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

In this month’s issue:

  • We got the YouthBuild grant, but what does that mean for the program?
  • Meet our June Employee of the Month award winner, Eric Renschler, and our Manager of the Quarter, Neal Obermeyer…
  • Get to know Jacob Brown, a former participant who has gone on to be a valued employee…
  • Learn about the results of the Marketing Department’s satisfaction survey…
  • Catch up on how AbilityOne employees at the Denney Building celebrated DIVE into Goodwill week…
  • Get behind the scenes with GoodBytes on their amazing hot streak…
  • Planned Giving Director Erin Swanson tells us about the role of endowments…
  • Meet our second-quarter Lifesaver and Above & Beyond champions…
  • 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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Closing out the Summer Work Experience session

We told you about the Summer Work Experience session back in the July issue of the Clothes Line. But in case you missed it, it’s a new program that gives special education students who just completed their high school education an opportunity to gain exposure to work situations in a supportive environment while expanding their job-readiness skills.

Six young people with disabilities have worked at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza headquarters this summer, performing a number of duties on both the administrative side of Goodwill and the retail production side. They also work with Trainer Jen Hoye on job-readiness skills like interview practice, preparing job applications and exploring career opportunities.

The students wanted to close out their time this summer with a fun video, so below you can see the Summer Work Experience crew in their very own Harlem Shake performance. Take it away, team! And congratulations on your successful summer — it has been great having you around!

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Buenas VISTAs!

Eleven volunteers from the AmeriCorps VISTA program — which stands for Volunteers In Service To America — are fulfilling their service commitments around the Heartland Workforce Solutions (HWS) career center this summer, working as navigators, developing workshops, assisting as career specialists and more.

Eileen Buzzello

Eileen Buzzello, a year-round VISTA who works for HWS, said people at the agency had been talking about how they could increase the services at the career center without having the budget to actually hire more people. Being a VISTA herself, Eileen knew about the program and applied for funding.

The Summer VISTA Program is a 10-week commitment in which volunteers work full-time, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week.

Five VISTAs are working directly with participants in the resource room, helping with job searches and assessments and connecting clients with other resources in the building.

Navigator and VISTA volunteer Brittany Joe is originally from Pasadena and recently graduated from college.

“I was homeless for a time, and I had an amazing support system,” she said. “So when I graduated, I thought I would give back to the community because so much was given to me.”

Brittany said that even though technically she is helping people find jobs, much of what they end up teaching are life skills. Many clients can’t even begin to apply for jobs without being shown how to use the internet and set up an email account.

Brittany studied marketing in college — not social work — so working as a navigator was a big change. But orientation prepared her for the challenges and educated her about the population, and she’s also found a way to apply her marketing education.

“We’re working on developing a community awareness survey to learn why more people aren’t coming in,” she said. She hopes to have the survey completed by the end of her summer term so she can interpret the data and propose recommendations.

This summer is Brittany’s first time volunteering for VISTA. She said she was terrified coming to Omaha, but said the people at the center are an amazing group, and now she is considering staying in the city at the end of her term.

Linda Williams

Linda Williams, a VISTA volunteer and workshop trainer at the career center, is an Omaha resident who is in her third stint with the program. She has previously worked with Habitat for Humanity and Metropolitan Community College, and now she finds herself training the underprivileged to become employed.

Linda is currently developing curriculum for an entrepreneur training workshop, sharing her own background with those who want to start their own businesses.

“I’ve been a contractor for 13 years,” Linda said. “I know the ropes.”

Like Brittany, Linda plans to finish her research and planning by the end of the summer and then turn it over to HWS to implement.

Ultimately, Brittany and Linda and their nine fellow summer VISTAs will help fulfill the HWS goal of helping to deliver more and better services to the clients of the career center.

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Friday link roundup – July 12

Here’s a handful of links that didn’t make it into posts of their own.

  • I feel like we’re running out of original things for people to include in their “Here are some easy ways to go green!” lists that aren’t hit-you-over-the-head obvious, like “Reuse your grocery bags!” or “Turn off the lights when you leave a room!”, but DailyDanny.com has a List of five ways to go green that include one I haven’t heard or thought of before, at least not in the “going green” context:

    2.Overnight shipping may get your package there in a jiffy, but it also uses a tremendous amount of fuel (not to mention money) to make it happen. If it doesn’t absolutely, positively have to be there overnight, opt for ground shipping, which uses more fuel-efficient trucks to move packages. One insider tip? If you ground ship between major cities that are close to each other, the chances are it will still arrive the next day at the much cheaper ground shipping price. Shipping packages between Philadelphia and New York City or Los Angeles and San Francisco almost always arrive the next day this way.

    You can check out the other four at his site.

  • Spoiler alert: Crafting a Green World’s How to Update a Vintage Cookie Jar tutorial is essentially “find an old cookie jar and spray-paint it white,” but in case seeing this tutorial inspires you to look at some old junk in a new way, I thought I’d take the chance and include it.
  • Artist Chad Wright came up with a poignant way to depict the rising oceans and their implications on modern society. TreeHugger has the details.

Have a great weekend!

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The Summer 2013 Drive for Drives is July 24!

What’s this? A summer Drive for Drives? That’s right! Your eyes and calendars do not deceive you. What used to just be a spring and fall donation drive has now come to the summer!

Wednesday, July 24, Goodwill Omaha once again teams up with the Omaha West Rotary Club and WOWT Channel 6 to collect your used computers and electronics equipment. There is no charge to get rid of your old computers. And just like this spring, we’ll be back at the Cinema Center parking lot just southeast of 84th & Center from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Goodwill employees, Rotary volunteers and YouthBuild Omaha students will be on hand to collect your donations, getting you in and out in no time!

Your donated computers and other electronics will either be resold at our GoodBytes store at 72nd & F or broken down and recycled through our partnership with Dell Reconnect. Either way, these materials are staying out of landfills and helping generate revenue to support our employment and training programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

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Check out our Annual Report

Our 2012 Annual Report is out, and this year, we’ve decided to put it all online.

BuildingHopeOmaha.org is our online document of 2012, with all the highlights of the past year — success stories of our participants, agency changes, retail growth, tributes to our supporters, financials and more.

The online format allows us to share even more about the agency throughout 2012, including videos. You can’t watch videos on a paper report! At least not within our budget. So stop by BuildingHopeOmaha.org and check out all that we were up to last year!

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