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

In this month’s issue:

  • The Goodwill Summer Movie Preview is here! Join Brent Koster and Neal Obermeyer as they run through the biggest releases of Summer 2013, giving you the synopsis, Goodwill angle on the movie and their own impressions…
  • Learn about our recent awards, covering all aspects of the agency…
  • Meet our April Employee of the Month award winner, Marcus Nelsson…
  • Find out about our new Engagement Coach program…
  • Get updates on our recent burst of donation drives…
  • Catch up with the Team BLUE dodgeball team…
  • Meet a program participant who turned his life around with help from the WIA adult program…
  • Planned Giving Director Erin Swanson updates us on the success of Omaha Gives!
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

Please follow and like us:
0

Another green year

green-bannerEnvironmental awareness has long been a priority of Goodwill, whether it’s the green building practices we teach in YouthBuild, the environmental friendliness of our store construction, or simply the act of keeping goods out of landfills by way of donating and reselling. But we took it to another level last year.

In 2012, energy conservation specifically was a big part of Goodwill Industries International’s (GII) agenda – so much that GII established a movement-wide friendly competition to see which agency could best improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. Facilities Manager Ross Tremaine said the agency began replacing the lighting at all of its stores in the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) area last spring.

“We changed out all of the lights to more energy-efficient bulbs,” he said. “That was in conjunction with rebates that OPPD is offering in an effort to help businesses go green; we are taking full advantage.”

Tremaine said that the light output of the new bulbs is equivalent, if not better, while using less power – creating both energy and financial savings. The contest results will be in sometime in mid-2013, but even if we don’t win, we’re making a difference.

There’s been a noticeable change in some of our back rooms as well. When we opened our 78th & Dodge retail store in November 2011, the space we moved into wasn’t large enough to accommodate a trash compactor — a fixture in the back room at all of our retail stores. The plan was to have a truck come by several times a day to pick up the store’s trash and take it down to the Retail Operations Center, where it could be compacted and sent away.

But that didn’t end up happening. The 78th & Dodge retail team were so cautious about what they discarded — while being more mindful of what could be recycled — that those multiple daily trash pickups turned into just single pickups — less than half of what was expected. And once they set that example, our retail operations department asked itself if it could replicate this success elsewhere.

This hole once housed the Benson Park store's trash compactor.

This hole once housed the Benson Park store’s trash compactor.

The answer was such a resounding “Yes” that in July 2012, our Benson Park Plaza store’s compactor was removed completely.

In 2011, the Benson Park Plaza store was averaging two trash pickups per month. But in 2012, the store manager and staff were doing such a great job monitoring their trash that they averaged fewer than one per month.

Goodwill employees have been so effective at ensuring the efficient sorting of all of our donations — whether those donations are going to the sales floor, to the WearHouse, to GoodBytes or separated for recycling — that our trash compactors are seeing only a fraction of the use that they once were. The retail department’s trash bill in 2012 was less than half of what it was in 2011. It’s also great for the environment, as we send less and less to landfills even as our operations continue to grow. And it’s great for our donors, who can be assured that their donations are being put to their best use.

As a result of the hard work at all of our locations, our recycling numbers across the agency continue to climb. In 2012, we recycled more than 5.9 million pounds of clothing, more than 390,000 pounds of shoes, more than 987,000 pounds of computers and computer components, more than 295,000 pounds of cardboard, more than 20,000 pounds of paper and more than 10,000 pounds of plastic.

It’s just another way our retail department demonstrates its commitment to the agency and the environment.

Please follow and like us:
0

Development in 2012

In 2012, Goodwill took a big step forward on a new initiative through our strategic plan to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training and work. That initiative was the development and implementation of a planned giving program.

Goodwill is so fortunate to have so many loyal and impactive donors both financially and through material good donations; both kinds of donors are the lifeline of our mission-based programs. However, as you all know, times are changing and our funding support from the federal government is decreasing every day. In order for Goodwill to continue to offer programming and jobs for the people who need them most, we must increase our philanthropic efforts in planned giving. We must become a self-sustaining organization, and the best way we can do this is by growing our working capital through planned gifts from donors like you.

