Goodwill Industries Celebrates 115 Years of Changing Lives

Goodwill Industries Celebrates 115 Years of Changing Lives

During the week of May 6, 2018 we will be celebrating Goodwill Industries Week—along with 115 years of building better futures and changing lives. Goodwill Industries Week was first celebrated in May of 1951. It is a way to encourage local Goodwill organizations to educate their communities about their missions. At Goodwill Omaha our mission is to change lives through education, training, and work—by serving individuals and businesses in eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa.

Hand-Up Not a Hand Out 

In 1902 Reverend Edgar J. Helms went from door to door in Boston asking not for money, but for clothing in need of repair. Helms employed people facing challenges by having them mend the clothes for a daily wage. By selling those clothes back to the community, Goodwill’s mission was born. Helms believed in giving people a chance, not charity. He also believed there is more dignity in receiving a hand-up, not a hand-out. When people learn the skills to earn their own pay checks they have the power to transform lives and communities. Goodwill has grown from humble origins into an international non-profit organization. We provide employment placement, job training services and other important services to millions of people.

Goodwill Omaha’s Programs and Services

While programs and services have changed over the years, our mission of changing lives through education, training, and work has stayed true. Below are programs and services Goodwill Omaha currently provides.

  • Ability One – Provides part-time job opportunities for individuals with disabilities in a supportive and integrated work environment at several federal properties.
  • Business Solutions – Meets the needs of local employers by connecting them with quality applicants and providing ongoing support.
  • Employment Ready – Provides free one-on-one job readiness services to anyone who is unemployed or under-employed in the Omaha metro, Council Bluffs, or Fremont areas.
  • Hire Nebraska – Puts Nebraskans to work as they transition from public assistance to life-changing employment.
  • Work Experience – Offers high school special education students, who are nearing completion of high school education, an opportunity to gain exposure to a work situation in a supportive environment.
  • Volunteer & Community Service –  We thrive on the support of our community and those who volunteer their time. Providing the opportunity to complete approved court ordered hours of service is another way we support those in our community.
  • YouthBuild Omaha – A national education, leadership, development, and occupational skill-training program for disadvantaged young adults. YouthBuild is a proud partner of the American Job Center Network.

In 2017, Goodwill Omaha served 1,797 people through our mission programs. Hosting a total of 35 hiring events—230 jobs were found by Goodwill participants. The average hourly wage of Goodwill participants placed in jobs was $12.16. Through our programs and services, we are able to continue our mission of changing lives through education, training, and work. We provide free tours to the public for a behind the scenes look at our organization, by appointment. For contact information and more details about our programs and services, click here.

Involved in Goodwill

Being involved in our community is a key component to what makes our mission programs and services so impactful. You can become involved with Goodwill Omaha through the various events we host and participate in. To find out more about our upcoming events, click here. You can also support our life-changing mission by shopping and donating at your local Goodwill retail location. When you purchase items from Goodwill, those dollars go directly to the support needs of our programs and services. Click here to view a listing of our locations.


JoshMeyer-MarketingSpecialist

Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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Penny-Pinching for the Perfect DIY Prom Dress

Penny-Pinching for the Perfect DIY Prom Dress

Finding the perfect dress for prom has become taxing. With so many fits, colors, and styles to choose from—it can be difficult to know where to start looking. Oh yeah, lets not forget about that price tag either. As a result, you may not always be satisfied with the hunt of that perfect prom dress. So why not create your own? Learn how to re-purpose a dress into a DIY creation and restore the fun in your prom experience.

What’s in this prom season?

After doing some research, we have put together a list of what you might find to be in style this prom season.

  • Lace Detail and Overlay
  • Pastel Colors
  • Ultra Violet
  • Off the Shoulder
  • High Slits
  • Plunging Necklines
  • Two-Piece Dresses
  • Halter Tops
  • Chiffon

While these may be great suggestions for this season. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and get creative. Think outside the box.

Where to find your dress.

Try Goodwill, no seriously, you would be amazed at the selection of dresses most Goodwill stores have. Frequently visiting your favorite Goodwill retail location will give you an advantage as new product comes in daily. If you have never shopped at a Goodwill before, you’ll probably want to start. You can save your pretty pennies and score some awesome finds. While there are DIY-ers that create their own prom dresses, we suggest repurposing instead of starting from scratch. This will give you a head start in creating your masterpiece. Need some inspiration? Click here to find a gallery of DIY prom dress ideas.

Creating your perfect prom dress.

You may find a dress you like, but may not be quite head over heels for. There’s a solution for that! Do you have sewing skills? If not, try finding a friend who can help you in that area. Adding different materials such as lace and chiffon can create layers and add to the wow factor of your dress. It’s a great way to get the look you are going for without too much work. Not a lover of lace or chiffon? It can be just as easy to remove. You can also use crystals to create a dress that captures and reflects light in all the right places.

You’ll be able to find those supplies at your local fabric or craft store such as: Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. If you are up for a challenge, Wendy gives you a great tutorial on making a custom chiffon dress. You may also want to check out her blog, With Wendy, for more amazing DIY ideas.

