Meet Victoria – YouthBuild AmeriCorps

Victoria Irby

Meet Victoria! She is an aspiring artist with a very creative personality. She is also a member of Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program. YouthBuild is a national educational, leadership, development and occupational skill-training program for young adults. It offers paid construction training, paid education and learning, leadership training, and ongoing support after graduation to help build leaders in the community through service projects.

YouthBuild serves young adults, ages 16 to 24, who are underemployed or do not have a high school diploma, are interested in learning construction and helping to build/repair homes for low-income families, and are willing to commit to nine months of training and development. Victoria has been in the program for approximately six months and has come a long way. She is bettering herself by showing up, making herself available and being willing to learn every day as part of the program.

Before Goodwill, Victoria was staying at home most days dreading getting out of bed. It was hard for her to find the motivation she needed to thrive. She had no structure in place to see the value in her efforts to become the person she wanted to be. Victoria lacked the support to overcome difficult times. Without hope, fear of consequences is absent and it is something that Victoria frequently struggled with.

She learned about Goodwill’s services after she decided to go back to school. After about a year at Metropolitan Community College, she felt it was too complicated for her and was ready for something different. While spending time at the Omaha Public Schools Teacher Administration Center (TAC) building, she read about Goodwill’s YouthBuild AmeriCorps program.
Victoria said lack of motivation was one of the biggest obstacles to finding a job, becoming independent, and becoming the person she envisioned. Before joining YouthBuild AmeriCorps, she was distant from everyone and everything. Victoria stated, “I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I would probably be dead or doing a lot of unhealthy stuff if it wasn’t for some of the training and support that Goodwill has provided.”

According to Victoria, the training that YouthBuild provides helped her learn the value of patience and not to doubt herself. Since joining the program her social skills have improved, she believes in herself and has the support in place to help fulfill her dreams. She is recognizing the changes in her behavior and can more easily identify her feelings and talk more openly with a level of trust and understanding that did not exist before. It’s also easier for her to identify things she enjoys doing. “I think more before speaking and I care about the feelings and opinions of others,” said Victoria. She is gaining valuable insight and knowledge to help better understand the nuances and intricacies of interpersonal communication and life.

 

Chinese Checkers game board Victoria made

Victoria’s passion for art and creativity will be incredible assets as she continues her journey to find her place in the world. She loves to listen to old school music, like Isaac Hayes and the Isley Brothers. Her taste in music is not surprising when you consider her gentle, calm and relaxed demeanor. Outside of YouthBuild AmeriCorps, Victoria enjoys dancing and doing math (not at the same time, of course), watching her favorite movie, Norbit, and sipping on a nice glass of her favorite beverage, apple juice. Victoria’s favorite holiday is Halloween and she dressed up as Michael Myers last year.

We are very proud of and happy for Victoria and the strides she has made to better herself both personally and professionally. She has embraced this opportunity and we are excited to see more of the beautiful things she will create! The YouthBuild AmeriCorps program has helped her come into her own and we are privileged to help share in her journey as she continues to learn about all the great things she is capable of.

Victoria’s multi-purpose décor creation

For more information regarding Goodwill’s services and programs, please visit https://www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services/ or call us at (402) 341 – 4609.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from the YouthBuild AmeriCorps Program, please contact:
Norman Barnes – YouthBuild Manager
Goodwill Industries
4805 N. 72nd St., Omaha, NE 68134
Phone: (402) 522-7231
[email protected]

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Story Behind The Store – Meet Yahwietuor

Yahwietuor (yah-way-tour) Mok is a cashier at Goodwill’s Benson Park Plaza retail store and is a great testament to our mission and values. He is a man of faith and has a pleasant disposition that belies his relationship with his home country’s difficult and complex past. He is known to most as Yahwie, which also shares a similar sounding meaning to Hebrew, Greek, and Latin words with reference to God. He has a gentle, soft-spoken voice that is comforting and assuring.

His home country is Sudan, a country ravaged by war and corruption. Many of the citizens are forced to leave the country for various reasons related to the ongoing war and adverse effects of the government’s struggle for power and resources. In the 1980’s, Yahwie was in the army and fought in Sudan. While fighting for the people and country he loves, he was witness to the worst in people during the war. Unfortunately, he lost a great deal during this trying period in his life — his wife and two daughters did not survive due to the lack of proper medical treatment nearby to treat them.

He ultimately moved to the United States for a new beginning and opportunities that weren’t accessible to him back home. After spending 8 years in Orlando and unable to find work, he decided to move to Omaha. He was determined to do more and not just live off his Social Security income. Before that, he had spent some time volunteering and working at a convenience store before the owner of the store sold his shop. He found a temporary job dealing with recycling electronics but still wanted more for his life.

