October Town Hall in pictures

We had a great crowd at this morning’s Town Hall meeting and a packed agenda. So let’s get straight to the recap!

“Brent” introduced himself to the crowd with his standard meeting-opening month-in-review slideshow.

Retail Operations Director Shirley Hall recognized Percy Goynes for his 45 years of service with Goodwill.

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Friday roundup – Halloween edition

This week’s roundup is all Halloween related!

Have fun this weekend, and be safe. And don’t forget to enter our costume contest! We’re taking entries until 5:00 on November 1st, so be sure a camera finds you in costume this weekend.

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Couples Costumes for Halloween

So far we’ve talked about some easy costume ideas for Halloween — the Christmas tree, Candy Corn and A Dozen or So Things You Can Do with a Bull Costume, but what about those who want to go out as a couple?

The Omaha World-Herald ran a story today about couples costumes, and it includes Tammy and Mark Cain, a couple from Union, Nebraska who have used Goodwill finds to bring their ideas to life.

Makeup and spray paint.

Give Tammy enough and she can create unusual costumes.

One year the couple wore an ensemble with a silver and gold theme.

Mark dressed as a non-speaking “silver mime” and Tammy went as his gold “trophy wife.”

Tammy took Mark’s jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, shoes and gloves, hung them up in the garage, and spray painted them silver.

It took a few coats to finish the job. Afterward the clothes, Tammy said, were a “little crunchy.”

For her costume, Tammy found a gold slip at Goodwill for her top, and a dark slip for the base of her “trophy.”

One year they gathered more clothes at Goodwill and dressed as an “old casino couple,” a pair you might see playing the slot machines after stepping off a tour bus.

But they wanted to add a little more fun. So Mark, who’s 6 feet 3 inches tall, dressed as the lady, complete with pink slacks and gold sandals

Read the rest of the article and find more couple costume ideas at Omaha.com.

And then when you’ve got your costume finished, enter our contest.

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The Bulled and the Beautiful – A Variety of Costume Options

So Erin and I went into the Benson Park Plaza store the other day to get some Halloween inspiration for you good people. We went in with no ideas — we wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to put together a costume with the seemingly random things you can find at a Goodwill store.

So let’s get started. First, we found this bull costume.

Okay, so I’m a bull.
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Goodwill brings Halloween to KMTV’s Morning Blend

Goodwill is the place to go for Halloween. If you haven’t heard that a time or two or more in the last month, you’ve been missing out on quality news features, blog postings and Facebook updates.

Just like a kid never gets tired of going door to door asking for candy, we never get tired of picking out costumes. Today Goodwill employees, along with one Goodwill spouse and the tiniest Goodwill yorkie, headed to KMTV’s Morning Blend to show hosts Mary and Mike the costumes we put together. With a little time searching through the racks and a little creativity, you too could be a sitcom character, ancient queen, not so friendly neighbor, or construction worker.

Check out the video at the Morning Blend website.

Oh yeah, and we’re having a costume contest.

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Halloween Inspiration: Candy Corn

Throughout the month of October, we’re going to share a few of our Goodwill employees’ favorite Halloween costume creations, ideally to motivate you to enter our BOO!dwill Halloween Costume contest and win a $100 Goodwill gift certificate. But at the very least, we’d like to inspire you to put together a great costume.

Halloween costumes don’t have to be scary. As someone who hates horror movies, you better believe I’m not going to dress up as a character from one. Zombie bride, mummified rock star, vampire doll – those are all out too.

There’s no need to ruin perfectly good clothes with fake blood. I just want a costume that is clever. A cute costume would be a bonus.

Costumes also don’t have to be expensive. Sometimes you just need to peek in your closet and get creative. Goodwill hosts monthly Town Hall meetings for all employees and in October the meeting includes a costume contest. Call me boring or lazy, but I didn’t want to have to bring extra clothes and change out of my costume after the meeting. I wanted something comfortable (and “normal”) enough to wear all day.

I looked in my closet and found an orange skirt I had purchased on a recent thrifting adventure. The rest just came together. It was meant to be. I added a white shirt, yellow tights, and yellow shoes. Next I found an old party hat in the closet and covered it with white paper.

That’s right; I dressed up as candy corn for Halloween. I put a different spin on the “treat” part of “trick or treat.” I spent absolutely no extra money on my costume, and aside from the hat, the pieces have all been used again. In fact, I’m wearing the skirt and shoes as I write this.

How’s that for an eco-friendly Halloween costume?

