Menu

GoodStories

1 2 3 16

Contractivity program and Pierce celebrate partnership

A Goodwill job-training program celebrated a special milestone and its partnership with Pierce Manufacturing, an Oshkosh Corp. Co., at the Goodwill Shiner Center in Appleton on Tuesday.

Since 2014, Contractivity has been working with Pierce Manufacturing in cleaning and repackaging safety glasses into plastic sleeves. Team members and visitors at Pierce are required to wear safety glasses on site. Earlier this year, Contractivity marked its 100,000 pair of completed safety glasses.

Contractivity is a program that assists businesses in accomplishing tasks that aren’t cost-effective to be performed in-house while providing job training to people with barriers to employment.

“We’re so happy to work with you on these glasses,” said Aimeè McClure, senior environmental manager with Pierce, adding that the partnership keeps used safety glasses out of the landfill and provides cost savings.

The partnership has given 58 program participants a total of 3,196 hours of job-skills training over five years.

“We’re really, really thankful for this partnership,” said Paul Brunette, Contractivity program leader.

Brandon Strobel, who has been with Goodwill since 1999, was recognized for having the highest number of tracked hours devoted to the Pierce job. Brandon worked more than 300 hours on this contract.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a nonprofit human services organization whose mission is Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

 

 

Deployed husband’s gift accidentally donated

If you love a story with a happy ending, this one is for you!

Molly Cook, customer experience team leader at the Oshkosh Retail Store and Training Center, received a frantic phone call on a May evening from a woman, who said she was in the middle of a move and her jewelry box had been donated to that Goodwill by mistake.

“She began to cry and explained that it wasn’t the jewelry box itself, but she had put a necklace from her husband in the box and it was the last thing he had bought her before he was deployed overseas,” Molly said.

Molly also received a call from the soldier’s mom, who was just as upset and crying. She understood the importance of finding the special necklace.

Locating this donation posed an added challenge because donations are sorted immediately, and, in this case, the jewelry would have been sent to the ecommerce team at the Goodwill Shiner Center in Appleton and the jewelry box would have been priced and put on the store floor.

Molly acted quickly to catch the crew that already had left for the day by emailing the entire team and then talking to team members first thing the next morning.

When store team leader Jessica Kostuck heard about the donor’s situation, she remembered putting a jewelry box next to a pricing station and took off to look for it.

And there it was — the necklace still inside!

“This was definitely one of my favorite moments here at Goodwill,” said Molly, adding that the grateful woman stopped in a week later with a thank you card for the team. “I was amazed we found this donation with how many donations Oshkosh gets on the weekend! So happy it worked out the way it did.”

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

Here’s how to take the sting out of summer spending

When is the last time you remember taking a vacation and not going over your spending budget?

If the answer is, “Gee, I really can’t remember,” you are not alone.

A 2015 study conducted by Experian reported that 68% of people spend more than expected on vacation.

Millennials, especially, rely heavily on the use of credit to fund their vacations. According to the same study, millennial respondents indicated their intent to charge an average of 60% of their summer vacation expenses to their credit cards.

Financial Information and Service Center, a program of Goodwill, offers free Power of Money workshops. Participants can discover proven ways to build a budget that works, spend less and save more, reduce debt, prepare for unexpected expenses and have financial peace of mind. These three-week classes are held on consecutive Tuesdays from 6 to 8:15 p.m. at the Goodwill Community Campus, 1800 Appleton Road, Menasha. To register, call 920-886-1000 or go online to www.fisc-cccs.org/workshops/the-power-of-money.

Here are FISC’s tips on how to take the sting out of summer spending.

When making summer vacation plans, include a vacation spending plan. We all want that time away from it all and, let’s face it, once we’re on the road or on the plane, we start to indulge. A spending plan doesn’t limit your fun but instead gives permission to spend without worry or guilt. “Ice cream every day!” might be your vacation motto so it should be in the spending plan.

Get detailed. Think beyond the cost of airline tickets and lodging. Factor in costs associated with transportation — car rental, tolls or just gas; food — meals, groceries and ice cream; lodging and camping fees; tickets for tours and activities; special gear and clothing. Calculate the total cost and then add a 10% cushion for incidentals.

Decide an allowance amount for each person in the family. This is a teachable moment for kids. Do they choose the cute inflatable turtle or the coolest kite they’ve ever seen?

