The Goodwill Life Guides Program is a 20-year commitment to families who want to exit poverty.  Working with a Life Guide coach, families set goals to move toward self-sufficiency.  At the end of the program, the youngest family member (child 0-3 at program entry) will have graduated from high school (or a high school equivalency program), entered post-secondary education or trade school, and exited poverty by earning a living wage for their family size.


Getting out of poverty takes an enormous amount of energy, time, and patience. Add in the need for resources and support, and it becomes a challenge that seems impossible.

Financial Coaching

In financial coaching, families will work on setting short and long term goals to reach self-sufficiency. A main goal is to educate and encourage healthy, manageable money habits. Each one-on-one session with the financial coach, will build on resolving the financial challenges a family can face. Each family is different and services provided will vary.


Counseling services are offered through Goodwill and are free of charge to Life Guide participants. Counseling provides a safe and comfortable environment where clients can work through life’s challenges in a way that promotes understanding, insight, growth, and resilience. Times of challenge or crisis can be great opportunities for growth and healing, as individuals, and in our relationships with others. Counseling is available for adults and youth via individual, couple, parent/child and group sessions. .

Employment Services

Our dedicated Life Guides’ Employment Coordinator is able to schedule weekly meetings with you to work on a wide array of skills leading to higher paying, more stable employment. One of the main goals of the Life Guides programs is for families to make a living wage for their family size. Employment Services provided:

Resource Navigation

Moving towards self-sufficiency, our Life Guides Resource Navigator will connect families to resources in their community while teaching strategies to utilize these resources in future. Appointments can be made weekly or as needed. Navigation assists families with:


Does the program cost anything?

Participation in the program is free, although each family has requirements to complete.

How can someone join the program?

Families must be nominated by a community agency.

Can I refer someone I know for the program?

No, we do not accept individual referrals. The only way for someone to enter the program is through an agency nomination. You can share program brochures and flyers to make agencies aware of the Life Guides program.

Does the program offer any support services?

All of our participants have access to community resource navigation, counseling, and Goodwill’s employment services and financial coaching.

Why is this program a 20-year commitment?

Studies show that exiting poverty takes 20 years with nothing going wrong. We’re here to help that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this for? ¿Para quién es este?
People who want a career in early childhood education. Personas que quieren una carrera en educación infantil.
What is it? ¿Qué es?
A career pathway with support to help you reach your long-term career goals. Una formación vocacional con apoyo para ayudarlo a alcanzar sus metas profesionales a largo plazo.
What is an apprenticeship? ¿Qué es un aprendizaje?
An apprenticeship pays you while you get trained for the job. Un aprendizaje le pagará mientras le capacitan para el trabajo.
When will it begin? ¿Cuándo empezará?
You can apply for this apprenticeship beginning January 2021. It is full-time. Puede aplicar para este aprendizaje a partir de enero de 2021.La posición es a tiempo completo.
If I’m offered a position where will I be employed? Si me ofrecen un puesto, ¿dónde trabajaré?
YWCA Kalamazoo Children’s Center Centro Infantil de YWCA Kalamazoo
Why is this opportunity being offered? ¿Por qué se ofrece esta oportunidad?
To have more people with credentials to work in early learning and child care programs in the neighborhood. To help create more home child care slots in the neighborhood. Tener más personas con credenciales para trabajar en programas de educación temprana y guarderías en el vecindario. Para ayudar a crear más espacios de cuidado infantil en el hogar en el vecindario.
Why should I apply? ¿Por qué debo solicitar un puesto?
You should apply if you want a career where you can make a difference in the lives of children and families in your neighborhood. Debe presentar una solicitud si desea una carrera en la que pueda marcar una diferencia en la vida de los niños y las familias de su vecindario.
How can I apply? ¿Cómo puedo solicitar un puesto?
Complete this form. Complete este formulario de interés.