Mission Services Awareness Day 2017

As I sat in a meeting, I listened to a store manager mention that someone she interviewed said, “Goodwill exists to help poor people.” That statement hit me hard that day.  Goodwill has various programs to assist every population within the communities we serve.  At that point, I realized we as employees need to not just “do” the mission, but share our mission!  Customers and donors need to know how they are helping their community and where they fit into the Cycle of Success!


On Friday, May 19th, 2017, mission services staff along with volunteers from other departments at Goodwill spent the day at all 24 Goodwill retail locations. The goal was to share Goodwill’s mission and to thank customers and donors while explaining how they are fitting into the Cycle of Success!

Staff had tables set up full of information on various programs, the Goodwill mission, Goodwill's Cycle of Success, Mission Moment cards, as well as sweet treats and Goodwill coloring pages for the younger shoppers. 

Shoppers were greeted, thanked and offered information.  At many locations, donors were also greeted and given Mission Moment cards which have the Cycle of Success on the back and donors were shown how they're the catalyst to beginning the cycle.

The day was full of gratitude, appreciation and sharing!  Most customers were not sure what to say when they were greeted with a thank you!  The day was a success in many ways! 

Tracy's Story

TracyAt Goodwill, we set out to help individuals become the best versions of themselves through life and employment skills training programs, and we work with our clients in a special way that helps maximize individual and community impact. At the end of the day, we want to change lives…for good. Our Goodwill staff has had the honor of serving someone who shares in our passion for impacting lives – Tracy Smith wants to change the world.

In a story symbolic of so many trying to break the cycle of poverty and addiction, Tracy has a passion, but the means to pursue it seemed far out of reach when she first came to Goodwill. She has a strong desire to work in the social services field, and she dreams of owning a recovery center for women trying to overcome addiction and create better lives for their children.

She enrolled in our Dream to Achieve Program, which provides flexible, individualized services that create opportunities for people and families to become happy, whole and self-sufficient. It’s a program that lets our clients set the tone and pace, but provides concrete and helpful resources for overcoming obstacles in reaching their goals.  

Tracy laid out an ambitious school and work schedule, completing her practicum at a sober living home while attending Stark State College. She remained active in her Dream to Achieve Program and constantly thought about next steps. Tracy graduated in January of this year – a milestone moment in reaching her dream to open a recovery center for women. Tracy was also awarded Goodwill’s “Achiever of the Year” award at Goodwill’s annual Report to the Community event this past March. We at Goodwill have seen Tracy’s drive and ambition and believe she can accomplish her dreams and change the world…for good.

I’d like to invite community members looking to learn more about Goodwill and our mission, to attend an upcoming Get Acquainted with Goodwill luncheon on May 31. Tracy will be there to speak about her experiences with Goodwill and give us an update her progress towards reaching her dream of helping others.

Please visit click here to register for this free luncheon online, or email to reserve a seat. We hope to see you there.


Anne Richards

Interim President & CEO

Five Ways to Combat Summertime Boredom with Goodwill

SumerbreakThe end of the school year is barreling down on kids, teachers and parents alike. And while two of those three groups of people may be ready for a well-deserved summer vacation, I’d venture to bet that parents are a little worried about their kids at home for the next two and a half months. Some are frantically enrolling their kids in any summer camp or programming available, others are calling in grandma for help, and some parents are leaving their kids at home and up to their own devices. The first summer “home alone” can be exciting for teens but a little terrifying for parents. As my co-worker just said, “it’s going to be hunger games at my house this summer… not both of my kids will make it out alive.”  I have to admit I laughed out loud at that one… but it also got me thinking about how Goodwill can help ease some parental worry and help your kids combat summertime boredom.

Trying to help some parents out there, I came up with a list of five ways Goodwill can help.

Bored Games (pun intended) – I browsed a local Goodwill’s games section and noticed classic and unique board games for sale. Learning and playing a new game is always fun. Board games are great to bring your family (and kids) together in the spirit of healthy competition. Even better, all the games I was looking at were priced under $10.