In May of last year, he started training at Goodwill through Employment Solutions Retail Sector Training program, which he found through Nebraska Vocational Rehab. After completing the training program, Yahwie was hired permanently in June 2018. He described his experience of his job search as, “very painful” because of the discrimination, doubt, and uncertainty about his ability to work and being able to support himself and his family back home. For many, this is a burden of responsibility that can be crippling. Yahwie is strong, giving, passionate, hard-working and determined to not let his disability define him. Because of his disability, it is difficult for him to stand for periods of time so Goodwill provided proper accommodations for him. Goodwill’s goal is to focus on his ability, not disability.

The retail sector training course Yahwie completed is just one of Goodwill’s various sector training programs that consists of a comprehensive training, including classroom training hours as well as hours of hands-on job training. The program makes use of almost 100 years of expertise that complements skill-building and employment assistance. With the help of this program, newfound skills, and knowledge, Yahwie was able to successfully land a second job with First Data!

In his free time, Yahwie likes to spend time in the community, at Veteran’s Affairs, an agency he vehemently supports. He enjoys music (African and Tupac) and loves to eat spicy African foods, goat meat, and corn powder! Before losing his leg, he loved to play soccer and now likes watching the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry in the NBA as well as the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I don’t know what I would be doing or where I would be without the help of Goodwill,” said Yahwietuor. “Goodwill is always taking care of people, training them and helping them with education — so without Goodwill, I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.” He appreciates the fact that Goodwill has helped to open a new door for him because he is now working two jobs. He noted, “I love the mission…God bless Goodwill.”

He works seven days a week now and works very hard to achieve his goals. The Goodwill team is very happy and proud of what Yahwie has accomplished, both personally and professionally. He has a cheerful and patient demeanor that helps him excel when dealing with customers and answering repeated questions about his leg. He handles himself very well and we are delighted to have Yahwietuor as a member of our team!

Find out more about how Goodwill programs can help you or someone you know. To learn more, please visit www.goodwillomaha.org/employment-services/ or call us at (402) 341-4609.

#STORIESBEHINDTHESTORES

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Belvedere 3rd Graders Participate In CareerRock It! With Goodwill Omaha and Outlook Nebraska

Students had the opportunity to meet Doug’s guide dog, Finn.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, fifteen Belvedere Elementary third graders visited Goodwill’s headquarters as part of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s CareerRock It program. To start the day, students met Goodwill staff and learned about the mission programs Goodwill provides. The class then split into two groups to begin activities.

 

The first group met with Outlook Nebraska’s Adaptive Tech Facilitator Doug Wampler, Doug’s guide dog Phineas, and Community Outreach Specialist Megan Mackie. Doug and Megan provided an excellent learning opportunity for students and led conversation on topics such as:

  • Their personal vision capacity stories
  • Understanding vision loss
  • Why it is important for everyone to be able to work and what types of jobs blind people can do (and what jobs they can’t)
  • Guide dog etiquette and how guide dogs assist people who are blind, especially when it comes to working
  • Outlook Nebraska programs and services for people who are blind
  • And careers for sighted people who want to work with people who are blind

Doug and Megan provided demonstrations for students such as how a blind person uses a computer or smart phone, the technology that assists them, and the opportunity to experience vision simulator goggles.

Doug and Megan also explained adaptive technology that assists individuals with vision loss or impairments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second group received a behind-the-scenes tour of Goodwill’s headquarters building. Students learned about Goodwill’s community and training rooms, the administration departments, mission program areas and store operations. YouthBuild AmeriCorps members assisted with chaperoning the tours and highlighting their program area. At the end of the tour, students had the opportunity to select a book to take home with them.

Students visited the YouthBuild AmeriCorps program and learned about the woodshop.

 

 

One student spent some time going through the motions of tidying up a mock jewelry display in Goodwill’s Training Center.

The two groups switched activities allowing every student to get the full experience. Following the activities, students gathered in the Durham Community room where they enjoyed lunch and conversation.

Goodwill Omaha and Outlook Nebraska were honored to be part of the CareerRock It program. Thank you to the Greater Omaha Chamber, Ms. Dunn of Belvedere Elementary, and all the students who participated. We look forward to future opportunities to educate the young minds in our community!

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-231-1919
[email protected]

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Goodwill to Host OPS Transition Parent Teacher Conferences and Resource Fair

On February 7, 2019 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, Goodwill Industries will host the 2019 Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Parent Teacher Conferences for transition students. Transition students are individuals with disabilities nearing the end of their high school careers.  Goodwill provides vocational training to OPS transition students through the Work Experience program.