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Meet Kim Streit

You can’t sneak anything past Kim Streit. Customers won’t leave the store without receiving great customer service from Kim, and would-be ring thieves will never get away with it when she is on duty. Recently a customer took off her own rings and set them on the jewelry counter to try on Goodwill rings. She forgot to put them back on. Soon after she left, another customer took the rings off the counter, pocketed them and headed out the door. The woman filed a police report. Thanks to her good eye, Kim was able to identify the man who had taken the rings the next time he came in the shop. Kim and her colleagues were able to get the man’s name off of his Goodwill shopper/donor card and pass that information on to the case detective. The detective was able to get the rings back to the customer.

Kim started at Goodwill in the Work Experience program at the 156th & Maple store. The Work Experience program serves special education students who are nearing the end of their high school careers. Partnering high schools identify students that may qualify for the program, and together the students, parents and Goodwill staff decide if Work Experience is a good fit for the individual.

Work Experience students are assigned a variety of jobs within the Goodwill organization. Work areas include clerical, commercial contracts, custodial, production, and retail. The students are held to the same standard as permanent employees, and just like any other job, students are paid for the work they do at Goodwill. Work Experience Trainers offer support and guidance to the students throughout the program. Trainer Lynn Johnson-Romero says her favorite part of the program is “when we get to send our participants out into the community with the work experience they can add to a resume and the tools they need to apply, obtain, and retain employment.” Erin Wiesen, Trainer from our Fremont location, adds that she loves seeing how her students have grown from the time they start to the time they graduate.

After graduating from high school and Work Experience, Kim transferred to work as a Customer Service Attendant at our 180th & R Goodwill location. Kim is very customer driven and goes above and beyond to keep our shoppers and donors happy. She assists on the sales floor, cleans out dressing rooms, assists at the jewelry counter, and helps re-tag items when their price has gone missing. Kim was recognized as the August 2011 Goodwill Employee of the Month. This month she celebrates her two year anniversary at Goodwill.

Join us throughout October in recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Goodwill Omaha encourages the public and private sectors to hire applicants with disabilities and benefit from the unique talents they bring to the workplace.

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Thank you for making Drive for Drives a huge success!

This weekend’s Drive for Drives was a hit beyond what anyone had imagined. The donation drive, which was a partnership between Goodwill, the Omaha West Rotary Club and WOWT Channel 6, brought in enough computer donations to fill twelve trailers. To put that in perspective, our donation drive in the spring was considered a success and we filled three and a half trailers. COO Randy Parks was hoping we’d have enough from this drive to fill six.

The line of cars snaked out from the Crossroads Mall parking lot onto Dodge Street, but with the help of Omaha police guiding traffic and the Goodwill staff and volunteers accepting donations, the longest reported wait in line was 10 minutes. WOWT cameras were on hand to cover the event and the massive turnout.

Even though the drive officially ended at 1 p.m., workers were still loading donations onto trailers until 5:45.

Senior Director of Retail Kay Hilgenkamp was extremely grateful for all of the help from Rotary volunteers, Goodwill employees and donors, and she closed the exhausting day with this reassuring thought: “Throughout the day, one thing that helped carry us through was holding onto to the thought that in five years from now the big, gigantic, heavy, weigh-a-ton monitors donated to the Drive 4 Drives should all be replaced by light-weight flat screens.”

The computers that were donated were taken to Goodwill’s Retail Operations Center at 72nd & F, where the GoodBytes staff will process them for resale or recycling. The technicians will wipe all hard drives clean of any personal information. Everything in good condition will be refurbished and then sold in the GoodBytes store. Anything that can’t be repaired and resold will be broken down and recycled in an environmentally friendly way thanks to our partnership with Dell ReConnect.

Thanks again to the Omaha West Rotary Club, WOWT Channel 6 and the hundreds of people who donated their computer equipment and made the Drive for Drives such a success!
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Friday Roundup – October 14

A collection of recent links that didn’t make it into posts of their own…

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Make an eco-friendly ghost

I always have grand ambitions of making my yard as gaudy as possible for Halloween but I never follow through. I think part of it is that I start shopping for ridiculous things to put in my yard, I see what I’m going to spend and then I start to feel foolish. Well no longer! Crafting a Green World has shared a tutorial on how to put together an inexpensive and environmentally friendly homemade ghost for your yard:

You can make this eco-friendly ghost instead of buying some cheap “Made in (insert country here)” plastic ghosts, shipped from thousands miles away, to adorn tabletops, stairs, or hallways. It’s made with everyday item you’d find in your kitchen and totally non-toxic. You can even hang them on your porch or out the window. These little guys are light and yet sturdy enough to stand on their own. Make one or a dozen. Scatter them everywhere. They’ll be the life of the party.

Nationalistic pride is optional.

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