Adobe Stock | Kharoll Mendoza
Good will is synonymous with transformation. Donations to Goodwill start a journey of change that offers new life not only to the goods themselves, but also to the lives of people with disabilities and other barriers to employment that the nonprofit serves.
For 75 years, Goodwill Keystone Area has been dedicated to fostering positive change and a sustainable future in our communities by offering affordable goods, minimizing environmental impact and implementing life-changing programs. This legacy continues today as Goodwill works to recycle donations into training, wages and careers – opportunities for individuals and families to advance and flourish.
Goodwill’s unique business model begins with the generosity of local residents who donate gently used items which serve as the initial thread in the tapestry of change. These items find their way to Goodwill Retail Storesproviding affordable shopping opportunities for people in our communities.
Unsold items in its physical stores and via the online auction site, shopgoodwill.com, are channeled to sales centers and finally recycled to reduce waste. Proceeds from the sale and recycling of these donated items are used to support the organization’s mission, fueling programs that empower individuals to build skills, find employment and advance their careers—referred to as Goodwill’s Story Behind the Store.
The story behind the shop
Goodwill Keystone Area is dedicated to helping individuals and families harness the transformative power of work to achieve self-sufficiency. Through the series job training programs and services, Goodwill actively nurtures skills, connects individuals with employment opportunities and supports the development of meaningful careers. These initiatives apply to both adults and youth, providing those they serve with the opportunity to thrive.
An example of a Goodwill program designed to support individuals on their path to employment is Community Work Assessment (CBWA). These assessments are specifically tailored to each individual’s professional interests and provide invaluable insight into their skills and job readiness.
Goodwill’s job coach works with the program participant through three paid CBWAs, carefully assessing their skills and assessing the level of assistance needed to achieve success in work-related tasks. Upon completion of CBWA, Goodwill’s job coach engages in discussions with the client and their family to identify potential jobs that align with their interests.
Tasha encouraged by the support of goodwill
Tashi’s journey towards self-sufficiency was marred by years of unemployment and depression, leading to thoughts of despair. However, her life took a positive turn thanks to Goodwill.
“(Karena from Goodwill) continues to lift me up on my journey.”
After participating in three CBWAs, Tasha suffered an injury during her final assessment. Despite this setback, her determination and the support of her employment specialist, Karen, led her to secure a part-time job bussing at Mad Mex in Willow Grove.
During her time there, Tasha witnessed incredible growth in her attitudes and abilities. She attributes her success to Karen, who taught her to “walk slowly, quietly and with purpose.” Unfortunately, the restaurant closed just before her first anniversary, which was devastating. However, Tasha remains optimistic about her future, having secured her own apartment and graduated from Starting Point, a mental health resource center.
Tasha continues to work with Karen, driven by gratitude for Goodwill’s role in inspiring her resilience and determination. “Goodwill helped me land a job and be successful during my time at Mad Mex,” Tasha said. “Karena taught me the importance of working hard and staying positive, and she continues to lift me up on my journey.”
A mission rooted within
Goodwill’s mission of empowering individuals is not only about the people in our communities, but is deeply rooted in the organization itself. At Goodwill, employees are encouraged to develop personally and professionally.
The organization has taken this commitment to the next level by improving its tuition reimbursement policy, making it easier for employees to access educational opportunities. Whether someone wants to earn a GED, earn advanced degrees, earn professional certifications, or explore alternative career paths, Goodwill is fully invested in supporting employees on their journey of learning and development.
Wally’s story helps illustrate Goodwill’s commitment. She started at Goodwill as a textile sorter, but with determination and the right support system, she was able to climb the ladder. Wally’s career trajectory has seen her transition from key owner to assistant manager and, most impressively, to her current role as store manager in Berwyn.
Despite his initial self-confidence issues, Wally was encouraged by management to have sixteen opportunities for advancement. Wally’s efforts to improve herself are reflected in her continued participation in college classes, made possible by Goodwill’s tuition assistance.
New learning with Goodwill’s mobile unit
Aligned with a commitment to professional growth, an exciting new chapter has opened with the introduction Goodwill Learning Laboratory. This innovative mobile unit represents a significant step forward in the organization’s mission to provide valuable training and development opportunities.
Recognizing the gaps in accessible vocational programs, the Learning Lab brings training to where the people are. The 24-foot trailer is equipped with computers and Wi-Fi access, and a Goodwill coach provides job search and readiness support, as well as digital literacy and financial wellness training.
The Learning Lab is not only available to the public upon request, but is also located in the parking lots of Goodwill stores and offices so employees can easily access training. This latest initiative serves as a testament to Goodwill’s unwavering commitment to empowering individuals and strengthening communities.
Donations made to Goodwill Keystone Area are instrumental in creating an interconnected pattern of positive change. Just as individual threads come together to form a tapestry, items donated to Goodwill contribute to a variety of programs and initiatives that collectively bring transformation to individuals and families in our communities. To learn more about Goodwill and its work to create a sustainable future, visit your goodwill.org.
Goodwill Keystone Area Office Locations
1150 Goodwill Drive Harrisburg, PA 17101
3001 St. Lawrence Ave. Reading, PA 19606
HACC Lancaster Campus-East Building 1641 Old Philadelphia Pike Lancaster, PA 17602
717.232.1831 or toll free: 1.800.432.4483
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