During parent teacher conferences, Goodwill will also simultaneously host the first annual Disability Resource Fair. The fair provides students, parents and educators an opportunity to meet with more than 30 local agencies who provide support and services for individuals with disabilities such as day programs, residential, transportation, employment services, college opportunities and more. Participating agencies include Autism Action Partnership, Easter Seals NE, Gotta Be Me, Metropolitan Community College, Nebraska Transition College, PTI Nebraska, Special Olympics, and Vocational Rehabilitation, among others.

 For Information Contact:

Sam Comfort
Work Experience Coordinator
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-951-2918
[email protected]

2-7-19-OPS-ResourceFair
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Press Release – Denise Maddock Joins Goodwill As Finance Director

 (Omaha, NE) On Monday, January 28, 2019, Denise Maddock joined Goodwill in Omaha as the Finance Director. Maddock brings over fifteen years of experience in finance and accounting, as well as a wealth of experience managing teams and guiding technical accounting.

“I am excited to learn more about the Goodwill programs and the good things we do in the community. I’m also excited about the professional growth that Goodwill has to offer,” said Maddock.

Her most recent position was the Senior Accounting Manager for Gavilon Group, LLC in Omaha. Prior positions include Oriental Trading Company, Protiviti, and O’Donnell, Ficenec, Wills & Ferdig, LLP.

Maddock currently resides in LaVista, Nebraska with her husband and two children. Outside of work, Maddock enjoys reading, working out, attending concerts, and golfing.  During the summer, you will often find her spending time at the pool with her family.

 

For Information Contact:
Ann Woodford
Marketing Manager
Goodwill Industries, Inc.
Phone: 402-231-1919
[email protected]

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Media Alert – “New Netflix show increases Omaha Goodwill donations” – Fox42 KPTM

On Wednesday, January 16, Fox42 KPTM covered a story regarding newly released Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” and how the show is positively affecting donations at Goodwill.

To see the original story and coverage, please click here.

Photo credit: Fox42 KPTM

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Press Release – YouthBuild Omaha Members Celebrate In Graduation Ceremony

For Immediate Release

July 11, 2018

YouthBuild Omaha Members Celebrate In Graduation Ceremony

 (Omaha, NE) Tomorrow 23 young adults dressed in cap and gown will eagerly wait behind closed doors in anticipation of walking down the aisle in their very own YouthBuild Omaha graduation ceremony. As Pomp and Circumstance plays overhead, YouthBuild Omaha members will begin the procession to the next steps of their lives, while being recognized for months of hard work, dedication and personal development.

We invite members of our community to join us in this special ceremony.

On Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 3:00 p.m., the YouthBuild Omaha Class of 2018 will be recognized for their efforts over the last ten months. The ceremony will commence at Goodwill Headquarters at 4805 North 72nd Street in Omaha. YouthBuild Omaha is a national educational, leadership development and occupational skills-training program for disadvantaged young adults and is a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.

YouthBuild taps the talent and energy of young people in Omaha to rebuild their neighborhoods and improve their lives. YouthBuild is a program for individuals who have struggled with traditional school and faced multiple barriers who are looking to make a change in their lives. YouthBuild provides them the needed support to take their next positive step in life. During their time in YouthBuild Omaha, these young adults have learned to overcome those obstacles, and they have developed a new set of tools for a successful future.

Over the course of ten months, YouthBuild Omaha members learned a number of new skills in the construction trade. Members are provided the opportunity to earn multiple certifications including High School Diploma, Home Builders Institute certification, First Aid/CPR and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification (OSHA).

Please join us for this joyous occasion. The event will include a brief program overview, member awards, a brief presentation from Iowa Western Athlete Ja’Chai Baker and YouthBuild Omaha alumni members, and last but not least, the turning of tassels for the graduating members.

Available On-Site:

Available for interviews/quotes: YouthBuild Omaha graduates, alumni and staff,
Goodwill President & CEO Dr. Michael McGinnis.

Available for photos: All YouthBuild Omaha graduates and alumni have a photo release on file.

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford
Marketing Manager
Goodwill Omaha
402-231-1919
[email protected]

YouthBuild  Omaha LogoAmeriCorps Logo

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Press Release – Young Adults Gain Valuable Job Training at Goodwill

For Immediate Release

July 2, 2018                           

 

Young Adults Gain Valuable Job Training at Goodwill

 

(Omaha, NE) On Tuesday, July 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., approximately 20-30 young adults in the STEP-UP Omaha! program will be visiting Goodwill, at 704 Gold Coast Drive in Papillion, for an educational morning coupled with volunteer service.

