Write on the Good Wall

Do you have a favorite way of helping the less fortunate during the holidays? Are you looking for ideas on how to give back to your community? Or maybe you’d just like to get that warm fuzzy feeling from seeing what other people are doing.

Goodwill Industries International has established the “Good Wall,” a virtual wall for people to share how they plan to give back this holiday season. Whether you’re donating goods, making a financial contribution, volunteering, buying gifts for children in need, shoveling your neighbors’ sidewalks, whatever — we’d like to hear about it. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else. Maybe something you see on the Good Wall will inspire you. Either way, visit the Good Wall and take a moment to think about what you’re doing — or what you can do — to give back to your community.

A Goodwill shopper shares her DIY Doggy Bed project

Photo courtesy of Regi Rae.

Regi Rae has always had a love for vintage furniture and other recycled items she finds at second-hand stores.

Recently, she took a yellow fabric suitcase she found at Reserve and transformed it into a bed for her roommate’s dog.

“The idea originally happened when I first saw a couple hard cases in a thrift store a few years ago,” she said. “I am a sucker for furniture with funky legs. So I said to myself, ‘That suitcase would make an awesome table!’ But to make a table you need legs, so I found wooden candle stick holders, painted them, drilled them in, and voila! Table!”

But Regi wanted the table to be more useful than just a place to shove things away, so she found some old but tasteful bedding to put in the small case and the dog bed was born.

The original suitcase bed. Photo courtesy of Regi Rae.

“This ‘new’ yellow one you see is a fabric case, not hard…so I held off on drilling legs in,” she said.

“I simply added a tiny shower like curtain rod that expands and holds, to give it the pop-up tent like structure.”

Regi said she likes experimenting with combining and building other pieces from her thrift store finds, looking forward to what turns out.

She said she’s always looking for recycled items for her pug, Google. “He is one of a kind and deserves one of a kind products that help the Earth a little,” she said.

If you have any DIY projects of your own that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about them. You can email us at [email protected] or share photos on our Facebook wall at facebook.com/goodwillomaha.

What we’re thankful for!

We asked Goodwill employees to share some of the things they’re thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for the students because without them I wouldn’t have a job. Every day brings new, challenging, funny, and teachable moments!

Holly Schwietz, Work Experience Trainer

There are so many things…I am so thankful that I still have a job during this difficult economic time. And I am so blessed to be able to have our own home now. And we are so fortunate to have survived the flooding this year. It tested everybody’s resolve and we managed to come through victorious!

Mardell Obermiller, Goodwill Industries Receptionist

What we’re thankful for!

We asked Goodwill employees to share some of the things they’re thankful for this year.

I’m thankful for wonderful my family and friends who have supported me these past months with their help, encouraging words and prayers.

Bobbie Tvrdik, Vice President of Administrative Services

I am thankful for my wife and my new daughter. And for my new Saints-themed toy train that my department gave me for my birthday. Oh wait. I guess I didn’t get a Saints-themed toy train. Even though I explicitly asked for it. Oh well. I guess the wife and baby will have to do.

Brent Koster, Planning, Community and Business Development Manager

5 projects to recycle old sweaters

from thelongthread.com

This time of year, when you hear the words “old sweaters” you’re probably imagining holiday parties with their woven gaudy ghosts of Christmas past.

But let’s say you have an old sweater that’s outlived its usefulness, or maybe worse — it has no ironic value.

Well you’re in luck, because the folks at Crafting a Green World have assembled a list of five projects you can do to recycle your old sweaters!

It has been positively blustery out there lately, and that chilly weather gets me in the mood to craft with sweaters. Luckily, when the weather gets colder, thrift stores are busting with sweaters, so even if you don’t have any in your stash, you can still find sweaters to upcycle for all sorts of fun, fall-themed projects.

Whether it’s fall gardland, boots, wreaths, scarves or even a Christmas tree, you can assign your old sweater a fate more dignified than a punchline.