Determine what costs associated with the trip you will pay for with credit and which ones you will pay for with cash. The benefits of paying with cash are you can save now and plan your summer fun around what you can afford. Hold a garage sale or sell items online with a specific plan for the profits, such as the family camping trip.

It’s fine to use the credit card within the boundaries of your vacation spending plan, and it is the obvious choice for reservations or online tickets. Think about what purchases will be with cash and what will go on the card. Cash for the small stuff, swipe for the big stuff. Ideally, you’ll have money available in a dedicated vacation savings account to pay the credit card bill when it arrives.

“People want to come home from vacation with happy memories, not unmanageable credit card bills,” said Guy Abramo, president of consumer business at Experian Consumer Services. “Racking up excessive credit card debt without a plan to pay it off can put people in a bind that could affect their financial health and credit status for years to come.”

It’s also a smart idea to get a handle on all your summer fun by making a list of the activities and events you want to take in, such as day trips, music festivals, camps, concerts and family reunions. Prioritize and plan a summer budget accordingly.

Remember, you don’t have to spend money to have fun. Look for low-cost entertainment ideas through your credit union or bank, public library, tourism office and your social media network.

By planning ahead and sticking to the plan, you can take the sting out of summer spending. You’ll feel happier, relaxed, rejuvenated and less stressed. And isn’t that really what vacation is all about?

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Mom of 6 regains control of finances through Goodwill program

Cassie came to the Financial Wellness Center at the Fox Valley Technical College Riverside Campus in Oshkosh in 2017 for a referral after her financial aid was suspended.

During that initial meeting at the Financial Wellness Center, Nikki Dahlke, then satellite team leader, determined that Cassie was being garnished for defaulted student loans and had some older debt she didn’t know how to handle.

Cassie

A single mom with six children, Cassie explained how she had wanted to return to school so she could earn a higher wage and try to get ahead of her bills instead of always feeling behind.

The Financial Wellness Center sees students’ struggles, hardships and hopes for a better future.

Financial Information and Service Center, a program of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, opened the Financial Wellness Center in fall 2016. FISC coaches counsel students experiencing financial emergencies, with the goal of lessening their debt and financial strain long term, and coach them toward self-sufficiency.

It’s the third Financial Wellness Center FISC has implemented with its technical college partners. The first FWC was initiated at the Appleton FVTC campus in 2011, followed by one at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College campus in Green Bay in 2012.

Together, Nikki and Cassie worked on a budget and sent in a form to stop the garnishment so she could get that money back in her paychecks. Cassie was advised to rehabilitate her student loans and established an income-based repayment plan option. This brought her student loans current and in good standing again, allowing her to receive financial aid again to return to school.

Cassie began working on a medical assistant technical diploma at FVTC in fall 2017. She was put on financial aid suspension halfway through after not passing a class.

“Instead of giving up, she paid out of pocket for two semesters by budgeting her tax return,” Nikki said. “She successfully completed the degree and graduated from FVTC in December 2018 all while working part time, getting involved with student organizations on campus and being a hands-on mom to her children. Cassie had to drop her hours at work to keep up with the demands of her classes, but with careful budgeting on her own she was able to make it work by using her tax refund throughout the entire year. Her wages with this degree will increase from $12 to $16-$18 an hour range.”

Cassie expressed that her dream always has been to buy a Habitat for Humanity home for her kids to grow up in. With help from the Financial Wellness Center, Cassie is currently working on building up her credit and recently met with Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh to discuss the potential of becoming a homeowner in 2020 or 2021.

“Without the Financial Wellness Center, I’m not sure where I would be,” Cassie said.

Cassie’s motivation and determination to regain control of her finances have paid off. She has paid all her bills on time for nearly two years, is debt free and has raised her income while showing her family to never give up on your hopes and dreams.

“Looking back, I am overwhelmed at all that I have accomplished,” Cassie said. “The Financial Wellness Center is hands down the best service, and I wish everyone would use it.”

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

Fourth annual Goodwill scavenger hunt honors organizer’s mom

The fourth annual Restoring Hope Thrift Shop Scavenger Hunt was held over Mother’s Day weekend and took teams to Goodwill retail store and training centers throughout the Fox Valley in search of goodies on their list and with a few special tasks and fun challenges to complete, including finding albums or CDs featuring artists from the 1985 song, “We Are the World.”

It’s a tribute Lisa Madison of Seymour started in 2016 to her mom, Marlene Matuszak, who died in 2014 after an organ transplant.