STEP-UP Omaha! provides jobs and paid internship opportunities young adults during the summer. Program participants gain valuable job training, work experience, vocational training, academic recovery and remediation, life skills training and community service opportunities. STEP-UP Omaha! is an initiative by the Empowerment Network and the City of Omaha in collaboration with community partners, including the Urban League of Nebraska.

During their time at Goodwill, participants will begin with an overview and introduction presented by Goodwill’s Employment Ready Manager, Megan Sharpe. Employment Ready, a program funded by Goodwill retail revenue, provides free one-on-one job readiness services to anyone who is unemployed or under-employed in the Omaha Metro and surrounding areas. Employment Ready can help any individual in need of employment assistance and provide referrals to additional community resources.

Megan will share information and best practices on first impressions when looking for work followed by a short question and answer session. Students will then break into smaller groups, one touring the sales floor and front area and the second group to tour the back room and processing area of Goodwill. Groups will then switch, allowing all young adults to get a full tour of Goodwill’s retail operations.

After the tours, the participants will have a group discussion on what jobs they found most interesting, as well as a chance to ask specific questions related to the jobs and processes they learned about. To conclude the experience, the young adults will participate in a volunteer opportunity where they will spend some time getting hands on experience in different roles within the Goodwill retail store.

The goal of this partnership is to provide students with an opportunity to witness how a Goodwill store operates as well as to learn what it takes to apply, interview and work successfully in a retail setting.

Available On-Site:

Megan Sharpe, Goodwill Employment Ready Manager and Vanetta Early, STEP-Up Omaha! Job Coach will be available for interviews. Students will also be available for video/photo opportunities with signed releases.

 

For Information Contact:

Ann Woodford

Marketing Manager

Goodwill Omaha

402-231-1919

[email protected]

To download the press release, please click here.

 

 

 

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Kim Streit, A Story Behind the Store

Kim Streit, A Story Behind the Store

Whizzing by with clothing in hand and a smile on her face, Kim Streit works hard to keep a clean sales floor full of fresh product at the 180th and Q Goodwill store. Kim is an ever positive 29 year old who was born with a cognitive learning disability. Having been born and raised in Gretna, Nebraska—Kim is blessed with a loving and supportive family who strives to go the extra mile to make sure she is provided opportunities to succeed in life.

Kim Distributing Softlines Back to Camera

Kindness is one of Kim’s strong suits, you will likely never catch her in bad mood, or without a smile on her face. Unfortunately, her kindness was also been taken advantage of in the past, which added a level of difficulty in building her social skills as she grew older.

“Socializing has never been one of Kim’s strong suits, but working at Goodwill has helped her come out of her shell,” says Denise, Kim’s mother.

Throughout her retail training in the Work Experience Program and her time working at Goodwill, Kim has made tremendous strides in her social interaction skills and has become much more personable.

Kim Streit Distributing Clothing Facing Camera

Goodwill’s partnership with Kim came to fruition when she was enrolled in the Work Experience Program in August of 2006. For many, the Work Experience Program is the first step toward successful job placement through supportive training in our retail stores. During Kim’s time in the program, she learned vital skills in a supportive classroom setting and gained exposure to a real work environment in Goodwill’s retail stores.

Kim Streit Distributing Hardline Facing Camera

Upon graduating from the Work Experience Program in March of 2009, Kim went on to part time work at Lucky-D’s Tack Shop in Gretna. To help with a smooth transition from student to employee, Kim was partnered with a job coach from Career Solutions through the Ollie Webb Center Inc. The job coach helped Kim become acclimated to her new surroundings and adapt to her new set of responsibilities.

Kim’s time at Lucky-D’s came to an end after the summer of 2009. Soon after Kim applied for a position at the 180th & Q Goodwill store. She was hired as a part time employee after interviewing with Janelle Ellis, who was the Store Manager at the time of Kim’s hire.

