Your change changes lives

By Kim Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator

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I love my job at Goodwill because of you – Goodwill donors and shoppers. Because of you, I get to meet people whose lives are forever changed by Goodwill’s mission – to provide work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening resources in all communities we serve.

This mission is funded in large part by your purchases and donated goods. Another way you help fund programs for people in our community, is through our “RoundUp” program. “RoundUp” means if your Goodwill store purchase is $10.50, you can opt to “round up” to an even $11.00 and that extra 50 cents goes directly to support Goodwill’s services, listed here. If you choose not to, that’s okay too and we sincerely thank you for your business!

So why do we do this? Not all of our programs and services are self-supported through our business enterprises and need a little extra help.

Your spare change adds up to thousands of dollars each year, and 100% of these funds go to help someone in your community get back on their feet. Last month your RoundUp change helped Adam move his family from dire living conditions to safety. He was able to receive the financial coaching he needed free at Goodwill so that he could afford a home for his young family. Your change changed Adam’s life. Read Adam’s story here.

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If you always RoundUp – thank you! If you haven’t, please consider it next time you shop at Goodwill. Thank you again for positively “changing” lives!

 

Opportunity knocks … but sometimes it rolls

By Amanda Grover, Career Supports Manager

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One thing that can be consistently changing is a person’s financial situation. Managing your money, planning for the future, and identifying resources is incredibly daunting. Money doesn’t need to be a taboo subject; and I personally have found incredible value in financially planning ahead for emergencies and reaching longer term goals. There was nothing more fulfilling than paying off my first car loan.

Luckily, there are resources available right here in our community and it’s exciting to be a part of the Fifth-Third Financial Empowerment “eBus” event here at the Goodwill Career Center on Wednesday, July 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Everyone’s invited!

This 40-foot bus is a mobile classroom equipped with workstations and friendly Fifth Third Bank staff ready to connect people with the financial tools they need. After traveling to many communities throughout the country, the Fifth Third eBus staff have a strong understanding of what individuals need and want from banks and financial institutions.

Just inside the Career Center, we will be hosting a Goodwill Financial Fair. There will be other community partner organizations on site to share vocational and education programs, and to help identify ways to increase income through employment. There will also be programs to help people with goals and issues related to home ownership and housing. Additionally, for those looking for more immediate employment, GoodTemps Staffing will be conducting open job interviews.

I’ve had lots of people come to me with great stories that have been a result of attending previous financial events. Personal stories such as gaining access to a bank account for the first time (in some cases after being repeatedly denied), enrolling in vocational programs that have increased their income, learning that earning a degree or owning their own home is possible, overcoming difficult debt struggles, and more … prove these events can be life changing.

It’s exciting to work with so many community partners and to see support from organizations all working to help people achieve their personal goals. Come join us and tell anyone you know who could benefit from these services!

The Goodwill Career Center is located at 271 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon. We are around the corner from Goodwill Headquarters. The entrance and parking lot are located off of Sophia Street.

Gearing up for tax season

By Carl Lewis, Tax Program Coordinator

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ach tax season brings a great opportunity to assist more people in the community. As the new Tax Program Coordinator at Goodwill, I am excited to be a part of this positive impact.

I have several years of volunteer experience with Goodwill’s free tax preparation program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). It has always been a pleasure to work with people and assist them. In my former position as a financial coach, I found that tax time is the perfect opportunity to help people get back on track with their finances. The lump sum of money a person receives from a return, allows me a chance to identify an individual’s financial goals and help to achieve them.

I have a strong appreciation for the education the free tax preparation program provides, and it has been a pleasure to train and work with others. It is satisfying to share my knowledge and know that I am helping others learn a valuable life-long skill. All of our volunteers providing tax assistance are certified by the IRS.

With constant changes occurring on a state and national level, people requesting assistance have access to capable volunteers who can provide the answers. Changes with the healthcare system and the Affordable Care Act have caused great concern. We like to utilize the tax program as a platform to help clarify the impact of insurance on tax returns as well as provide information on resources. Filers also often have questions about the numerous forms, the legal requirements of filing, exemptions they are eligible for, and more. We can help!

There has always been a passion for volunteerism and community in my life. I am excited for this new endeavor as a leader with this program. I am looking forward to a robust tax season and helping individuals and families receive the funds they are entitled to.

If you are interested in getting help with your taxes, learning about our service offerings and eligibility requirements, or want to find out where and when services are offered, please visit our all-in-one website: www.vitawestmichigan.org or call 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment.

If you earned less than $62,000 last year, and would like to file on your own, visit www.myfreetaxes.com and file for free using easy, safe, and secure software provided by H&R Block.

Don’t make resolutions

By Jane Drake, MoneyWorks Manager

With the start of the new year, it is inevitable you will read and hear lots of advice and tips on making resolutions. Try this tip: don’t.

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. Instead of making resolutions, try a different tactic that will be more likely to help you be happier and more successful. Try what we tell our MoneyWorks clients: change your thinking.

Don’t think you have to be on a diet to lose weight. You know you tried diets before, and they failed. You don’t like having to deny yourself foods you enjoy. Instead, go on an eating plan. It is not about denying yourself all the sweet and gooey, or crisp and salty calorie-laden foods you love. Think of it as having all the delicious and wonderfully healthy foods you want!

In the same way, we advise many of our clients who are working on achieving financial goals, they should not think they have to be on a budget. Many of our clients tell us that they tried keeping a budget but just couldn’t do it. Just as with a diet, they didn’t like that they had to deny themselves something in order to stick with it.

Change your thinking. Instead, of a budget, adopt a spending plan. It is not about denying yourself that new article of clothing, the shiny new toy, or the latest phone upgrade. It is not about not buying what you want with the money you worked so hard to earn. Think of it as taking control of your money so it will no longer be a source of stress to you. Think of it as a wonderful tool to open new possibilities, help you reach your short and long-term goals, and create greater security for you and your family. We can show you how!

We also tell our MoneyWorks clients that nothing happens if you don’t first dream it and then commit to it on paper. Studies show that goals are more likely to be achieved if they are written down. So don’t make a resolution this year. Try a new approach: change your thinking, dream big, and be sure to write it down.

If you would like assistance with spending plans, debt deduction, or saving goals … with free, one-on-one assistance, please contact MoneyWorks directly at financialaction@goodwillwm.org.