Planned giving is a method of supporting Goodwill that enables donors like you to make larger gifts than you could make from your income. A planned gift is any major gift, made in lifetime or at death as part of your overall financial or estate plan.

Whether you use cash, appreciated securities/stock, real estate, artwork, partnership interests, personal property, life insurance, a retirement plan, etc., the benefits of funding a planned gift can make this type of charitable giving very attractive to you.

Planned gifts provide future support for Goodwill. Contributions by will, trust, other forms of written designation, life-income arrangements and endowment gifts, all represent forms of planned giving.

Any individual, at any point in your life, can create a planned gift. All these gifts represent a powerful and meaningful way for you to create a philanthropic legacy for our community and Goodwill.

Goodwill has also joined into a partnership with the Omaha Community Foundation to assist donors in easily making a contribution of a charitable gift annuity to Goodwill.

If you are interested in learning more about planned giving or making a financial contribution to Goodwill, please contact Erin Swanson, Director of Planned Giving at 402.231.1925.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Chris Parker

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Chris to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

As a teenager, Chris Parker lived for the day, giving little thought to his responsibilities, his future, or even his safety. His mother had passed away, and most of his friends seemed destined for jail – or worse.

“I was in a bad place,” he deadpanned.

Then the birth of his first child shocked him into a new reality. He got serious and took control of his life. He finished high school – step one – but with few job prospects and no prior work history, he faced an uncertain future.

Chris met Partnership Case Manager Garry Kern, who would channel Chris’s newfound motivation into a brighter future. The trades interested him, perhaps carpentry or electrical work. After a few job-shadowing experiences, he made up his mind: plumbing. That was the career for him.

Chris earned an apprenticeship at Associated Builders and Contractors, where he divides his time between training and hands-on experience. He also works on the maintenance crew at an apartment complex.

And he got married. In fact, his wife, DaWanna Wren, joined Chris on a trip to Washington D.C. for Goodwill’s annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, and the trip served as their honeymoon. Yes, they were able to squeeze in a little dining and sight-seeing, too.

Chris spoke about how the Partnership program — funded by Workforce Investment Act dollars — changed his life, and his story seemed to resonate with his listeners.

“So often, as a Senator, you don’t get to hear how these programs really affect people,” said Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns. “Thank you for coming here and telling your story.”

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Paul Smith

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Paul to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

The role of a father in a child’s life is something that weighs heavily on Paul Smith. He grew up in an abusive household with a father who didn’t work much.

“He was angry and took it out on us and my mom,” Paul said. “I didn’t have much of a childhood. School was a way of getting away from him.”

Now, Paul is a single father who desperately wants a better life for his daughter. But he was already behind once he graduated from high school, and he struggled to maintain any kind of meaningful employment. That’s when he turned to Goodwill for help.

Paul’s career specialist helped him set up a resume and search for jobs. “If I needed advice, he was there to give it to me,” Paul said.

Soon Paul found a job with Goodwill as part of the night custodial crew. “I was able to pay the bills and get off welfare,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on welfare. I’d rather be working and knowing I was accomplishing something in my life.”

“Paul has a lot of integrity,” said his Goodwill supervisor. “He wants to provide for his daughter. He doesn’t want to be a scapegoat; he wants to be part of her life. And you see that integrity in his work life too.”

“Goodwill is a place for help — they support you,” Paul said. “There are a lot of people at Goodwill who are willing to help you. I hope my daughter doesn’t have to go through the same struggles I did in life, so thank you, Goodwill, for giving me a chance.”

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Jasmine Jackson

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Jasmine to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

Jasmine Jackson has never known what it was like to hear. Doctors tested her hearing for a few days after she was born and discovered she was deaf.

“My family was shocked,” she said.

Jasmine’s family had a very difficult time trying to communicate with her at first, but they found books and other learning opportunities to try to understand how it feels to be around deaf people.

“My whole family knows how to sign now,” she said. “They learned while I was a child, and now they fully understand me.”

When Jasmine was a junior in high school, she wanted to learn and get more work experience, so she enrolled in Goodwill’s Work Experience program, where she learned how to stock and sort clothing at Goodwill stores in addition to some data entry and filing work.

