Stay tuned as this blog post will serve as a platform for detailed information in the occasion that a Goodwill location will be closed or have a delayed start due to inclement weather. We will also post on our social media channels as it happens. Thanks for supporting Goodwill!
Goodwill is proud to administer the YouthBuild Omaha program in partnership with AmeriCorps. YouthBuild supports young adults as they conduct community service while pursuing their GED. Participants engage in construction skills training and have the opportunity to receive various professional certifications as they complete their community service requirements.
Members of this year’s YouthBuild class have being busy working to fulfill their AmeriCorps-required community service hours. Since joining the class this fall, the last few months have presented some opportunities outside the usual construction training volunteer opportunities.
In October several participants helped with Goodwill’s first Halloween Trunk-or-Treat community event. Those who participated did an excellent job of making the guests feel welcome while handing out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters.
In November a group of YouthBuild participants assisted Heartland Hope Mission assembling and distributing Thanksgiving gift baskets. They were directed to gather donated food items from around the facility and prepare the basket. The volunteers were friendly and enjoyed interacting with the clients as they helped them to their vehicles.
Family Housing Advisory hosted various volunteer opportunities throughout December. YouthBuild decorated their Lake Point Center for the annual Christmas in the Village event. Keep Omaha Beautiful provided supplies for participants to clean up the streets before and after the event. They also stuffed envelopes for community members to learn about potential upcoming changes to the tax code.
It has become tradition for YouthBuild to model ugly holiday sweaters on The Morning Blend talk show. Several participants took the opportunity to strut their stuff for the camera. They enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at the news studio and interacting with the hosts on air.
Through these special projects, daily GED classes and construction skills training, participants show professionalism and a dedication to developing themselves while helping their community. The YouthBuild team looks forward to what is to come in 2018!
Goodwill Omaha is proud to participate in the first Washington County Gives! a 24-hour charitable challenge organized by the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce and Blair Area Community Foundation. The online giving event will take place on November 28 starting at midnight.
All funds raised by Goodwill support our Work Experience program in Blair. Goodwill’s Work Experience program provides students in special education services an opportunity to gain exposure to a work situation in a supportive environment. By participating in Work Experience, students can take the first step in making the transition from a school setting to the world of work.
The Work Experience program at Goodwill’s retail store in Blair allows students with disabilities the opportunity to experience aspects of employment. From following a supervisor’s instructions to staying on task, students are gaining valuable skills to assist in the transition from the classroom to employment.
Earlier this month, the Blair Work Experience staff hosted an Open House to invite student’s families, teachers and community members to see what the students have been learning this semester. Blair Work Experience Trainer, Jenny organized an engaging night for both students and guests that included student-led store tours, face painting and craft tables. Students demonstrated the skills they’ve learned through the Work Experience program and guests enjoyed seeing the students in action.
Your support will allow Goodwill to continue to provide these opportunities for students in Washington County. Help us continue to change lives and strengthen our community by giving to Goodwill’s Work Experience program in Blair during Washington County Gives!
- Visit WCNEGives.org on Tuesday November 28, 2017
- Click “DONATE NOW”
- Select “Goodwill Industries Inc.” to support Goodwill’s Work Experience program in Blair!
Last week Goodwill celebrated employees that have served in the Armed Forces and their many contributions to our agency. From the retail stores to administrative staff, Goodwill is proud to employ many veterans from diverse backgrounds.
Meet Simon and Ken. They work at one of Goodwill’s AbilityOne federal contract locations. Through AbilityOne, Goodwill provides employment for individuals with disabilities in a supportive work environment at several federal properties across Nebraska.
Simon and Ken explain their journey from serving in the Armed Forces to employment at Goodwill. They share the skills they gained while serving and how they continue to utilize them today.
Simon joined the Army at 19 years old. He decided to join after graduating high school and feeling unfulfilled while working at fast food restaurants. He knew that there was more for him to learn and enlisting in the Army was a great way to achieve personal growth. Simon shared his initial impressions after enlisting, “Basic training was tough. I wasn’t sure I could make it through, but once I did I found so many other opportunities were available to me.” Simon explained that the Army taught him about responsibility, reliability, dependability – some of the most important aspects of becoming an adult.