Five Dollar Reward – Okay, sometimes being a parents means we’re not above bribing our kids to get them to do a load of laundry or clean their rooms. Taking the kiddos on a “five-dollar shopping spree” at Goodwill is a fun and frugal way to reward or treat your kids. You can definitely find shirts, flip flops, DVDs and books for five-dollars or less.


Teen Donating ClothesDonate – Maybe it’s just me, but even has a teen I always enjoyed sorting through all my “stuff” and purging clothing, books and toys I no longer needed. Task the kids with collecting twenty-five items to donate to Goodwill. Who knows, you may even get a reorganized bedroom closet out it!

Volunteer – Along the same lines as your teens cleaning out their own closets, Goodwill offers a volunteer opportunity for teens to organize and host their own community donation drive. Often times, high-schoolers need to complete a certain number of community service hours over the summer break. Hosting a donation drive is a unique, fun spin on building up some service hours. Click here for more information!

New Entertainment – Did you know that books, used CDs and DVDs are all priced at $1 at Goodwill? Encourage your teens to head to Goodwill first when looking for a new book to read or a new video game to play.

What do you think of the list? Anything you’d like to add? And please, share your ideas and activities that seem to work for keeping your kids entertained over the summer break! I’d love to hear from you.

Connect > Feel > Do Something

Quantum Mechanics tells us that we are all connected on a molecular level (thank you, Google), and the “Golden Rule” urges us to recognize the relationship between ourselves and others when weighing decisions. While we might “know” that we are in a give-and-take relationship with basically everything, sometimes we let days – even weeks or months go by – without “feeling” it.

Recently, I have spent some quality time with some people going through major life transitions. The kind of stuff that is hard and messy - but worth it. Goodwill has been involved in their journeys in different ways; in some cases we still are.

I am here to report that these folks are doing some of the most difficult jobs the planet has to offer. Raising kids in the midst of poverty – while working. Literally choosing between food and medicine (this happens daily to someone you know, or someone who knows someone you know. Find that person and talk to them). Having the courage to take care of themselves before others, because if they don’t an old addiction could come knocking. It’s hard, it’s messy – and it’s definitely worth it.

As an agency, Goodwill is committed to helping people using a wrap-around approach that addresses multiple needs. As human beings, we need to be committed to spending at least a few minutes each day thinking about what we can do to help. The best way to assess that for yourself is to connect with others, and simply listen.

As we’ve stated before in this blog, there is a day called “Giving Tuesday” that comes around once a year. If you are connected to people who need help, and feeling those emotions with them, you know the urgency of their situations and the hourly burdens they carry. Let’s give on any Tuesday – time, talent or treasure.

You can support Goodwill today, or any day, by donating here.

If volunteering is more your thing, call Allyson Rey at (330) 454-9461 Ext. 4734.

This is Alex, and He's a Miracle Cat

 This is Alex.

Alex Blog

Alex is a miracle cat, for two reasons.

One, he was left in an abandoned, foreclosed house for some amount of time that we will never know, and probably should have starved to death. Luckily, this cat’s favorite thing to do is eat - so he found a way to survive. (And I don’t even want to know what that might have entailed.)

Second, we have a board at work where we post goals that we are comfortable sharing publicly, so our co-workers can keep us accountable to achieving them. On February 17, 2016, I posted that I really wanted to get a cat. I had never had a cat, I didn’t know much about cats except I thought they were really cute and fun, and we weren’t allowed to have pets at the place where we were living at the time. But all that aside, I really, REALLY wanted one, so up on the board it went. A few hours go by and magic is happening and I don’t even know it, because I went home from work THAT NIGHT and my husband and two daughters had gotten Alex for me as an early birthday gift. Shock. (And, as a pretty standard rule follower, one of the first things I said was “but we are not allowed to have pets!” That’s when my husband told me he had been working with the shelter and the landlord for a couple of weeks, getting what each needed to make this work. Wow!)

Miracle reasons one and two. So why am I telling you this?

Because that experience has made me want to be charitable toward the shelter that kept Alex safe and full until he came to his rightful home (OURS) and I would like to invite anyone reading this to do the same – think about an experience in your life that has touched you, and then think about ways you can give back in honor of that.