Lisa created the fundraiser to benefit Restoring Hope Transplant House, a nonprofit organization that serves transplant families throughout Wisconsin and is based in Middleton. It was a place of comfort for Lisa and her family.

The event has raised more than $12,000, including $4,509 this year, in the past four years.

“Although it’s the fourth anniversary of the event, another anniversary is quickly approaching,” Lisa said. “It will be five years since our mom received a donor liver and five years since my family and I and a selfless donor’s family had to say our final goodbye. Beyond the fun-filled day’s events of searching for items on our list, igniting our creative side through the hunt’s challenges and the comradery experienced by the participants and the staff at the Goodwill stores and the Harley-Davidson dealerships, the event is about love – love for our courageous mom and all of our family, love and support for a place and its people whom exemplify love and a true and deep gratitude and love for those that gave others a second chance at life.”

Teams meet at a restaurant in Seymour and are deployed from there. Each team has a list but only can shop at the Goodwill they were assigned to. Teams take pictures of each item they found and can earn bonus points for such extras as paying it forward or having a coordinated team outfit.

One challenge encourages teams to set a proper place setting in honor of organ donors. New this year, teams also had to stop at the Harley-Davidson dealership closest to the Goodwill store they drew for. While there, teams had to take a group photo and find one item.

The team with the most points wins. The fundraiser also includes basket raffles and 50/50 raffles along with food and refreshments.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

Box shredder promotes recycling and job training

An industrial cardboard shredder being used at Goodwill NCW’s Shiner Center in Appleton not only repurposes recyclable materials, saving money and resources, but it also provides job-training opportunities for program participants.

It’s a win-win for Goodwill’s Mission Services and E-commerce teams that has the opportunity for more growth.

Jamie uses the industrial cardboard shredder at the Shiner Center in Appleton.

Using the cardboard boxes Goodwill receives from donations to its 27 retail stores and training centers and Outlet Store, participants in the Contractivity! program prep the pieces for the shredder and feed it into the machine, turning the cardboard into pliable waffleboard that is then used by the E-Commerce team when packaging online orders for shipment.

About 25 program participants are trained to work the machine, which runs five to eight hours a day. Program participants, who face barriers to employment, receive job-training benefits. The machine is workable for all ages, there isn’t much weight involved and nonverbal program participants and varying abilities can run it.

“It’s great for some of our participants who struggle with other jobs,” said Paul Brunette, leader of Contractivity! and GoodWipers. “This is a pretty easy one to show and explain. There are still several steps to it, which is really good. The team sees the value in the recycling of the product.

“It’s just a great benefit for the team,” Paul said.

Once an industrial-size rolling cart is filled, a Contractivity! program participant transports it to E-Commerce.

When Jen Ainsworth, leader of E-Commerce, bought the shredder for $1,500 in October 2018, she saw the environmental, cost-saving and job-training potential in the machine.

“We are repurposing materials we get a lot of,” Jen said. “We are giving it one more life before it gets recycled.

“The more we can depend on donated or lower-cost materials, the less we are going to be spending on packing materials, particularly nonrecyclable materials.”

In 2018, E-Commerce spent $56,000 on packing materials, including biodegradable packing peanuts. It is on target to save $14,000 in 2019 alone, with the potential for saving more.

Where they once went through four bags of packing peanuts a day at $27 a unit, E-Commerce now is going through four industrial-size carts’ worth of pliable waffleboard a day.

“We’ve already seen huge impact in the orders of peanuts alone,” Jen said.

“The cardboard has done a lot,” said Travis Nagle, E-Commerce assistant team leader. “They are able to use the cardboard with the peanuts to make even better packing material.”

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

 

Former FISC client becomes debt management specialist

When Jodi Moynihan tells her clients struggling with debt, “I can relate,” she means it.

Jodi, who joined Goodwill’s FISC program as a debt management specialist in May 2018, is a former client who received financial coaching and assistance 20 years ago from FISC. She and her husband were about $30,000 in debt after living off their credit cards for a year after her husband left his job to start a business and Jodi had just given birth to their son and was working part time.

“We needed some help,” she said. “We were always able to make the payments, but we weren’t able to make more than the minimum payment.”

Not able to get ahead and without savings to rely on, they had to turn to their credit cards when an emergency arose. After a year with the FISC program, they were able to buy their first home, and all their debt has been paid off.

Jodi also learned important life lessons about living without material things and showing self-control until they had the money to buy nonessentials.