After leaving the Army and several years of unemployment, Simon found an opportunity at Goodwill. He said, “Goodwill just felt right.” He loves coming to work every day because of the people – his coworkers, supervisors and the people they serve. Simon expressed his gratitude for all the opportunities he has been afforded since coming to work at Goodwill.
Ken served in the Army Reserves for 16 years. Ken enlisted because he wanted to better himself and get more education. Ken explained the various jobs that he learned while in the Army Reserves and how he overcame challenges throughout his career. While being deployed in Iraq, Ken was exposed to many difficult situations in an unfamiliar place, but it opened his eyes to what he was able to accomplish.
When asked about how he decided to work at Goodwill, Ken happily exclaimed, “Goodwill chose me!” Ken also looks forward to coming to work because of the people he gets to work with. He appreciates the opportunities to continue his personal growth at Goodwill.
Goodwill is proud to provide employment opportunities for people like Simon and Ken. Their strong work ethic and dedication are a tremendous asset to our team. Goodwill is honored to serve those that have served our country.
We are extremely happy to be hosting the Pre-Employment Transition Youth Conference today! Nebraska VR – Vocational Rehabilitation provides this contract as an opportunity for ESU #2, #3 and #19 to organize and facilitate a student conference, with an emphasis on transition to employment. Esu2Neb ESU 3 ESU 19 Elearning and Distance Education
Goodwill is honored to employ people from diverse backgrounds and varied experiences. Each employee brings a unique perspective and skill set to our agency. Employees who have served in the Armed Forces contribute their strong leadership skills and work ethic every day. At Goodwill we are proud to employ many veterans as they continue to serve their community.
Military servicemen and women are deserving of our respect and honor throughout the year, however Veterans Day reminds us of the sacrifices they and their families have made in service of our country. This special day to remember our veterans marks nearly one hundred years since the end of WWI and the holiday is still widely observed and celebrated.
Veterans Day in the United States is a legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became legally known as Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day (the fourth Monday in May). Memorial Day honors American service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. While Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
On November 11, Goodwill stands united in respect for our veterans. Remember to thank current and former service members for the sacrifice they and their families made to keep us all safe.
- Think Local to build strong local partnerships with community leaders and small business organizations to promote inclusive hiring strategies.
- Build Trust as originators of inclusive hiring strategies, a resource for information about or conduits to skilled candidates with disabilities; and a support/resource for community employers.
- Increase Visibility through development and execution of clear and positive educational campaigns that promote the value, benefits and incentives for including people with disabilities in hiring strategies. The message should understand the needs and challenges of business. To help individuals with disabilities add value to the bottom line of engaged community employers.
We were very fortunate to have our Work Experience Coordinator, Samuel Comfort, write this blog that outlines what National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is and the steps we, as a community, can take to be inclusive and aware of our words and actions year-round.
RECAP OF EVENTS IN OCTOBER
October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM is a campaign that celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and provides education about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Held annually, NDEAM is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation.
Goodwill Industries is proud to support NDEAM by educating our clients, employees and customers about disability employment issues and celebrating the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Throughout the month of October, Goodwill hosted events in support of NDEAM such as Mayoral Proclamations in Council Bluffs and Omaha, weekly sign language classes and social media campaigns to engage the community. Through the use of an interactive calendar, Goodwill provided the community opportunities to learn the importance of issues such as person-first-language, disability etiquette and how #InclusionDrivesInnovation.
On October 2, Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh proclaimed support for NDEAM throughout the Council Bluffs community. Close to 100 people from community agencies and businesses, Goodwill’s Work Experience participants, and the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce gathered to celebrate the mayor’s proclamation with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
On October 19, Goodwill hosted Franklin Thompson, Director of Human Rights and Relations for the City of Omaha, at Benson Park Plaza as he delivered a proclamation signed by Mayor Jean Stothert. Goodwill CEO and President Dr. Mike McGinnis welcomed all in attendance, including Omaha Public Schools, ENCOR, Madonna School, Embassy Suites, SourceAmerica as well as Goodwill staff, YouthBuild and Work Experience Program participants.
Basic sign language classes were offered during October at Benson Park Plaza. These weekly classes were open to the public. Classes provided over 40 Goodwill employees and individuals from the community an opportunity to learn the basics of American Sign Language. Attendees also learned about deaf culture in order to more confidently interact with deaf and hard of hearing individuals in their communities.
