I have been fortunate enough to meet many people helped by Goodwill, particularly in the area of workforce development. Lonnie Willis Jr. is one example who gained the confidence and the social acceptance needed to thrive in his job and create stability for his family. At each Board meeting, we meet another resident/client and family member who has succeeded in life thanks to the many services of Goodwill, and I am touched by how their quality of life has been enhanced. The prom done for Sage services and the art classes for all clients, these are incredible avenues that allow indviduals to express themselves and feel part of a larger complex world.
Goodwill's training program is fantastic! During 2011 Goodwill had 525 program participants that received wages, including 200 that were placed in competitive emplyment opportunities and 146 employed by Goodwill itself. While Goodwill has a number of business lines, I can attest that, having served on the Board and various committees for the last several years, it's really all about the mission.
Until I joined the Goodwill Columbus board two years ago, I was not aware of all the good work that contributes to the overall mission. I have been particularly impressed with all the stories I have heard from people who are so proud of the skills they have developed and the way they are now contributing. Their pride extends to their level of independence and the support they are providing for their families. The graduation ceremony I attended was evidence of how many people Goodwill is preparing for the workforce, so they can be contributing to society as opposed to being a drain on public assistance. This is one small way of getting our economy moving and everybody wins.
As a member of the Goodwill Columbus Service Board for 20+ years, and a member of the Goodwill Board of Directors for 10 years, I have observed at close hand numerous clients attend their graduation from the Goodwill programs with a job in hand as they leave our doors. They have new skills, they have been coached on their responsibilities and will continue to be, if needed. The success stories shared by "keynote speakers", i.e., previous graduates are inspiring. Goodwill has close relationships with area businesses, and many of those come to Goodwill asking for our graduates based on their experiences with former Goodwill students. GWC (Goodwill Cols) strives to find out what the student would like to do, and if possible, find a way that they can be trained to do this job. The management and program staff constantly strives to find out the needs of our business community, and make sure graduates have the skills and tools to do those jobs in an ever-changing and competitive marketplace. GWC has a Business Advisory Counsel composed of business people in the community who advise our staff and help train our students. They practice interviewing techniques with students and do role playing with them before they head out for their real life interviews. The staff truly desires to make sure their graduates are fully equipped to succeed. What more could you ask for? I've been proud and happy to be associated with GWC for many years.
The best way to describe what Goodwill does to help others with their life comes from the mouth of a person who received training and help there. He states, "Goodwill Columbus changed my life and offered a lifeline when there was nowhere else to turn. I will be forever grateful."