A week of celebrating our mission

 

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t Goodwill, we believe work has the power to change lives! Work plays a critical role in the ability of individuals to achieve desirable life outcomes; providing self-esteem, independence, empowerment, and pride.

May 1-7 commemorates Goodwill Industries Week, an annual celebration of our mission of helping people train for, find, and keep good jobs. Observed since 1951, Goodwill Industries Week across the United States and Canada celebrate the power of work through local events and promotions.

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is celebrating with 50% off sale at all 16 of our store locations with in-store prizes and online Facebook contests all week long. It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our generous shoppers and donors who support our mission with their patronage.

To assist jobseekers in our community, GoodTemps will be hosting a job fair at our Career Center at 271 East Apple Avenue in Muskegon on Thursday, May 5 from 10 a.m. until noon. To qualify for current open positions, please bring two forms of ID and an update résumé.

Thank you for your support. Together we are creating jobs and changing lives in our community!

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Make spring cleaning fun (no really!)

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ecluttering has never been more en vogue than right now. But Goodwill was way ahead of the trend, having been a part of people’s spring cleaning routines for more than 100 years! We’re thrilled to partner with certified professional organizer Lorie Marrero to offer five expert tips to make this spring your cleanest yet!

  1. Have a plan. Don’t let unwanted items clutter your home any longer than necessary. Plan to spring clean and take your donations to Goodwill on the same day.
  2. Start with success. Choose the one area of your home that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Once you succeed there, you’ll be motivated to tackle the next space.
  3. Clean slate. Clear each area out as much as possible and start from scratch. By restocking your shelves with items you love, you’ll make your whole house a happy and inspiring place. And donating your unwanted items to Goodwill helps people find jobs and build their careers.
  4. Make it fun! Shake up your spring cleaning routine with a peppy playlist and fun contests. Challenge everyone in your family to find 10 items to donate to Goodwill. This can become a race, with the prize of a traveling trophy. Or a hot fudge sundae, if you don’t want any more clutter!
  5. Be brave. Inherited items may come with guilt and obligation attached. Instead of keeping the items, take an artistic photograph of them and frame it in your home. Then donate the items to Goodwill. Wouldn’t you rather the items do good by helping people build their employment skills than take up space in your home?

Last year, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan helped 5,431 people find jobs through your donations. We hope tips like these will make spring cleaning more fun for families and more fruitful for organizations like us that provide services throughout our community.

Three great reasons to donate during the Younkers Goodwill Sale

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articipating in the Younkers Goodwill Sale has never been so rewarding!

Here’s how the sale works:
Bring your gently used apparel, shoes, handbags, etc. to Younkers
Earn a 25% off Younkers coupon for each item donated. It’s that easy!

Here are three great reasons to donate items and shop now through March 26.

You directly impact your community by donating to Goodwill.
Funds generated by the sale of your donated items supports our job training and employment support services that help people right here in West Michigan. Goodwill offers and broad range of programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages, and Goodwill Career Centers in both Muskegon and Holland are open to anyone needing help finding a job.

It’s easy to donate and save on spring fashions, beauty, and home.
Donors receive 25% off Younkers coupons for every item donated. Coupons are valid on nearly everything in the store (and online) including items that rarely go on sale.

It’s a great time to shop at Goodwill also … all those fresh donations are directly distributed to our Goodwill stores.

Enter to win a $100 daily prize and a $15,000 spring wardrobe makeover!
Visit the Million Acts of Goodwill website to enter for your chance to win a $15,000 spring style and wardrobe makeover. The winner will receive a consultation with a celebrity stylist, a closet review, and a shopping spree with the stylist at their local Younkers department store.

You can also visit the site daily for your chance to instantly win a $100 gift card!

What are you waiting for? Start your spring cleaning early and head over to Younkers for great savings!

 

We love our donors

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

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Happy New Year! I would like to thank everyone who donated, shopped, volunteered, and assisted, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan in 2015. Your generous contributions helped someone in our community find a job, keep a job, and earn a paycheck. Work is something we should never take for granted; just ask a person who has a barrier to employment. Work provides a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and independence. The power of work really does change lives!

Goodwill’s mission, and our ability to serve others, comes from community. As we enter February — one of the coldest months of the year — I’m asking you to bear the snow and ice, and please donate your gently used items to any one of our 18 conveniently located donation centers.

Donations are the lifeblood of our mission; a mission that never stops or takes a time out due to inclement weather. Goodwill staff are ready to greet you and accept your unwanted clothing, toys, housewares, furniture, electronics, and more. Your donations are handled with great care, and sorted and processed for their fullest value, for someone else to use and enjoy.

Need a receipt? Our easy online donation calculator does the math for you and allows you to print out an itemized receipt for your tax records.

Thank you for a wonderful 2015, we are looking forward to an even more prosperous 2016, and with your assistance we will be able to serve more people this year and many more years to come.

To find a Goodwill store and donation center nearest you, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/where-to-donate/

To utilize the Goodwill donation calculator, visit: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/donation-calculator/

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.

Celebrating 70 years of NDEAM

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO
NDEAM 2Each October, Goodwill Industries joins the nation in acknowledging the importance of employees with disabilities — a vital component of the U.S. labor force — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

This year’s celebration marks 70 years since President Truman authorized Congress to officially recognize workers with disabilities.