Goodwill programs distributed a survey to gauge local employers’ inclusive hiring and employment policies in October. The results of this survey will help shape the future of Goodwill’s efforts as we develop trainings aimed at eliminating unemployment among ALL who want to work, including individuals with disabilities.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month activities are not solely confined to October. Goodwill seeks to promote a disability-friendly work environment year-round. Here are some ways we can carry out the spirit of NDEAM.
USE PERSON FIRST LANGUAGE
Using person first language helps avoid perceived and subconscious devaluation when talking to or about a person with a disability. Simply put, person first language emphasizes the PERSON, rather than the disability. Person first language can be applied to any group that is defined by a condition rather than as a people: for example, “those that are homeless” rather than “the homeless.” By using this structure, the speaker articulates the idea of disability as a secondary attribute, not a characteristic of a person’s identity. Disability is only one piece of a whole person.
As our understanding has evolved, so has the use of certain terms. When writing and speaking about people with disabilities, choose words that carry positive, non-judgmental connotations. Avoid words which put the person with a disability into a “victim” category. Consider the use of the word “handicapped.” Like many terms that refer to minorities, there is negativity attached to it. At the least, it denotes a problem or a burden. At worst, it denotes incapability. Strive to highlight what people CAN do, rather than what they cannot.
Striving to place the person first also incorporates disability etiquette. Disability etiquette is something which can teach us to remember the individual traits of a person, not a disability. It is important that we treat all participants, customers and employees in a manner befitting their age, regardless of disability.
Speak directly to a person with a disability, rather than through a companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expressions such as “Good to see you” or “Got to be running along”, that seem to relate to the person’s disability. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great. Talk to him or her as you would with anyone else.
Respect his or her privacy. If you ask about their disability, he or she may feel like you are treating them as a disability, not as a human being. However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with questions about their disability after getting to know someone. A simple “I don’t feel comfortable sharing that” from the person with a disability can set the tone if it is not something that they are willing to share.
Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume that he or she needs help. Always ask before assisting a person with a disability, “May I help you?” If they need help, they may accept it. If they do not, do not take offense. Never help without asking and if the individual does want help, ask how before you act.
To get the attention of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and in a normal volume to establish if the person can read your lips. Not all deaf/hard of hearing people can read lips. Those who do will rely on your facial expressions and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by keeping your hands away from your mouth when speaking. Shouting will not help the person understand you, but you might ask if pen and paper would help.
When talking to a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, place yourself at the wheelchair user’s eye level to spare both of you a stiff neck. Grab a chair and sit with that person while you talk. Standing over someone in a wheelchair or of short stature causes you both to feel uncomfortable, as well as unnecessary back and neck pain. Avoid touching a person’s wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.
When greeting someone with significant loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. Say, for example, “On my right is John Miller.” When conversing in a group, remember to say the name of the person to whom you are speaking to give a vocal cue. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate when you move from one place to another, and let it be known when the conservation is at an end.
Give whole, unhurried attention when you are talking to a person who has difficulty speaking. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting.
Be patient rather than try to speak for the person or fill in the gaps. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having trouble doing so. Repeat what you understood. The person’s reaction will clue you in on whether you understood correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the parts you did not understand.
Remember, people with disabilities are people first, who just happen to have a disability. Equal treatment is essential to the integration of people with disabilities into the workplace. Thank you to all who contributed to making our October events a success. More importantly, thank you for working to make Goodwill a workplace that ensures all people regardless of ability have access to resources to learn and grow.
“The best way to help everyone, is for people to learn, understand and respect all people, whether they are the same or different.”
—Steven James Tingus, MS, C.Phil
U.S. Department of Education
“There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.”
—Robert Hensel, Poet, Writer, World Record Holder for longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair, 6.178 miles.
Halloween comes alive at Goodwill! Check out the Goodwill team showcasing costumes on the Morning Blend. We had a blast searching Goodwill stores to create several individual and group costumes for all ages. Whether you’re looking for a fresh costume idea or just need the finishing touches for your creation, Goodwill is the place to find it! Stop in today, there’s still time to create that perfect Halloween costume at Goodwill. Remember, when you shop at Goodwill you are supporting our job readiness programs that are helping people from all over the community to achieve their employment goals.