Elliott Reed: Challenges, Blessing, and “Showing the Way”

Goodwin College had a job opening for a custodian in its Facilities Department. Elliott Reed was in need of full-time employment. The match was perfect, and he is now a familiar community member at the River Campus.

And as Reed, 58, ponders his plans for the future, he is keenly aware of the challenges that have brought him to Riverside Drive.

Reed had been previously employed as a school bus driver. “I was living with my girlfriend, who developed breast cancer,” he said. “She was in remission, but when the cancer came back, she thought it was best if I didn’t watch.” He moved out, but when his rent was raised to a level he couldn’t afford and he was displaced, he became a resident of Mercy Housing in Hartford, part of a national nonprofit organization working to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated.

Once he moved into Mercy Housing, he found part-time employment at Easter Seals, which provides support services to children and adults with disabilities and special needs. He also worked as an information specialist for a juvenile detention center for a period of time. “I enjoy every job I have,” he explained. “I like people. I like life. I embrace it.”

Mercy Housing, where Reed is still currently a resident in the Transitional Living Program, had collaborated with Goodwin on a number of social initiatives. “Goodwin’s Human Resource team is in touch with the employment specialist at Mercy Housing and I’m a product of that partnership,” Reed stated.

He was hired as a full-time employee and was preparing to join the Facilities Department.

“I needed a full-time position to begin making the transition out of Mercy.” Reed noted. “Being at Goodwin would put me on the right path. The steady income and benefits would enable me to transition.”

Sadly, another challenge was still to come.

Only days before he was set to start his new position, Reed’s mother passed away. “My supervisors came to the funeral, and they gave me time off to grieve.” He was appreciative of the empathy and compassion he was shown by the Goodwin community before he even started.

Reed intends to take advantage of the educational opportunities for which he is eligible as an employee of the College. Previously, he took courses to become a drug/alcohol rehabilitation counselor and hopes to enroll in the Human Services program at Goodwin.

“I want to help get people on the right path. I know the way, I go the way, I show the way.”

Despite his difficult journey, Reed remains positive and hopeful for his future.

“I’m fortunate. I’ve just been blessed.”