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

In this month’s issue:

  • We’re wrapping up DIVE into Goodwill week, a celebration of Goodwill’s diversity, inclusion, values and ethics, brought to you by the Management Development Program…
  • Meet our May Employee of the Month award winner, Norman Barnes…
  • Get to know the latest Edgar Award winner, Jana Marshall…
  • Learn more about our Summer Work Experience program…
  • Find out how AmeriCorps VISTAs are helping out at the career center…
  • Get the updates from our hugely successful job fair…
  • Planned Giving Director Erin Swanson tells us about the importance of community engagement for fundraising…
  • Look back on another amazingly successful Goodwill Golf Classic…
  • Learn about our recent awards, covering all aspects of the agency…
  • Birthdays, anniversaries and new hires…
  • …and more!

Visit our Publications page to download your copy today!

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Connecting people with jobs

It was approximately 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 20 and job seekers filed into the Benson Park Plaza lobby, anxiously waiting for the doors to their potential careers to open.

Business Outreach Specialists Regina Bell and Megan Sharpe, along with 24 local companies hustled to get tables, displays and information set up for the crowd to file through and learn more about career opportunities.

At noon the visitors were welcome to begin walking through the Durham room and begin inquiring about positions. Within the first hour of the event, more than 100 visitors signed in.

The career fair included many opportunities in different fields of work including customer service, health care and warehouse opportunities from employers like Target, West Corporation, Alegent Creighton Health and Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Some companies provided job seekers with samples such as 12 ounce bottles of Dr. Pepper or reusable shopping bags from Home Depot. Others provided opportunities to fill out applications and interview on the spot.

West Corporation alone was able to help 35 job seekers through the initial interview process and are currently awaiting background checks to be completed. Many employers made positive comments about the diverse amount of employers.

Having multiple industries involved attracted a wide variety of job seekers with a large array of talent and skills. Many employers even had multiple positions available.

Overall, more than 300 people attended the career fair with a large amount being referred through Goodwill’s very own programs like YouthBuild, Summer Work Experience, Customer Connect, WIA adult and youth programs and READY. Participants from Vocational Rehabilitation, PALS Program, Branching Out with Omaha Home for Boys and Step Up with Urban League also attended.

We also had a lot of media attention throughout the event which included two news stations and the Omaha World-Herald.

Congratulations to Megan, Regina and all other Goodwill staff who helped make this a successful event!

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Another classic day of golf

WOWT's John Knicely competed against golfers to see who could get closest to the hole.

It’s not every day you celebrate 15 years of hitting a little white ball in honor of Goodwill. Well, that’s what 132 golfers did on June 17 at Shadow Ridge Golf Course.

Goodwill hosted its 15th Annual Golf Classic, raising funds for our employment and training division. There were nearly 55 companies represented on the course, including our two title sponsors, Mutual of Omaha Bank and Gallagher Grace Mayer. Other top sponsors included Kiewit Building Group, American National Bank, Omaha Neon, Vital Support Systems and Fraser Stryker Law.

Golfers teed off at 11 a.m. and encountered various challenges along the course, including competing against WOWT’s John Knicely for closest to the hole. Nearly 25 Goodwill employees greeted staff and helped keep golfers on track throughout the day.

YouthBuild Coordinator Miriam Blair (center) introduces program participants Tracy Tate (left) and Joseph Martinez (right).

Afterwards, players were treated to a delicious dinner buffet and also learned a little bit about Goodwill. Guest speakers YouthBuild Coordinator Miriam Blair and program participants Tracy Tate and Joseph Martinez took to the podium and educated the crowd about YouthBuild. From the construction industry to attaining their GEDs, Tracy and Joseph educated everyone in the room about the benefits of a Goodwill program.

The event went off without a hitch and it was all made possible by a dedicated golf committee comprising local business volunteers and Goodwill staff.

To date, this event has raised more than $400,000, all of which has gone to support Goodwill’s mission of changing lives and strengthening communities through education, training and work.

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Charles Wilscam helped guide Goodwill into new era

Charles Wilscam

Charles A. Wilscam, Jr., who served Goodwill as a board member from 1988 to 2003, passed away on Friday, June 14. He was 85. Wilscam founded an architectural firm in 1965 that, through growth and merger, is known today as RDG Planning & Design.

Wilscam was named a Life Member of Goodwill’s Board of Trustees in 2003, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. In the 1990s, Goodwill partnered with RDG for the design of our 144th Street Store. Since then, RDG has teamed with Goodwill on every building and remodel project. RDG is now represented on our board by Joe Lang.

In 1951, he was the first member of his family to graduate from college, earning a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Nebraska. He was honored for valor during his service in Korea.

In 2004, Wilscam was the recipient of the Gold Medal for Architectural Excellence, the highest award bestowed by the Nebraska Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Charles and his wife, Beverly, who passed away last year, raised three daughters. In addition to Goodwill, he was involved with the Boys Scouts, the Landmarks Commission and others.

The family has suggested memorials to Goodwill Industries and the UNL School of Architecture.