This year’s theme, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor is “My Disability Is One Part of Who I Am.” Jennifer Sheehy from the Office of Disability Employment Policy explains: “It encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people. And like all people, we are the sum of many parts, including our work experiences.

It also underscores the fact that employees with disabilities bring a wide variety of skills to the table. They make up nearly 20 percent of America’s workforce, yet their unemployment rate is more than twice that of workers without disabilities. It is crucial that American employers continue to make efforts to hire workers of all backgrounds and abilities.

For 65 years Goodwill Industries of West Michigan has worked tirelessly to support job seekers with disabilities and specialized circumstances through training, placement, and employment efforts.

Supporting the needs of job seekers of varying needs and abilities is at the core of what we do at Goodwill every day. I am pleased to celebrate the achievements of our Goodwill program participants and graduates — and all employees with disabilities — during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

A DIY wedding fit for a princess

By Rachael Crevier, Internet Marketing & Events Coordinator

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att and Radha met on Halloween in 2013. Radha was dressed as Sarah from the movie “The Labyrinth” in a full-length wedding dress, train and all, that she purchased for $30 at Goodwill.

The following Halloween the couple got engaged. This time dressed as Princess Buttercup and Westley from the movie “The Princess Bride.” There fairy tale didn’t stop their, the movie would actually become the theme of their wedding!

The couple chose to DIY (do it yourself) almost everything for their wedding for two main reasons:

Save money

According to wedding planning website The Knot, the average cost of a wedding last year reached a national all time high of $31,213! And that didn’t include the honeymoon! The couple just wanted to celebrate their love for one another without all the debt.

To help to keep costs down, Matt and Radha DIYed as much as possible. They shopped at each Goodwill West Michigan store, looking for unique items, like candle holders and candles to help make their reception uniquely beautiful.

Radha created the invitation, from a hand drawn picture, that was printed with black ink on iridescent card stock. The most expensive piece was the stamps to mail the invitations.

The couple also created their own music playlist for the wedding, saving thousands of dollars in DJ fees and delegating the DJ responsibility to one of their siblings.

Gifts for attendants aren’t always necessary but the couple thought chocolate covered peanuts would be the perfect way of saying “thank you.” They purchased the candy in bulk and bagged it themselves (with the help of their family and friends.) “Anybody want a peanut?” ( Another reference to the movie.)

One of a kind

Matt and Radha are both very creative people, who love knitting, sewing, and crafting. When they got engaged and began planning a wedding they couldn’t imagine someone else creating their special day. They knew it had to be DIY.

According to RuffledBlog.com “This three letter code for putting your own stamp on your wedding day goes beyond just doing-it-yourself. Handcrafted details add warmth, history and thoughtfulness to an event in a way that no store bought item can.”

The centerpieces were one of a kind, and incorporated their theme of the “Princess Bride.” There were 50 mini milk bottles that they found at our Grand Haven Goodwill store.

They decorated the bottles with ribbon  and adorned them with wildflowers. Most of the bottles also had a small vile of powdered sugar attached that resembled the ‘Iocaine Powder’ from the movie; …“it’s odorless, tasteless and highly soluble,” used by the hero Westley in his ‘battle of wits to the death’ with Vizzini.

The bride’s sister also provided her with 40 mason jars that were filled with water peals and led lights to decorate the tables.

The groom created the boutonnieres, and corsages out of silk flowers that they found from multiple Goodwill’s. The bride used the same flowers to craft her flower crown.

They had a guest book, made out of canvas that was decorated with leaves made of card stock and fabric. The leaves were cut out by hand and placed to resemble the branches of a tree.

But best of all, the bride wore the same $30 Goodwill dress she wore when she met her now husband on Halloween in 2013. Radha did all of the alterations on the wedding dress, including removing the train and the poofy sleeves, creating her perfect dress for the ball.

The most delicious part of their story was their wedding cake! The bride and groom both love to bake so they decided to use that love to make their wedding cake. It was a three-tier champagne cake with blackberry filling. Since the guest list was quite extensive they purchased a few sheet cakes for their guests to enjoy.

Their one suggestion: Ask for help.

There as one thing that Matt and Radha didn’t take on, and that was their photography. They were lucky enough to find an local photographer who captured their personalities perfectly. “Having a professional photographer was the best decision we ever made!” said Matt Kaminski. It allowed them to enjoy their special evening without having to worry.

The other important piece to the wedding was the food. The groom’s mother took on all of the catering and even helped serenade the bride and groom during their first dance, accompanied by the groom’s step father and the bride’s mother.

“We can’t say thank you enough!” said Radha, “Our friends and family were so much help in the planning and organizing of our wedding day!”

Each and every person that celebrated with the couple made the day special. The bride was given the gift of having her hair and makeup done for her special day by her sister-in-law. “The whole day was a celebration and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!” said Radha.

”DIY allowed us to make memories with the people we love, add meaning to the things that were special to us and leave out what wasn’t,” said Radha Kaminski. “We will cherish those memories and are so thankful for all the help we received.”

Brenda Hoffman Photography

Get inspired!

Matt and Radha’s story proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to have the wedding of your dreams. If you have a wedding (or party) to plan, visit Goodwill for one of a kind finds!

For more ideas and inspiration, visit our Pinterest board and stay up to date with all things Goodwill West Michigan on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.