At Goodwill, our mission is to help people become the best versions of themselves by helping them train for, find, and keep good jobs. If you or someone you know has been affected by lack of employment, Goodwill might be a good match for your gifts. Whatever the case, today we ask that you consider donating your time, talents, or treasure to trusted charity that is meaningful to you.

You can watch a couple of short videos that tell real life stories of exactly how Goodwill helps in your community here.

If you decide Goodwill is the rightful home of your gift, you can donate here. If something else is calling you, please make a commitment to donate today. Who knows – your donation could be the start of someone else’s magical miracle!

This Dresser Can Talk

Ahhh, moving. It’s so fun to take every single thing you own and cart it somewhere else. Then, you get to put it all back again! It’s great, right?

No it’s not. And when you are done, you will probably be left with some stuff that isn’t working in your new space. Right now, the top of this tallboy dresser is one of those things for me. I used the bottom of it at our old place, and I find myself using it again. But as cool as this top part is, I haven’t found a use for it. So there it sits, in the garage.


 Then, inspiration struck. I think it was a combination of seeing this dresser in an outdoor setting all the time, because I would push it into the backyard when I was organizing the garage, and springtime, with neighbors hanging baskets and planting this and that. This dresser was meant to be one of those super cute non-traditional outdoor planters! This is what I envision:

Dresser Inspiration

Understand this will be a challenge for me, because I am not usually that crafty, and plants hate me for sure. But this piece is screaming to be used for this purpose, so I shall oblige. I am giving myself a deadline of June 30. (I am not lazy, I just don’t have any weekends to myself until mid-June. Three words: Kids In Soccer.) If it isn’t stuffed with plants and flowers and such by that date, guess where it’s going – Goodwill, of course!

I should note that I took approximately 1,762 loads to Goodwill in the course of our move. (Okay, I am exaggerating, but it felt like that many.) I am a big believer in living light and lean, and I encourage anyone going through any major transition to keep a serious Goodwill pile going - you will feel better. I only kept this dresser this long because an old neighbor gave it to me, so it has personal value. But June 30 is June 30 – it’s done or it’s Goodwilled. Check back to see what happens!

5 Invaluable Tips for Frugal Fashionistas

Staying at the forefront of style is possible even for those on a budget if you consider secondhand shopping. Not only can you find name-brand pieces at bargain prices, but also some easy upgrades can make even outdated items ready to wear. Here are five strategies fashionistas can use to update thrift store pieces to align with current trends.

1. Upgrade Buttons

Replacing basic buttons on an old coat or blazer is a great way to give it a brand new look. Some savvy shoppers keep a collection of interesting buttons for this very purpose, while others scour their local sewing supply and craft stores for just the right accents.

2. Update Your Toolbox

While there are budget finds to be had at the thrift store, they might need a little work once you’re wearing your new outfit. Invest in a steamer or steam iron, which can make even the most well-loved pieces look new. Double-sided tape helps clothing adhere to the skin and can be used to create a hemline. Additionally, a simple sewing kit is a must to repair small tears.

3. Know What to Look For

Certain pieces look expensive even when bought secondhand. For example, plain leather bags without embellishment are a great find, since inexpensive hardware can look dingy over time. When it comes to shoes, opt for suede over leather if you're going faux. 

4. Accessorize

Thrift stores are a great place for picking up accessories to tie an outfit together. Often times we invest in the core pieces of an outfit that we don’t have funds available for extra items to enhance the look. Scarves, belts, jewelry and handbags can always be found at Goodwill.

5. Make a List

If you're not acclimated to shopping in secondhand stores, picking through rack after rack of items can be overwhelming. Focus on just one or two things per visit—a great pair of vintage jeans, for example. This will increase your chances of an awesome find.

With these five tips, you'll be ready to conquer thrift store shopping and have a whole new wardrobe for pennies on the dollar.

