Group of young people - Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona

Athiana LermaDown to Earth: Tucson, Episode 4, In 2019, Goodwill® Industries of Southern Arizona is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! Since 1969, Goodwill® has provided a “hand up” for any person who wants to achieve independence through jobs, education and skills training. This means helping individuals realize their potential, see and achieve their steps in the career pathways they set while providing support along the way. In the past 5 years alone, Goodwill® has served over 50,000 individuals; and every single person that Goodwill has served are the reasons why we’ve continued our mission all these years!

When the community supports Goodwill with their donations, their dollars and their volunteerism, they help young people like Athiana as well as thousands more who need support to gain a good footing to kickstart or develop in their careers. Supporting Goodwill makes it so easy to #dogood.

Learn more and watch a video testimonial from Athiana here.

Athiana Lerma was, at one time, a very cynical individual, and a high school dropout with substance abuse issues. Athiana wasn’t very excited to turn her life around until she was introduced to GoodFutures, one of Goodwill’s six youth programs in 2014. Today at 23, Athiana, is now a Caregiver at a local social service agency, supporting a client with down syndrome to participate in the community. The change in mindset was a long, tough road but she is now living her life at her healthiest and most productive with big plans to continue her work with adults with disabilities. She is a lover of cats, is an Arizona Coyote fan and is a proud consumer of vitamins and Trader Joe’s produce.

Casandra Valenzuela, Senior Rentry Programs Coordinator

Casandra ValenzuelaCassy has worked in the behavioral health field for over 10 years with people of all ages from birth to adulthood. She has worked with Goodwill’s GoodFutures program for a total of 4 years supporting young adults ages 18-24 and now most recently with formerly incarcerated adults ages 25+. Her passion has always been to work with young adults because she feels like those are the ages that are most overlooked. In addition to work, Cassy is a wife of 11 years and has 2 strong-willed, intelligent and beautiful daughters and expecting a boy this October. In her downtime, she enjoys being with family.

Cassy shares what it’s like working with young adults. “You are considered an adult and a lot of our youth are just expected to know how to handle life and are thrown into a world of new responsibilities with little to no tools. I remember clearly being 18-24 and feeling lost and not really wanting to ask for help because the world makes it seem like once you turn 18 something magically happens and you know how to adult…..WRONG! I have been blessed with the opportunity to assist young people in navigating their lives. I have been a part of the journey with many young people as they decide what they want to be when they grow up, how they plan on getting there (step by step), and have seen most take those steps and become successful young adults and adults. There are really no words for how that feels, it is pretty awesome. It is not always easy and some are not ready the first time they come into my life and I have had to fight the desire to want to do things for these young people.”

This episode made possible by the generous support of Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona



  • Shopping at Goodwill can be a family affair – Mrs. Green and her family have a blast when they hunt for finds at their local Goodwill stores.
  • Powerful personal stories shared on this podcast – join us to hear the true difference that Goodwill of Southern Arizona has made (and continues to make) in the lives of those living in our community.
  • GoodFutures serves 18-24 year olds and is currently funded through sales at Goodwill – youth in this program have been adjudicated and need to develop a transition plan back into society
  • The three goals of GoodFutures is that participants never face legal charges as an adult; they get back into education and then they are employed.



Music used in this podcast is copyrighted and licensed through Turtle Island Records/Libby Roderick Music