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Goodwill Mission Stories



Willie is proof that you can change the path of your life and not allow a past criminal record to determine what you can achieve. As Willie shares, “I’m not defined by one bad  act,  or one good act. It all defines who I am.” Goodwill has helped Willie with that journey.

Despite owning a successful barbershop business for many years, Willie began hanging with the wrong crowd and trouble caught up with him. After being incarcerated three times, for a total of 12 years, Willie found his criminal history a barrier to achieving permanent employment. With only temporary jobs on the horizon, he didn’t have the stability he needed for his wife and growing family.

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Anthony's Story - Soaring to New Heights

Anthony shares his inspiring story of overcoming barriers and excelling at his new job at the Milwaukee's International General Mitchell Airport. Prior to his new position, Anthony was among the first inaugural group of Project Search interns in 2018.

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We all go through life hoping to find our dream job, and if we're lucky, we might just find it. Dakota, a young man with autism and a cognitive disability, found his dream job through the Power of Work.

Since Dakota was seven years old, he has wanted to work at a library – to feel connected to the books and stories that take him to another place. Hoping to help her son achieve his dream, Dakota’s mom, Sandy, reached out to Goodwill EmpowerOne and shared his hopes and aspirations with Goodwill job coaches. Through EmpowerOne, individuals with disabilities build the skills and independence needed to be successful both in employment and their community.

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Debra's Story - Working at the YMCA

Meet Debra. She's an inspiration to everyone she greets and works with at the YMCA.

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Volunteering Time and Talents—Men’s Bistro Club

For participants in Goodwill’s Day Services programs, success is often measured in developing the confidence and independence needed to lead more productive and active lives in the community. In our Day Services Clubhouse model, our participants progress in these skills by exploring community resources, health and wellness activities, arts and enrichment classes, and community integration. Many of these individuals hold part time jobs in the community on days they do not attend Goodwill programs and appreciate the personalized, engaging approach to building independent living, social and communication, and self-advocacy skills that Clubhouse provides.

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If you stop by Wags & Barks in Slinger, WI you can see Beth cleaning the facility and talking and singing to the dogs. According to owner Debbie S., “The place has never looked so clean!”

Beth depends upon her parents and brother Scott for daily living, transportation and communication. She always had the desire to find a job, but she had limited employment experience; the last time Beth had worked was on a farm over 30 years ago.

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After Stephen graduated from high school and started college, he wanted to find a job that could fit into his schedule. To get Stephen started, his Division of Vocation Rehabilitation (DVR) counselor referred him to Goodwill’s Workforce Development team through the Alternative Workforce Supplier Program (AWSP), a unique employment partnership with the largest e-commerce sortation facility in Kenosha.

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Robert is a donation attendant and utility worker at the Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Downers Grove, whose story epitomizes the courage and determination needed to overcome obstacles and barriers. In this video see how Robert achieved his goal of learning how to read with the help and encouragement of his store manager and Goodwill Way Guide.

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Smiling Faces

When you walk through the doors of Wellspring, an independently operated rehabilitation and skilled nursing center in Milwaukee, it’s apparent that it’s a happy place to work and a happy place to stay. And making sure it remains that way are Nara F. (shown right) and DezRay (shown below).

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After serving in the U.S. Navy as a much younger man, Roosevelt had fallen on hard times later in life and was nearing retirement age with no job, no savings and no hope.

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