Some of the Best Items to Buy at a Thrift Store

More than 20 Goodwill stores throughout Cleveland and East Central Ohio introduce hundreds of new items to the sales floor every day. Among them are discount clothing, home decor items, collectibles, supplies for do-it-yourself projects, and much more. Here are some items worth a close look when shopping.

Clothing and Labels

Brand-name garments tend to sell fast. The public is always searching online for a favorite label at a thrift store without paying boutique or department store prices.

Glassware and Pottery

Vintage Pyrex cookware and glass in different colors and shapes is always popular. So, too, is the mark of Waterford or Fostoria. Vases, dinnerware, or pottery with an embossed sign underneath may signal the possibility of a collectible.

Value of Video Games

Video games can be a source of nostalgia, among other lures, and certain titles and genres are in particular demand. The oldest and the newest tend to sell better.

Picture Frames and Art

There's always demand at a thrift store for large, ornate picture frames. Take a close look at frames and consider those in particularly good condition. Sometimes the frames, especially those with an antique flair, may be worth more than the artwork itself.

These are only a few of the popular items selling quickly at Goodwill thrift stores and others. Keeping track online and with an occasional visit is worth the time and effort.  

Exciting Changes to Goodwill's Color of the Week Promotion

COTW Changes

In our Goodwill stores, our number one priority is to provide our shoppers with top-notch customer service. We want to make sure our customers have fun and feel valued when they choose to shop at our stores – because ultimately, you the Goodwill shopper are the driver behind fueling our mission in our local communities. When you shop at Goodwill, you change a life… for good!

Our retail leadership team always wants to hear customer feedback and suggestions. We’re thrilled to introduce exciting changes to our Color of the Week rotation, thanks to shopper feedback.

Starting April 9th our Color of the Week will be $1.00 on Sundays and Mondays only. After Monday, keep shopping great deals on our 50% off color.

Goodwill is excited about this change to reduce the $1.50 color to $1.00. The reduced $1.00 merchandise will be on our sales floor for a full two days. In the past, shoppers noticed that our retail stores had to rotate the $1.50 items while the sale was still taking place, and now we won’t have to do that anymore. 

We’re always looking for ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. If you have specific recommendations, please let us know. Goodwill’s ultimate goal is to continue to provide fresh, quality merchandise at a great price, every time you shop!

Thank you again to our shoppers and donors for your continued support of your local Goodwill.


Easily Make a Beautiful, Affordable Centerpiece With Thrift Store Finds

Chic decor that enhances a room doesn't require a huge budget. It just needs an eye for detail, a desire to create something of beauty, and a shopping trip to a thrift store. That's right – a visit to your local secondhand shop. It's a great place to find unique pieces and treasures that can be arranged into an eye-catching centerpiece sure to enhance a room's attractiveness.

Start with Photos

Look online or through home design magazines for centerpiece ideas. Which photos do you gravitate to? What's most appealing about these particular pieces? How might you go about recreating the concept and the look?

It's perfectly fine to choose different colors or shapes to match or complement a room. The image from the home decor magazine or website is just inspiration. Starting with that idea, get creative with your thrift store finds and make something new of your own design. Often, the end result will turn out even better than the original idea!

What to Look For

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Armed with your photo research, head to a nearby thrift store. Take your time browsing through different sections. Inspiration can strike anywhere, so don't stick just to the home section while thrifting.

You may not find the exact thing used in professionally styled centerpieces, but you can look for similar items or items that perform the same function. For example, you might try to create a centerpiece that uses a crystal bowl by using a thrifted vase or a large bottle.

Try to find things that can be easily assembled at home without a great deal of work or special tools. If items can be glued or hammered together, if they need just a new coat of paint, or if they'll shine right up with a bit of scrubbing, then they're good choices. Pieces with chipped paint or ugly colors can be covered with gold leaf for a shiny, lux look. You can easily find old books with interesting looking pages that would be great for decoupage, turning a lackluster centerpiece into a literary piece.

Putting It All Together

When it's time to put the assorted pieces together, take the simplest, easiest route. Try to recreate the look and feel without having to duplicate every detail exactly. Start with the image as a guide, and then make your own unique creation in that style.

Special thanks to Vanessa for the image.