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Jonathan's Story

Jonathan’s path took a few turns, but he came back to his original goal. He dreamed of being the first person in his family to graduate from college. Jonathan is learning disabled and had been told by his school counselors that he “was not college material and shouldn’t try”. He wanted to join the military, but a medical condition prevented that dream from becoming a reality. He tried working at various jobs that really were not meaningful to him.

Jonathan was referred to Goodwill by ACCES-VR. Although he had “no idea” of what Goodwill was at the time, he knew he needed “help and options”. He worked with Goodwill’s vocational evaluator, completed work readiness training in Goodwill’s online auction site division, and was able to find competitive employment in two different positions.

Although he enjoyed working, Jonathan did not give up on his dream of going to college. “Education is where it’s at for me”, he says. With the help of Goodwill’s employment services manager, he completed registration for classes at Erie Community College, filled out financial aid paperwork and obtained letters of recommendation. When he struggled, he never gave up. He called consistently to get the support and advice he needed including onsite tutoring help. Jonathan is now pursuing a degree in Criminal Studies and plans to continue his education at Buffalo State College where he will pursue a Political Science degree. He is working with Goodwill to find part-time employment to help finance his education. His ultimate plan is to go into politics someday.

Jonathan Riggio stands in front of an Erie Community College banner with a backpack on

"Goodwill gave me the self-confidence I needed to pursue my goal of continuing my education.”

- Jonathan Riggio

On a personal note, while working on a high school project Jonathan developed an interest in John F. Kennedy, and wondered why there wasn’t a national holiday in his honor. When he couldn’t get the answers he needed, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Jonathan is currently working on getting enough signatures on a petition to pass a bill to have the 35th President of the United States recognized with a national holiday. If anyone can do it, Jonathan can!

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