Looking out for each other at Goodwill

As many of us are recovering from the bustle and excitement of the almost-completed holiday season, it’s important to stop and remember those who are less fortunate. Each year, under the guidance of Receptionist Mardell Obermiller, employees at Goodwill Omaha gather together to hopefully make the holiday season a little more enjoyable for our coworkers who might be going through some hard times through our Food Drive and Mitten Tree.

And thanks to the generous employees here, the annual food drive enjoyed a bigger response than ever before!

Here’s how it works: Goodwill managers and supervisors nominate employee families who have been going through rough times and could use a little extra help for the holidays. This year, 18 families — comprising 61 people — were on that list.

But normally, even though employees donated a lot of food, it wouldn’t cover the need.

YouthBuild Omaha students helped sort the donated food.

“In the past, Jayney [Solo, former Employee Council president] and I would have to go out and buy food and ask for reimbursement from Goodwill,” said Obermiller. But this year, all of the food came from Goodwill employees.

Beyond the donated food, response to the Mitten Tree was also exceptional, as every person within each of the families will receive at least one gift.

So a big thanks goes out to everyone who helped, either by donating food or taking a mitten from the tree — but you may have been helping year-round without even realizing it.

A supplemental fund to help fill in any gaps in the donations is created in part from proceeds that Goodwill receives through our vending machine contracts.

So whenever you buy a snack from a machine, you’re helping fill that pot for next Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who contributed this year and hopefully made the holidays a bit more enjoyable for members of our Goodwill family. And thanks to Mardell Obermiller for once again inspiring everyone to help out!

The January issue of The Clothes Line is now available for download!

In this month’s issue:

  • Take a trip back through the last year as we look back on the events of 2012…
  • Find out about the amazing results from our 2012 Goodwill food drive…
  • Check out our exciting new Goodwill gift cards…
  • Learn about what goes in to putting together a giant tree…
  • Enjoy some holiday art made by some of our own AbilityOne employees…
  • Find out more about our new 2013 Board Socials…
  • Get a sneak peek at the upcoming annual dinner…
  • Read part 2 of Dave’s Top 10 Fitness Facts…
  • Another exciting word search…
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

Growing a Christmas tree

Thanks to the cooperation of a lot of different people, we have a magnificent 18-foot-tall tree in the public hallway here at our Benson Park Plaza headquarters!

It all started last week when Lead Custodian Tom Bessey, Custodian Rockie Smith and Receptionist Mardell Obermiller began the unpacking and assembly of the tree parts.

But then it sat like this for a few days. Some of us were wondering if there was a problem…
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Goodwill Participant Spotlight: Tracy Dohe

by Customer Connect Trainer Jennifer Hoye

Tracy Dohe

If you would’ve told Tracy Dohe ten years ago she’d be going back to school via Goodwill’s Customer Connect Program, she wouldn’t have believed you.

In 2011, Tracy began experiencing extreme knee pain. In August of that year, her doctor strongly advised her to quit her job as Lead Teacher at the Montessori Educational Center, because her knees couldn’t take it. Tracy, like so many, kept working.

“I was in disbelief. I had worked with kids my whole life and truly thought I could just work through [the pain],” she said.

Tracy enjoyed working and truly believed her knees would get better. They didn’t. In December 2011, her knees gave out; she collapsed at work and was unable to walk without surgery.

Needless to say she was no longer physically able to work with children as she always had. Tracy found herself at a crossroads.

“I just couldn’t walk,” she said. ”I felt defeated because I still had many years left to work.”

In June of 2012, Tracy made the commitment to improve her circumstance by enrolling in the Customer Connect Program. The program is offered by Goodwill Industries in partnership with Metropolitan Community College. Customer Connect trains individuals for employment as customer service representatives in the call centers of insurance and banking companies. The training takes place over the course of six months, and it consists of a variety of classes focusing on customer service and life skills.

Tracy saw a chance to gain skills outside of her previous experience. She has worked hard over the past six months — Tracy was the only student in her class with perfect attendance.

“Because of the Customer Connect program, I am feeling more confident to re-enter the workforce,” she said.

Tracy will graduate with her Customer Service Representative Specialist Diploma on November 19, 2012.

Tracy has been married to her husband, John for 31 years. John spent his career in the Army and retired 9 years ago. Tracy raised two children, has three grandchildren and over 20 years of experience in the Childcare and Montessori Industry.

Congratulations on all your hard work, Tracy!

Reserve: Goodwill in the Market’s 50% off sale — all this week!

Come check out our huge sale all this week at Reserve: Goodwill in the Market!

Reserve: Goodwill in the Market offers an eclectic blend of specially selected used clothing, accessories and household items ranging from vintage to modern, and from Monday December 3 through Sunday December 9, you can save 50% on select clothing items throughout the store.

So come on down all this week and save!