the Year: J. Jondhi Harrell

j  awards dinnerOut of the 4.2 million Americans who received employment and training services from Goodwills across the nation last year, ONE was chosen as Goodwill’s 2013 Graduate of the Year. We are incredibly honored to announce that this year’s winner is a graduate of Goodwill Industries of Southern NJ & Philadelphia’s Ex-Offender Re-Entry program! We congratulate J. Jondhi Harrell for receiving this national award.

After serving almost two decades in prison, J. Jondhi Harrell is now an outspoken advocate for individuals who were formerly incarcerated as they rejoin their communities. He began mentoring others while still in prison and, upon his release, enrolled in Goodwill’s Ex-Offender Re-Entry Program, which helps people with criminal backgrounds gain work experience and build a resume. While in the program, Harrell used transitional employment with Goodwill as a stepping stone to other work. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and is currently working toward a master’s in social work at Temple University.

When he’s not studying, Harrell divides his time between working as a service coordinator at Pathways to Housing PA in Philadelphia and running his own nonprofit, The Center for Returning Citizens, that helps people with criminal backgrounds find work, housing and other supports. Harrell is a tireless advocate for those who’ve had similar experiences to his own, and he’s a confident public speaker, spreading the word to policy makers, the media and the public about the need for a continuum of services for this population.

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Harrell says his accomplishments would not have been possible without Goodwill’s help. “I am proud to be a part of the Goodwill family. The Goodwill model for assisting former prisoners should be adopted across the country. Recidivism rates would fall, families would be reunited and communities would be stronger.”

Harrell will receive his award this month at Goodwill’s annual Delegate Assembly meeting in Grand Rapids, MI..

Listen to J. Jondhi Harrell’s story.