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Dodgeball: A Team BLUE story

Goodwill’s very own Team BLUE recently competed in the 1st Annual Corporate Dodgeball Tournament hosted by Union Pacific’s Young Professionals Group, UP Ties. The event was held at the Creighton University Kiewit Fitness Center.

Each team consisted of eight players and as many sideline supporters as they could accrue. Team BLUE was one of more than 10 teams from other Omaha Metro area companies that competed.

Team BLUE players included employees from multiple departments of Goodwill: Michael Anderson, Garry Kern, Luis Lopez, Tina McGaugh and Laura Harris from E&T, Ann Bailey from Marketing, Mitchell Parks from Retail and Eric Syphers from QA.

Team captains Rebecca Armstrong and Angie Montgomery, as well as friends and family of the team arrived at the tournament in Goodwill colors, ready to cheer from the sidelines.

The games began at 11 a.m. After two beginning rounds, the teams were ranked and then single-elimination play began. Team BLUE fell into the last seed of the bracket.

Now that the team had played a couple games together and warmed up, it was time to face the number three seed team, BSC. This was it; the last chance to get into the “Elite 8.”

It was an intense game for the Goodwill dodgeballers, as the game seemed to last forever. It only took one final throw and that was it. The referee stopped the game and announced Team BLUE victorious. The team had fought hard and rightfully earned their spot in the Elite 8.

“My favorite moment of the tournament was when they announced us over the mic as the Cinderella story,” said Tina McGaugh.

“I have a couple favorite moments,” said Laura Harris. “Tina kicking butt all by herself against a full team, and when my husband asked if I was trying to give the balls to the other team after he saw me throw them.”

“I loved the girls hustle!” said Rebecca Armstrong. “Ann, Laura, and Tina were all at some point the last people on the court. Way to rep Goodwill. “

“My favorite moment was when we knocked off the number three seed and the DJ announced us an underdog for the next match,” said Eric Syphers.

Although the team kept their heads up and fought hard, Team BLUE was eliminated in the Elite 8. The team had a great day full of dodgeball, getting to know each other and just having fun.

Check out some highlights from our day below, and keep on the lookout for more fun Team BLUE events soon!

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Congratulations Donna Miller!

Donna Miller (right) with READY Specialist Sandy Ferrucci

Donna Miller has entered uncharted territory — she is the first student of Goodwill Omaha’s free computer classes to earn all four Microsoft Office certificates — Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Congratulations, Donna!

READY offers basic computer classes in Microsoft Office’s most popular programs. Students receive individual tutoring in a classroom setting, with one-on-one assistance and the freedom to work at their own speeds in Goodwill’s computer lab. Classes are held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza location, 4805 N 72nd St.

Call READY Specialist Sandy Ferrucci at (402) 231-1978 for more information!

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Mind-controlled flying robots have exciting implications for people with disabilities

I never thought I’d have an opportunity here at the GoodTimes blog to write about flying robots you control with your brain, but that’s the thing with flying robots — they always sneak up on you when you’re not expecting them.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have figured out a way to control flying robots using only brainwaves. Not only can they fly it around a large gymnasium, with all the tilts and turns that would require, but they can even fly it with enough precision to navigate through hoops!

And while few of us have a need to fly a robot through a ring (for now), the implications are great for those of us who may rely on robotics for mobility and access.

The technology, pioneered by [University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin] He, may someday allow people robbed of speech and mobility by neurodegenerative diseases to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or other devices. And it’s completely noninvasive: Brain waves (EEG) are picked up by the electrodes of an EEG cap on the scalp, not a chip implanted in the brain.


“I think the potential for [brain-computer interfaces] is very broad,” says He. “Next, we want to apply the flying robot technology to help disabled patients interact with the world.

“It may even help patients with conditions like stroke or Alzheimer’s disease. We’re now studying some stroke patients to see if it’ll help rewire brain circuits to bypass damaged areas.”

Read more at the University of Minnesota website, or watch the research team’s video below:

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The Reserve treasure that won the contest

We recently held a Reserve Instagram contest, in which shoppers were invited to take a photo of something they purchased or saw at Reserve: Goodwill in the Market. We took the entries, wrote them on a piece of paper, put them in a cup and drew out a winner of a $50 Goodwill gift card. And our winner, Kelli of Omaha, has graciously agreed to tell us a little bit about the Reserve find that won the contest!

Take it away, Kelli:

Some people love a beer after a long day of work. Some people enjoy a trip to the casino. My vice is vintage clothing – specifically, 80’s trophy jackets. Shoulder-padded, beaded, sequined, silk monstrosities.

I’ve amassed a small stockpile of these relics and most of them are from Goodwill.

When I wear a trophy jacket, the heavy beading and shoulder pads make me feel safer – almost like armor. And, as many innocent bystanders on the dance floor will attest, getting hit by a beaded shoulder pad is no joke.

So you can imagine the rush I experienced when I learned I won the Goodwill Omaha Instagram contest for simply submitting a photo of me in one of my favorites. I won a $50 gift card to Goodwill!

Whoa. It’s like I’m getting PAID to wear trophy jackets!

Much to my husband’s horror, I’m probably going to use my gift card to buy more trophy jackets.

Thank you, Goodwill!

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