“There are so many things that we don’t need to buy,” she said.

Jodi now sets up debt management plans (DMPs) with the individual creditors, monitors client DMPs and helps clients when there is an issue with their DMP.

“Having been a previous client of FISC, I like that I am now able to help people improve their financial health and encourage them as they go through this process, as the team members did for me,” she said.

“I enjoy helping people, and I knew what it did for me. I knew I would be helping people be happier and enjoy their lives because they wouldn’t be as stressed out over money.”

After having worked with high school students with cognitive disabilities, assisted in Goodwill’s School-to-Work program and been a foster parent, Jodi related to the mission of Goodwill — Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment — and understood the need in the community and the role Goodwill plays in it.

“It gives me the empathy to help the clients without judging them,” she said. “Coming in, I understood the purpose to the program.”

Jodi understands, too, that people who have high credit card debt often are viewed as irresponsible and knows firsthand that assessment isn’t fair. She has talked with clients who are in their situation because they are paying costly medical bills with their credit cards so they can continue to receive needed care.

“You can’t judge everybody and think that they are irresponsible and foolish,” Jodi said. “It happens gradually and goes away gradually.”

Her role is to offer support and encouragement to clients, who go through the Power of Money workshop and set up budgets with FISC counselors before working with her, and to suggest different ways of thinking, such as choosing free entertainment options rather than staying overnight at a hotel or choosing to eat at home rather than dining out.

“It will pay off in the long run,” she said.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

 

VF Outdoor Appleton supports Goodwill program with Vans sale

Communities make Goodwill NCW programs a success, and a recent fundraiser that benefitted the Miracle League of the Fox Valley shows the power in that support.

VF Outdoor, which is based in Appleton, is a subsidiary of VF Corp. and offers support for such VF Corp. brands such as Vans, The North Face, JanSport, Timberland and more. Colleen Heindel, senior customer service manager for Vans with VF Outdoor Appleton, had heard about the Vans Gives Back Employee Sales events while visiting Vans headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif. She wanted to give the Appleton team the same opportunity to give back.

Colleen reached out to other VF Outdoor Appleton leaders for suggestions on organizations the fundraising event could benefit. Greg Wilda, whose son Noah played with the Miracle League of the Fox Valley for five seasons with his sister, Zoe, as his buddy, nominated the Goodwill program. MLFV gives children with disabilities an opportunity to play baseball on an accessible field.

VF Outdoor Appleton held their Vans Gives Back Employee Sale on March 14 in the former JanSport outlet store, which was merchandised with Vans for the day. A lottery system determined when the employees could do their highly anticipated allotted 30 minutes of shopping.

On April 11, Rachel Roloff of VF Outdoor Appleton, Colleen and her Vans team presented a check to Lisa Robbins, Miracle League of the Fox Valley program manager, for $26,236.19 from the Vans sale.

“It’s a crazy, huge amount of money,” Lisa said. “I was speechless when I heard the final number of the donation. This is the largest donation in the 10-year history of the program. I’m so grateful to VF Outdoor Appleton — they believe in what we do in our community — and for the players, families and volunteers of the MLFV.”

“As a VF employee and as the proud dad of a now retired Miracle Leaguer, there just aren’t enough thank yous to do this justice,” Greg Wilda said. “The whole Vans team, everyone who set up and worked at the sale, everyone back in Cali that arranged to get the product here and everyone who made a purchase and/or rounded up their total to increase their donation. You all did something really cool for a great organization.”

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

Former program participant retires as program coordinator

It’s a great day at the Goodwill store!

Anyone who knows Victoria Williams Kriegl has heard that mantra lovingly repeated over and over throughout the 16 years she has worked for Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin. It’s one she shares with shoppers, team members, program participants and anyone within earshot.

It’s just that kind of positive thinking that has gotten her through the best of times and the times she wondered how she could possibly survive.

Victoria, 62, who started as a program participant with Goodwill NCW after having a stroke, retired this month as the program coordinator at the Menasha Retail Store and Training Center, where she elevated the lives of thousands of program participants over her career.

“Goodwill’s gift is giving, and if I can give some part of me that can enhance a program participant, then I have done my job,” she said.

In addition to the stroke, Victoria lived through the death of two sons, making her way with fierce determination and the support of her Goodwill family.

Here’s her story.

In the beginning

After having a stroke and undergoing therapy, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation sent Victoria to Goodwill NCW for a vocational evaluation to determine what work she could do and what she might be good at.

