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Goodwill Mission Stories



Sandrae is a smart, hardworking young woman who felt hopeless going from job to job with no real sense of satisfaction.

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Watching the journey of our participants through Goodwill’s programs is something we are so fortunate to be a part of. 

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Meet Molly - a fun, active and social young woman who attends Goodwill’s Waukesha Day Services program. Summer is always busy for Molly and Goodwill proogram members, as their days are filled with outdoor activities like Garden Club, sailboat excursions on Lake Michigan and trips to the Milwaukee County Zoo (one of Molly’s favorites!)

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Goodwill launched EmpowerOne in 2017, with a goal to provide a network of services that would allow individuals with disabilities to follow their own path to employment in the community. The program offers a range of services individuals can choose from to fit their goals including soft skill building, on-the-job training, and connection to community employment opportunities. Luis’s story is one that exemplifies this journey.

Luis first joined Goodwill Day Services in 2011 after graduating from high school. When EmpowerOne launched its foundational skill building track, he was among the first small group of individuals who transitioned into the program. Luis had expressed the desire to have a job in the community but was not fully equipped with the skills he needed to be successful. EmpowerOne provided Luis with opportunities to explore different vocations and develop a variety of work and independent living skills such as cooking and money management, as well as soft skills including problem-solving and building self-esteem.

Luis learned and practiced a wide variety of job skills – from food preparation and gardening, to grocery clerking and laundry care. Aside from what he learned in training, Luis also spent time in the community volunteering and practicing skills such as table service, stocking shelves and cleaning. Luis has completed two on-the-job training rotations and is finishing up his final training in general office work. Through these experiences, he is learning new employment skills and is one step closer to achieving his goal of having a job in the community.

“Luis’s strengths and skills have matured as he has developed new confidence in himself,” shared Stephanie, an EmpowerOne instructor. “His goals became clearer through job exploration and his communication skills improved. Aside from his positivity, friendly disposition and great sense of humor, Luis demonstrates many character traits which will make him an excellent employee and natural leader.  Any employer ought to be thrilled to have this young man on their team!”

Click here to learn more about Goodwill's EmpowerOne programs.

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Steven Morimoto served in the military for six years as a combat medic. However, like many Veterans, Steven found it very challenging to transition to civilian life. Then he found Goodwill.

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Daane Hoffman enlisted in January of 1999. Before getting orders to Naval Station 32nd Street in San Diego, he completed his basic training and Radioman A-school at Naval Station Great Lakes. Now 20 years later, Daane has returned to the base, but this time as an employee of Goodwill.

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Daniel, who works at the Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Westchester, IL, is not someone who shies away from a challenge. Being born prematurely led to Daniel having some developmental challenges, including a speech impediment and learning disabilities, but that did not stop him from accomplishing more goals than most people could dream of.

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Crystal was a young teen mother when she began working at Goodwill. Faced with the challenges of a baby to care for, her job attendance began to suffer. After talking with the Goodwill management team, Crystal focused on how to improve her situation and entered Goodwill's Career Path program. Now Crystal enjoys a healthy work-life balance and providing for her son. When you shop and donate to Goodwill the revenue from the sale of donated goods helps people like Crystal overcome barriers and gain independence.

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For Ron, working at Goodwill is the best job he's ever had. He's seen first-hand how Goodwill saves lives. As a Director of Goodwill's Supply Chain, Ron oversees an operation of 75 people, and each person has a story to share. For some it's about transformation, for others it means overcoming hardships as well as gaining dignity and independence.

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Barriers to employment can take many forms. For some, child care or transportation issues can make it difficult to find or keep a job. For others, it may be a language or literacy issue. Serving people with disadvantages is a part of the Goodwill mission, and Keishla is an example of what happens when barriers are broken.

hile living in Puerto Rico, Keishla graduated with degrees in forensic science and chemistry but was unable to obtain meaningful employment and was struggling to support herself. Faced with fear and limited career options after graduation, Keishla was determined to move her life forward and made the difficult decision to leave her family in Puerto Rico and move to Wisconsin for a fresh start.

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