Goodwill NCW partners with Appleton Housing Authority for training

Goodwill NCW’s Employment and Training Program is partnering with the Appleton Housing Authority to offer virtual skills training to residents on stress management and attitude in the wake of COVID-19.

Danielle Koepke, Family Support Specialist at Appleton Housing Authority, which provides housing options for low- and moderate-income households, is looking for ways for families to continue to stay connected, feel supported during a time when everything feels uncertain and make progress toward their individual goals.

“With school, work and most recreation at a standstill, it can feel like progress towards anything is on hold,” Danielle said.

David Foertsch, Goodwill NCW Vocational Coordinator, put together a customized lesson on stress management and attitude with a focus on COVID-19’s impact. Topics include reactions to stress, changes in routine, fears, understanding attitudes and controlling or influencing them, silver linings, healthy coping mechanisms, ways to stay social, importance of self-care and how to prep for a career if laid off.

“I think everyone is struggling with fear of the unknown,” Danielle said. “Nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes. Society as a whole went from full steam ahead to lockdown in a matter of days. The type of stress families are experiencing as a result is different. Old coping mechanisms may not be effective here. David was able to offer new ideas and encourage families to try them out. Our participating families were able to talk about what was working for them and offer support to each other. Possibly without realizing it, they became each other’s support network.”

One of the best aspects about this most recent skills training was being able to meet people where they are at, listen to the stories and adapt the lesson accordingly, David said.

“The lesson has powerful information for improving quality of life, but it shines most when that information is applied directly to people’s lives — hearing their unique successes and challenges and finding where to go from there,” he said.

“One of Goodwill NCW’s goals is to empower others with the tools for a successful life. Danielle and the Appleton Housing Authority saw that same goal of continuing to serve others well through this unprecedented time — leveraging technology to virtually offer skills training has been a wonderful adaptation. It’s uplifting to see how barriers don’t need to stop someone from succeeding, they just offer the opportunity to strive another way.”

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