Guest Blog: Welcoming Fall


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

Fall finally feels like it’s here to stay in Omaha, doesn’t it? Fall means warm drinks, earthy colors, fuzzy sweaters, and BOOTS! I love shoes in general (proof here), but finding shoes at Goodwill is the best because the price is so affordable. The boots I’m wearing in this particular post I bought at one of the Omaha Goodwills for $15 — and they normally retail for upwards of $200 at department stores.

To find the best quality and the best deals at Goodwill, try shopping out of season. I bought these boots in June. They were sitting on the shelf being overlooked by everyone in favor of summery sandals and wedges. I knew I’d have to wait at least another three months before Mother Nature gave me the chance to wear them, but the price I paid was well worth my patience.

So this fall and winter, instead of buying sweaters and winter coats, try shopping in the short-sleeve shirts and summery dresses for the best deals. You never know what bargains you’ll find!


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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Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“When I was growing up, many people doubted what I could do just because I was blind. But because I had people in my life who instilled in me an expectation of work and showed me opportunities to be successful, I completed college and became known for what I can do,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy when announcing this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, which is “Because We Are EQUAL to the Task.”

Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, Goodwill will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate its employees and customers on the role our organization plays in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.. These efforts include thank you notes to our partners for supporting employment opportunities, presentations at our monthly company-wide meetings, and blog posts like this.

“Goodwill is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” says Director of Federal Contracts Tobi Mathouser. “We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.”

Goodwill Omaha employs many people with disabilities through SourceAmerica.  SourceAmerica issues AbilityOne contracts that allow nonprofits like Goodwill perform service contracts on federal properties, while employing people with disabilities in the process.  This program allows Goodwill to employ over 100 people with disabilities each year, at an average wage of $9.19 per hour. 

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website.

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It’s time for the BOO!dwill Halloween Costume Contest!

The BOO!dwill Halloween Costume Contest won’t stay dead, nor should it! Because it’s that time a year again when you need to start thinking “Halloween costume” and “Goodwill” in the same sentence!

Goodwill is an awesome place to shop for Halloween costumes. Are you someone who likes to dream up some creative outfit and enjoys the hunt for just the right pieces? We have fifteen stores around town (sixteen if you are going to use electronic components in your costume and thus want to include GoodBytes) where you can find those costume ingredients. Or are you someone who just wants a quick and easy costume so you’re not the person dressed up as “suburbanite” or “adult” at the Halloween party? We’ve got plenty of more traditional costumes too! And no matter which camp you fall into, your costume purchases at Goodwill stores help put people to work — and they can win you some treats.

We want to see what you’ve come up with by shopping at our stores, so it’s time show off your costume and win prizes in the process — by entering the BOO!dwill Halloween Costume Contest!

To enter:
1. Between now and 5 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013, e-mail a photo of yourself in a costume you either purchased or assembled from items purchased at an Omaha area Goodwill to [email protected]. Please make sure to email your photo. We will share them on on social media pages, but the amount of “likes” or “favorites” does not determine the winners due to social media rules and regulations.

2. In the email, tell us your name, how to contact you, and at which store(s) you bought your costume.

That’s it! We’ll be sharing the entries as we receive them on our Facebook wall. On Tuesday, November 5, we will select our favorites, and those finalists will be posted here at the GoodTimes Blog for a public vote. On Friday, November 8, the voting will close, and the top three will all receive Goodwill gift certificates ($100 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd, $25 for 3rd)!

If you have any questions, post them here in the comments or send us an e-mail at [email protected]. And if you’d like some inspiration, check out last year’s finalists or television coverage of some of our Halloween offerings:

Finding Affordable Halloween Costumes a Real Treat – WOWT Omaha
Shop Goodwill for Halloween Costumes – KMTV Omaha

Good luck!

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Celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month


Goodwill employees at Offutt Air Force Base

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month! This is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The 2013 theme is: “Because we are EQUAL to the Task”.  With that in mind, check out these Best Practices for working effectively with people with disabilities. 

Best Practices for Working Effectively with People with Disabilities! 

Employee Best Practices

  1. Educate yourself and be sensitive towards the specials needs and challenges faced by people with disabilities.
  2. Focus on what the person can do, not what he/she can’t do.
  3. Don’t make assumptions about what people with disabilities can or cannot do in the workplace.
  4. Be aware of appropriate language and terminology when talking with people with disabilities. Always put the PERSON first.
  5. Include people with disabilities in informal conversations and activities.
  6. Ask questions if you are not sure about what to do.
  7. Speak-up when you hear negative or derogatory comments about people with disabilities.

Managerial Best Practices

  1. Regularly communicate your commitment to hire, advance and retain people with disabilities.
  2. Actively seek and recruit candidates with disabilities. Reach out to disability-related organizations or programs to increase the pool of candidates for an open position.
  3. Review the essential functions and competency requirements of the job, the qualifications of the individual, and the availability of reasonable accommodations when hiring a person with a disability.
  4. Test accommodations and adaptations once the person is on the job. Ask the employee with a disability to help in the process.
  5. Provide training and mentoring opportunities to people with disabilities to support upward mobility and career advancement.
  6. Provide positive and constructive feedback to people with disabilities.
  7. Take proactive steps to ensure that all employees are valued and included by their co-workers.
  8. Be flexible with regard to the way certain tasks are done. For example, a manager may need to adjust a checklist or alter instructions to ensure an employee is most productive.


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