“While interviewing Kim, she smiled the entire time and I knew she could add so much value to our team with her can-do attitude and bright personality. She was going to fit in well with our team dynamics and make us even stronger. I just had to hire her! She was, and still is, a ray of sunshine. Kim started at Goodwill with her job coach from Career Solutions, my plan for her was to start off small and grow.  She first learned how to put away tank tops, then once she was a pro at that, she moved on to putting away tank tops and short sleeve shirts. We worked in each clothing category for a day or two, then added another category. In about two months, she knew how to put all clothing away by size, color and category. Once she mastered that, we began on fitting room recovery. She would check the fitting rooms between putting away each clothing rack.  She caught on quickly in each area. Her job coach was instrumental in her success as well as the rest of the Goodwill team. One doesn’t succeed without help from others, it takes a family to succeed. At first her job coach was coming in daily, then a couple times a week, then once a week. After about two months he approached me and stated that Kim told him he doesn’t need to come anymore. At that point we both knew that Kim had the confidence in her work and had adapted very well to the team. She was ready to do it all on her own,” said Janelle Ellis, who is now Assistant Director of Retail Sales at Goodwill. Kim has been a model employee at the 180th and Q store for eight years and will be celebrating her ninth anniversary with Goodwill on October 5, 2018. According to her current manager, Osama Rashan, “Kim arrives on time every day, works hard, and never calls in. Her current duties and responsibilities include greeting all customers, distributing processed clothing and household wares items and assisting customers with dressing rooms. Other duties that Kim helps with are cleaning the store and maintaining sales floor standards.”

Kim Streit pushing wares cart not facing camera

“She is always willing to help where needed and has an amazing memory when it comes to scheduling. She even helps remind others of scheduling changes that occur.” says Osama.

“Structure is something Kim relies on in her life, she sometimes struggles with being flexible when unforeseen conflicts arise in her daily schedule.” says Denise, Kim’s mother.

As part of the mission of changing lives through education, training and work,  Goodwill is able to offer Kim the structure to strive in her daily work life and is able to help her embrace flexibility by the means of retail’s ever-changing environment. Kim is also able to focus on her strong suits of memorization and consistency when working in the store. Kim’s strengths support the ongoing success of the 180th & Q store.

Kim Streit distributing hardlines

Kim is currently focused on living well, eating healthy and getting involved in social atmospheres aside from work.

“I like to hangout with friends and play games, my favorite board game is Sorry. I also love to go bowling with friends and family,” said Kim.

According to Kim’s parents, Goodwill has been able to help Kim in many ways. These ways include assisting Kim in building her self worth and confidence, while providing a supportive setting for social interaction.  From a shy Work Experience student in 2006, to an outgoing employee today, Goodwill is proud to provide employment services to amazing people just like Kim. This is Kim’s story, just one of the many Stories Behind the Stores. Kim is an amazing young woman who has taken, and continues to take, steps to better herself—growing both personally and professionally.

Kim Streit Smiles while helping coworkers

 


Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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Employment Ready Helps Students Find Business Casual Attire

Employment Ready Helps Students Find Business Casual Attire 

During the last week of March, Megan Sharpe, Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready Manager, received a phone call from Rebecca Dunn who teaches at Ralston High School. Dunn is currently teaching a Future Teacher Internship program. The class focuses on preparing students for future interviews and internships. Goodwill Omaha’s Employment Ready program was asked to partner with the Ralston High School class to provide assistance in how to choose appropriate attire for interviews and internships.

Teaming Up

Sharpe met with the class on April 16 to share how Employment Ready provides free one-on-one job readiness services to those unemployed or underemployed in the Omaha Metro.  Sharpe also spoke about proper business casual attire and how to find this clothing at our Goodwill locations. This partnership was an opportunity to educate the youth in the Ralston and Papillion community—by sharing Goodwill Omaha’s mission programs and how our retail stores support those programs.

The next day Sharpe met the Future Teacher Internship class at our Papillion retail store (84th and Giles).

Megan Sharpe Employment Ready Manager - Introduce Students to Papillion Store

Gathered in the front of the store, Sharpe took a moment to show some examples of proper business casual clothing. Among her examples was acceptable attire for a professional interview.

Example of Business Casual Denim

Megan also took time to remind students of the importance in making a great first impression during an interview. The students were encouraged to shop on their own. Sharpe and Dunn offered guidance and support—ensuring students were choosing appropriate business casual options.  

Business Casual Polka Dot Pants

Ralston Students Browsing

Students were able to find garments by category, size, and color in our Papillion retail store. This made it easy for them to build outfits that paired well with their personalities.

Ralston Male Students Shown Examples of Business Casual Shirts

Ralston Students Share Finds

Interview Ready

Finally, all 17 of the Future Teacher Internship students walked away with business casual outfits for their upcoming interviews.

Ralston Student Checks Out

Each student was given a $20 gift card, which was provided by both Ralston High and Goodwill Omaha. This gave students the ability to find a full outfit. Also showing them how beneficial shopping at Goodwill is while on a tight budget. The students enjoyed the hunt for unique and trendy items they may not have normally found at other retailers. While using the provided gift cards, students were educated on how donating and shopping at Goodwill Omaha supports our mission programs such as Employment Ready.

Ralston Students All Found Outfits


JoshMeyer-MarketingSpecialist

Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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