“When Jasmine first came, she was more shy and reserved and not as willing to ask questions,” said Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik, Jasmine’s trainer in the program at the time. “The biggest improvement we saw with Jasmine was the willingness to ask questions when she didn’t understand something. For deaf culture, that can be a barrier, but Jasmine has definitely overcome it.”

Sarah said that Jasmine really took to clerical work, excelling in her tasks in the program, and she transitioned very smoothly into a job at Mutual of Omaha.

“[Work Experience] gave me a lot of training, and it helped me learn a lot of skills and how to look for jobs,” Jasmine said.

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Jesse Twohig

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Jesse to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

Jesse Twohig struggled with depression growing up. It was such a part of his life that he spent time hospitalized, and his struggles began affecting his education.

“I had been diagnosed my freshman year, and I just found any excuse not to go to school,” he said. By the time his sophomore year rolled around, he was behind in his education. His school enrolled him in special programs, but he wasn’t progressing.

“I just couldn’t stand going to school,” he said. One of his teachers referred him to Goodwill’s Partnership program. Jesse enrolled because it seemed like a good way to get his education back on track and build a firm footing for his future.

Jesse’s career specialist at the time, Dani McPherson, said she saw him grow from the program.

“Something big I noticed in Jesse was that he became more self-motivated and determined,” she said. “He has the confidence to do anything he sets his mind to, and now he comes up with ideas of what he wants to do, and he goes after it.”

Jesse obtained his GED and went on to Metropolitan Community College, where he is pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: James Gibbons

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Jim to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

This is the tale of James Gibbons, the AbilityOne postal worker who makes Goodwill look good every day at the base’s post office. Supervisor Manuel Santiago calls Jim the “ultimate team player,” noting that he’s always willing to go above and beyond to make sure his assigned tasks are completed with excellent results.

Jim’s hearing is impaired, but he doesn’t let his affect his performance. He is the perfect example of an individual who overcomes barriers and becomes an exceptional employee. Goodwill is lucky to have him.

“Jim is an individual who takes action and insures that all work is accomplished regardless of whether it’s his responsibility or not,” Manuel said. “He helps others by volunteering and helping with what needs to be done.”

He can be counted on to make sure all the mail runs are performed on the base, and meters all outgoing mail. These are integral tasks for the mail crews each day, which Jim’s supervisors never have to worry about. His willingness to proactively handle these duties makes the crew run efficiently.

So join us in congratulating our very own Jim Gibbons. Our Postal team wouldn’t be the same without him.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Justine Fowler

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Kim to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

As a custodian at Offutt in the AbilityOne program, Justine Fowler is well-known for her solid work ethic, but the main attribute her supervisors cite is her friendliness.

For some of us, friendliness isn’t a huge obstacle. But for shy people like Justine, it can be a struggle. When she joined her custodial crew, she had a difficult time communicating with people. She chose to write notes to avoid having to talk to her coworkers. We can all relate to this feeling, but for Justine the challenge of interacting with coworkers, supervisors and government personnel seemed daunting.

But Justine never gave up. She struggled with her attendance early, missing several days, but she is now attending work regularly. Which is very good news for her entire crew, because Justine has become a champion for people like her. Her supervisors note that one area of growth has been her ability to make others feel welcome in the workplace.

The staff at Offutt now takes pride in Justine’s friendliness, and her ability to get along well with everyone on the base. She is now able to talk to her co-workers and supervisors alike, and her satisfaction with this progress is evident. Her supervisors note that Justine always has a smile and a sense of well being when she is working.

So congratulations to Justine for showing us all what can happen when we persevere through adversity. She is an excellent example for all the things that can happen, when we don’t give up on ourselves.

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0

24 Hours of Goodwill Omaha: Kim Streit

To support Goodwill and the opportunities it provides to people like Kim to achieve self-sufficiency through the power of work, please consider making a gift today as part of Omaha Gives!, the 24-hour online-giving event through the Omaha Community Foundation. In addition to supporting our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, your gift to Goodwill during Omaha Gives! makes us eligible for matching funds from other generous supporters. Visit our Omaha Gives! page to make a gift today.

Thank you!

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.

Visit GoodwillOmaha.org/OmahaGives to make a gift today.

Please follow and like us:
0