See what’s happening at 72nd & Ames

I’d like you all to meet Paul. He’s a student in our Work Experience Program at the Blair store, and for the past month, he has been job shadowing in our Marketing department.

Paul is very interested in video. He’s made music videos (one of his videos was so impressive, the band Kansas gave him a shout-out), instructional programs and interviews, all using his handheld HD camera and some exceptionally creative camera work and detailed editing. He’d like to pursue a career in video production, so this week, we decided to make a short video showing off the programs and services here at our 72nd & Ames headquarters.

First, Paul and I sat down to work on a script. We broke it up into two parts — the sections he would be hosting on-camera, and the sections he would be voicing over footage of our programs. Once we were satisfied with that, we headed outside to shoot his standups. The plan was that I would shoot the scenes in which Paul was on camera, but he would shoot and direct everything else. Paul also oversaw the editing process, as we reviewed our footage, selected our best takes, and assembled our final edit. We finished this 90-second project from scratch in just under two hours!

Work Experience is Goodwill Omaha’s oldest program, having been active since the 1960s. In Work Experience, students from area high schools in special education programs have an opportunity to work at Goodwill stores in a supportive environment. At the stores, they gain a variety of practical work experience, including retail production, custodial and clerical tasks, better preparing to take their first steps transitioning from an educational setting to the professional working world.

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Guest Blog: Work-Appropriate Shoes

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Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at Re-Mix-Her.com who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

Women can spend a fortune on shoes. We all need shoes for working out, weekends, work parties, errands, nights out, and work. The list can go on and on, and finding shoes for all of these events in life can get expensive quickly, especially if you buy shoes new from department stores.

Work-appropriate shoes can be the most difficult to find and the most expensive to buy, but if you stop by your local Goodwill to find some, nine times out of ten you’re sure to find something that works. My tip for finding shoes that “work” for work: look for a classic shape in a 1 – 3-inch heel (depending on what you feel most comfortable in). Classic shapes to keep an eye out for are pointy and round toes, and look for shoes in materials that will hold up throughout uses and seasons.

The shoes above I found at a local Omaha Goodwill for $4. They’re suede with ankle straps and a 2-inch heel. When paired with trousers, a silky blouse, and a blazer, they make for the perfect work look that transition well into an after-work activity.

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Next month, I’ll be sharing another Goodwill find of the month. I’m a personal-style blogger and update my blog daily with outfits and other inspirations, so stop by my blog and say hi!

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Guest blog: Repurposing an old dresser into a changing table

Being a decorator at heart, one of the very first things my husband and I did when we found out we were pregnant with our first child was decide what we wanted the nursery to look like. At first I had grandiose ideas – I had visions of white furniture with adorable pink accessories everywhere. My husband hated the idea of white furniture – he wanted dark wood for the room. We went back and forth for quite a while but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to buy furniture that we could you use for all our children. Dark wood it was!

Living on a tight budget, we knew we need to be conscious of our spending when decorating the baby room. We decided to buy a brand new crib and chair for the room but wanted to do something different for the changing table. My husband and I both love to get our hands dirty and repurpose old “junk” so we thought it would be really great to take an old dresser and turn it into a changing table. I immediately went on the hunt at Goodwill for the perfect dresser. I found this beauty at the 72nd and Ames location. The minute I saw it, I knew it would be perfect. I especially loved the old knobs and details of the legs.

This was the first time my husband and I had refinished a piece of furniture in this way, so we had a couple questions before we started. The employees at our local hardware store were very helpful. We started by taking all the knobs off and sanding down the entire dresser, including the drawers and legs. We then added a rim of wood to the sides and back with some help from my brother-in-law. We debated about adding the rim but like the fact that it’s an added safety precaution when changing diapers. My husband then used a gel stain that went on very easily and gave a great color to the wood. Lastly my husband put a couple coats of polyurethane on the piece.

We were so pleased with the finished product and how it looks in our daughter’s room, and our daughter loves it too! We can’t believe we bought the dresser for $40 and put about $30 into the restoration. A great piece of furniture that will be with our family for many years to come – and we can say we refinished ourselves!

See? Proof that it's great -- she loves it!

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Mission at work: 156th & Maple

Goodwill Omaha works hard to improve the employability of our program participants and staff. Here are a few examples of how Goodwill’s mission is at work at our 156th & Maple location:

Sam Gonzelez (r), a clerk at our store at 156th & Maple, is helping Marlene Mosher (l), a clothing processor, learn the ins-and-outs of the computerized register. Marlene hopes to some day be considered for an assistant manager position at one of Goodwill’s 15 retail locations.

Work Experience is Goodwill Omaha’s longest-running training program. We help high school students with special needs develop job skills for successful future careers. Chris Casey (l), a Goodwill Work Experience trainer, has a great working relationship with Dennisha B. and Jake C. (r), who are processing clothing at the 156th & Maple store.

Goodwill is opening a new store in Gretna this October! To provide the best customer service possible, Goodwill has already started hiring quality people. But where do they train while the walls are going up in Gretna? At Goodwill’s other metro area facilities! Diann Kollbaum (l) will be a sorter/hanger when Gretna’s doors open, but she’s been training/working at 156th & Maple. Julie Bell (r) store manager at 156th, was excited to take Diann under her wing. Even with Diann’s hearing impairment, the two have found a way to communicate and get the job done.

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Guest blog: Simple Pieces

Editor’s note: Say hello to Caitlin! She’s a personal style blogger at Re-Mix-Her.com who also loves Goodwill! Caitlin will be sharing some of her favorite Goodwill finds with you each month here at the GoodTimes Blog.

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I have a theory: Shopping is the female equivalent of hunting. You spend hours watching and waiting for that great deal to come along, and when you finally find your treasure, you have to pull the trigger on it. I find my most satisfying “hunting” experiences usually come when I’m shopping at secondhand stores. Finding that piece in your size for a fraction of the original price? There’s no better feeling.

During one of this month’s excursions to one of the local Omaha Goodwills, I stumbled upon this Michael Michael Kors bag for less than $10. I’d been searching for a summery, straw bag, but even with summer coming to a close and all the warm-weather merchandise headed for the clearance racks, I still wasn’t willing to shell out big bucks for a bag I’d only get a little use out of until next summer.

Enter the bag seen to the right.

To get the most out of my bag before the fall fashion season hits, I’ve been trying to carry it as much as possible. A bag this beautiful should take center stage, so I paired it with subdued summer classics: a chambray blouse (also found at Goodwill a few years ago), a cream, lace skirt, wedges, and gold accessories.

Next month, I’ll be sharing another Goodwill find of the month. I’m a personal-style blogger and update my blog daily with outfits and other inspirations, so stop by my blog and say hi! You can also see the original post where this Michael Michael Kors bag debuted by clicking here.

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