Jodi Pavlak, Goodwill NCW vocational evaluator, remembers meeting an unhappy and grumpy Victoria 16 years ago when she performed the 10-day evaluation.

“I didn’t want to be here,” Victoria said, adding that she immediately was paired up with a woman in the retail store and training center’s production area who didn’t know English.

It took about five minutes to break down barriers, and the patient woman showed Victoria tricks on dealing with buttons and zippers — something that didn’t come easily after her stroke. She also helped Victoria determine her next career path along with a program coordinator, who noticed something in Victoria — she would rather help others than be helped.

That realization sent her on a path of wanting to assist people with disabilities in learning job skills. It was a disappointing path at first when she applied for job after job, only to be rejected time and time again.

Frustrated, Victoria once again returned to Goodwill, asking for a chance — this time as a job coach instead of a program participant.

And she got it.

“It’s been wonderful watching her grow,” said Jodi, adding that when Victoria first came to Goodwill she was scared. To see her come from that to where she is today makes her a true reflection of Goodwill’s mission of Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment.

“She believes in herself, and she believes in others,” she said.

‘Let’s see’

Three days into her job as a coach, Victoria’s son was killed in a car accident.

“It was devastating.”

She found support and solace at work in two team members, who didn’t shy away from her tears and didn’t want her to grieve alone and in private. “They stayed with me,” Victoria said.

Their attitude of “see what you can do” shaped Victoria and her coaching style with program participants.

“I hear the words, ‘I can’t,’ and I always say, ‘Let’s see,’” Victoria said.

If you show people they are capable of taking small steps first, they learn to take the large steps along the way, she said.

Darlene Rollins had challenges in her life before coming to Goodwill in October through Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE) and said Victoria has been so encouraging and caring that not only has she learned job skills but she has found her self-esteem again.

Diane Howe, a program participant through Curative Connections, came to Goodwill and Victoria three years ago after having two strokes. “She got me going. She’s made me a better person.”

“I’m a stepping stone, and I will help you get it,” Victoria said. “Your future will be wide open.”

Over the course of her Goodwill career, Victoria transitioned from positions as job coach to program coordinator to store leadership and then to program coordinator again when she missed the one-to-one connection with program participants.

“The smiles I get — that is the best part of my day.”

And she and Jodi became the best of friends.

‘Now I can’

Five years ago, Victoria lost another son in a car accident.

“All of Goodwill held me up,” she said.

“Goodwill has given me a wonderful spirit and a wonderful chance.”

In return and in abundance, Victoria has given back to customers and to program participants, so they know they can do it, too. Just like she has proven.

“What really enthuses me is when I think of the program people I am working with — what can I teach them today that they might retain tomorrow.”

Jodi said Victoria’s legacy will be how incredibly patient, caring, empathetic, loving and persistent she is — persistent in trying to figure out a different way to do things. Rather than saying no and moving on, she works to find a way. Always find a way.

“I lift their spirits,” Victoria said.

And if it’s a bad day, make it a good day.

Jodi said program participants will say, “You have no idea what I’m going through.” Rather than saying, “Well, listen to my story,” she is empathetic, listens and makes it about the individual, not about her.

“My motivation comes from part of my life when I couldn’t do it, and now I can and can help others,” Victoria said. “I help people do things they think they can’t do.”

It’s a great day at the Goodwill store!

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that believes in Elevating People by Eliminating Barriers to Employment across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at www.reStitch.com, a women’s apparel website, and www.shopgoodwill.com. It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of GuideStar.org, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit www.goodwillncw.org.

Restorative justice program leader receives community award

The Wausau Police Department hosts an annual awards banquet to celebrate the great work performed by the WPD staff and community partners.

This year, Paula Schultz, leader of Marathon County Restorative Justice, a program of Goodwill, received the Community Caretaker Award at the March 5 banquet.

The community caretaker honor is usually awarded to a law enforcement officer in recognition of efforts to assist citizens in a variety of ways. This year Paula was nominated for the award because of the work she does to improve the lives of youth, families and community partners through the Marathon County Restorative Justice program.

Paula demonstrates compassion in everything she does. She goes above and beyond to champion the rights of both victims and offenders. She has a gift in her ability to make connections with those who face adversity and uses her talent to help youth find success despite any barriers they may face.

1 2 3 16
Goodwill Stores Near You!
Apply Today
Returning Applicant
Board of Directors
Find Your Goodwill!