Finding the right fit.

If you fall in love with a dress that isn’t your size and needs some updating, don’t fret. Be open to the idea of having your dress tailored. You can expand your selection by doing so. Finding a good tailor may seem tough, but there are plenty of tailors out there who specialize in custom fits. Scheduling a fitting with your tailor before the work begins is also important. Your fitting will give you the opportunity to communicate your vision and build a relationship with your tailor of choice.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. You might be surprised at what your tailor can do. Communication is key. You want to give your tailor as much direction as possible. As a result of having a custom fit, you can make a statement with your now one-of-a-kind dress that looks and feels custom made just for you. In the blog post What Every Woman Should Know About Looking Better in Clothes Zac Posen says “The right tailoring can make any garment work for any body”. You can follow Zac on twitter for more inspiration.

Share your creation.

We encourage you to share your creations with us! Use the hashtag #PromAtGoodwill if you found your dress, or any part of your ensemble at one our Goodwill Omaha locations. Be sure to tag us at @goodwillomaha for a chance to be featured on our social media pages. At Goodwill, our mission is to change lives and strengthen communities through education, training, and work. When you shop with Goodwill Omaha you are directly supporting our programs and employment services here in our community.


Written by: Josh Meyer • Marketing Specialist
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Show Respect, Take the Pledge, End the Word

Would you pledge to stop using a word that hurts others, is exclusive, offensive, and derogatory? Such words can be applied in everyday conversation without the user being aware of the impact they have on others. One commonly misused, derogatory word is the R-word, which refers to “retard” or “retarded”. On the first Wednesday of every March, thousands of people are pledging to show respect and refrain from using this word by uniting to Spread the Word to End the Word.

 

RECOGNIZE

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Goodwill Omaha hosted a public event—a panel discussion regarding empowerment and employment of people with disabilities. Respect was the theme of the day. Sam Comfort, Work Experience Coordinator for Goodwill Omaha, acknowledged the fact that language impacts attitude and attitude affects action. Spread the Word to End the Word poses as a time to recognize that all people deserve respect and our community should be free from harmful and offensive words such as “retard” and “retarded”. Refreshments and popcorn were provided as Goodwill debuted a screening of the 2018 Spread the Word to End the Word video . The video focuses on respect for all individuals and gave Goodwill’s Work Experience students the opportunity to say what they would like to be called in place of the R-Word.

 

REVIEW

A guest panel was invited to discuss the importance of respect, diversity, and inclusion. Brice Meyer, Planet Fitness Regional Manager for Nebraska and Iowa, was invited to talk about his experience in employing persons with disabilities. Michaela Ahrens, Senior Director of PACE/Programs at Autism Action Partnership, encouraged everyone in the community to “join us in efforts to increase the inclusiveness and support in the community so that people with any type of disability are able to fully participate in community life. Whether it’s where they go to school, where they work, where they worship, or where they play.” 

Rachel Mulligan, Special Olympics of Nebraska athlete, and Kasey Haynes, who is employed with Culver’s and receives services from Crossroads of Western Iowa, joined the panel to answer questions of how people can show respect to those with disabilities. Kasey’s sister, Kerry Haynes, a Special Education Teacher at Fremont Public Schools, was able to provide great insight about being a sibling to a person with a disability. As an advocate for persons with disabilities, Edison McDonald, Executive Director at The Arc of Nebraska, enlightened us on the barriers that people with disabilities continue to face. We want to give a special thanks to all of our panel participants for being involved in spreading the word to end the word. Click here to view the full panel discussion.

Customers shopping and donating at Goodwill Omaha retail locations also had the opportunity to take the pledge and Spread the Word to End the Word. Work Experience students made popcorn for shoppers while inviting them to sign a Spread the Word to End the Word banner. “The Work Experience students felt encouraged to be interacting with customers on their own behalf”, said Christin Graff, Work Experience Trainer in Fremont.  

 

RESPECT

Each and every one of us has the opportunity to be the next person who will take a step forward and create a more inclusive and accepting community for those who are affected by the R-Word. For more news and events on how you can help be an advocate for those with disabilities in your community, visit Goodwill Omaha. Will you take the pledge to show respect?

 

2018 Spread the Word to End the Word Event Photos

 

 

 

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Noah Wegener & Sam Comfort Talk Work Experience with Mike’l Severe – The Bottom Line – 1/25/18

Listen in as Work Experience student Noah Wegener and Work Experience Coordinator Sam Comfort talk about Noah’s experience looking for treasures, as well as other employment skills gained while working at Goodwill.

Click here to listen!

Huge thanks to The Bottom Line with Mike’l Sever for providing this opportunity to share Noah’s story.

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Washington County Gives!

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!

  1. Visit WCNEGives.org on Tuesday November 28, 2017
  2. Click “DONATE NOW”
  3. Select “Goodwill Industries Inc.” to support Goodwill’s Work Experience program in Blair!
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October

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.

Click for a list of person first language examples >>>

 

DISABILITY ETIQUETTE 

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.

Click to learn more about disability etiquette >>>

 

“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.

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