December issue of The Clothes Line now available for download!

In this month’s issue:

  • We take a look at what’s happening behind the scenes to prepare for the opening of our new 78th & Dodge store…
  • We get to know Laura Duhigg and Princess Brown, our latest Manager of the Quarter and Employee of the Month, respectively…
  • We visit the ROC, where Work Experience students are making centerpieces for their Thanksgiving feast…
  • We get a sneak preview of the 2012 Annual Dinner, coming February 4, 2012…
  • Another exciting word search…
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

Getting greener at Goodwill

Goodwill is inherently environmentally friendly. When people donate their used goods to Goodwill, it keeps unwanted items out of landfills and prevents the production of unnecessary new materials.

“Recycling clothing is about as green as you can get,” said Chief Operating Officer Randy Parks.

Recycling Manager Ken Barker stands among computer parts that have been prepared for recycling. Goodwill Omaha has recycled 724,427 pounds of computers and computer components in 2011 alone.

But there’s much more happening at this agency with environmental protection in mind.

The 2012-2016 Strategic Plan (PDF) calls for Goodwill to “Expand the agency’s comprehensive recycling efforts; continue to identify and provide ‘greener’ services, with reduced consumption of material and natural resources, including paper, supplies, and fuel; incorporate LEED building principles into our new facilities where feasible.”

The agency is already seeing changes in this direction beginning with the construction of our stores themselves.

“We’ve changed how our buildings are designed,” Parks said. The new Blair store, being built from the ground up, is on pace to achieve LEED certification.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s a third-party verification of the environmental friendliness of construction. The Blair store will be Goodwill Omaha’s first LEED-certified building.

“Previously there was only one standard,” Parks said. “It didn’t matter if you were an office building or a retail space. More categories of LEED certification allows us to be more environmentally responsible.”

All of Goodwill’s previous stores have been built block-by-block; the Blair store will be built with pre-cast and pre-insulated outside walls.

“They’re better, they’re cheaper, and they can be built in the winter,” Parks said. The Blair store will also have better insulation in the walls and roof and more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

And ironically, the Blair store’s sea of pavement will help it be greener.
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Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all of our men and women who have served their country. We’re proud and honored to have several veterans among our ranks here at Goodwill, and we’d like to recognize them and thank them for their service!

So a big thanks to Ryan Alson, Michael Baker, Tom Bessey, Herman Brown, Gary Campbell, Jonn Coleman, Tim Garrigus, Joseph Gordon, Victor Hull, Brett Karnes, Bob May, Bob Popejoy, Manuel Santiago, Tim Schlosser, Robert Stanton, Dick Strauss, Michael Touzin, Dan Williams and Gary Zander.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 BOO!dwill Costume Contest!

Thank you again to everyone who entered our costume contest — we invite you to visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/goodwillomaha to check out the full gallery of entrants.

Thank you also to everyone who voted! We had more than six times as many voters this year making it a dramatic race — we had four different leaders at different times throughout the five-day voting period. And even though everyone received more than a hundred votes, we ended up with a tie for third place! So without further ado, here are your winners.

With a tie for third place, each receiving a $25 Goodwill gift certificate, we had Kirsty as a Na’Vi from Avatar and Matthew as Edward Scissorhands!

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Vote for the winners of the 2011 BOO!dwill Costume Contest!

Thanks to everyone who entered this year’s BOO!dwill Costume Contest! We had some amazing submissions, and you can see them all in our costume gallery on our Facebook page. We had so many great entries this year that we bumped our top five finalists up to a top six — and now it’s time to choose the winners!

So take a look at our finalists below, and then vote for your THREE FAVORITE COSTUMES in the poll at the end. On Sunday, November 6, the voting will close, and the top three will all receive Goodwill gift certificates ($100 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd, $25 for 3rd)!

Now, in the order that they entered, here are your finalists…
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