Archive for tag: Mission

Mission Services Endure During COVID-19

In 1918, Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States. Tris Speaker was roaming the outfield for the Cleveland Indians, beginning the build toward their first World Series Championship two years later. The National Football League was still two years away from being formed. And the Canton Bulldogs paused for a season, after back-to-back Ohio League Championships, due to the United States fighting and ultimately ending World War I that same year.

As we are also keenly aware, 1918 was also the year that our country dealt with the Spanish Flu pandemic that gripped the nation. During that time of difficulty and hardship, a Methodist minister named Frank Baker founded what is now known as Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio. Building on the foundation of J. Edgar Helms’ Goodwill movement that began in Boston, this organization was formed to serve those in need of a “hand up” in the Greater Cleveland area.

For the last 102 years, Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio has built upon this legacy of service, accepting clothing and household goods from our generous donors. Then turning those donations into programs that support our mission of empowering people to reach independence, strengthening families, and providing the “hand up” people need. These are the principles upon which our organization was founded. That mission continues today.

Since our founding, Goodwill has faced many challenges—all organizations do—but the challenges presented by COVID-19, the most recent pandemic to face our world, had an immense impact on Goodwill’s daily operations. Goodwill, like many businesses and retail operations, was forced to close our doors to our donors and shoppers on March 20 to slow the spread of COVID-19 and be a part of the solution to protect our fellow community members. Our stores would remain closed for nearly two months; however, during this time, Goodwill moved forward with ensuring that our essential mission services could continue in a safe and responsible manner.

Our community employment programs continued, helping those who were laid off due to business closures across the state, or helping individuals who were employed at essential businesses, like grocery stores or healthcare facilities, ensure that they could safely maintain their employment. Our team deployed remote technology and video conferencing to continue providing “face-to-face” services, even when an individual could not be physically present. Through our partnership as a provider for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, our team contacted every individual we served through OOD’s vocational programs during the previous year to check-in and determine what assistance they may need. Our Young Adult Programs, funded through the Stark and Tuscarawas County Workforce Development Board continued providing life skills, employment skills, and paid work experience for the youth we serve.  Our Dream to Achieve program, a program that has been supported by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, continued to serve individuals in our community with the wraparound supports needed to be successful in finding employment.

In addition to our employment programs, Goodwill’s Parenting Skills Program, serving individuals who may have had their children removed from their home or who are at-risk of having their children removed from the home, continued to serve and equip families. Our parenting staff team continued to provide “in-person” services in a safe, responsible, socially-distanced environment to ensure that the parents we serve received every opportunity possible to learn valuable parenting skills needed to reunite their families. Our home-based team used a mix of remote technology and in-person meetings and allowed parents to apply those skills in their homes, during a difficult time for parents and children alike.

COMPASS, Goodwill’s affiliate agency, serves survivors of sexual assault by providing counseling, case management, advocacy, and prevention services aimed at helping individuals recover from the traumatic experience of sexual assault. During the season of stay-at-home orders, COMPASS saw a marked increase of individuals in need of services. Additionally, COMPASS worked to adapt hospital advocacy services and school prevention services to include remote options due to restricted access at hospitals and school closures.

Finally, the Ken Weber Community Campus in Canton, home to Goodwill and 20 other non-profit organizations, remained open to serve individuals who needed assistance with basic needs and access to essential services. Our campus team worked with our partner organizations like the Stark County Hunger Task Force, to establish a drive-thru food delivery in order to ensure access to food for those in need, and Beacon Charitable Pharmacy, to ensure access to critical prescription medications for the uninsured and underinsured in our community.

Our mission has endured for over 100 years and through two global pandemics thanks to the dedication of our staff and Board of Directors.

Our mission has endured thanks to the support of local community foundations and funders.

Our mission has endured thanks to those who donate and shop in our stores.

Our mission endures.


Mark Trew
Vice President of Mission Services

Goodwill Mission with Sarah

Sc Professional Photo 1Sarah Carson, CCMEP Massillon Case Manager

Hello, My name is Sarah Carson and I am the case manager for The Massillon Comprehensive Case Management Employment Program (CCMEP). I am excited to share with you about CCMEP, and how CCMEP Massillon has been affected throughout the previous months due to the impact of COVID-19. CCMEP is a partnership program between Goodwill and Ohio Means Jobs, with funding from the Workforce Initiative Association. The goal of CCMEP is to help individuals between 16 and 24 years old obtain a job and maintain a job. This is a long-term employment program that combines intensive case management and job coaching to reduce life barriers and gain employment skills. Although the program looks slightly different for everyone, most participants are actively involved through work experience in the Goodwill Stores and class time. Participants rely on CCMEP Massillon provide them with a mentor/advocate, to show them how to maintain a job and achieve personal independence. The impact of CCMEP Massillon is truly life changing.

COVID-19 began with many challenges to our program. I asked myself as the case manager, “am I able to help these participants in the ways that they need under the circumstances of COVID?” I quickly realized quickly that I did not have a choice. These participants rely on CCMEP for assistance with not only employment but any areas of life that are creating barriers for them. CCMEP provides motivation for individuals to seek addiction treatment, enroll in GED classes, study for their temporary license, find stable housing, seek mental health treatment, file their taxes, and overall to learn what it means to be independent. Participants completed their class and work hours at home through packet work which educated them on various employment related areas and financial literacy. The participants and I found creative ways to touch base and have intentional conversations regarding their lives and their employment goals. We made the most of the time we spent completing programming from home. Once the stores opened again, participants were eager to return to work. We had spent so much time just talking about building skills and how to support their goals that they were all excited to return and implement our discussions.

One participant that I would like to highlight had never really had a job prior to CCMEP. She struggled greatly with transportation and knowing how to properly balance work and life.  Once the store opened again, the participant began working just a few hours in the store with me present as a job coach. Weeks later, this participant was working without constant job coaching 20 hours at the Goodwill Store, traveling to and from work independently, and is thriving! She utilized her time during the COVID-19 shut down to think about her goals and found motivation to push herself outside her comfort zone.

CCMEP Massillon as a whole has doubled the number of participants since COVID-19. The world is facing challenges that no one could have predicted. The growth in participants speaks volumes of the magnitude and importance of building job skills. Goodwill shoppers and donors help provide our participants experience with customer service, organization and so many more skills. Their employment journey is just beginning with the CCMEP program and their destination of employment will lead them down paths of great success. Future engineers, teachers, construction workers, and other careers that provide sustainable wages are getting their start thanks to your support for our mission programs.

Dr. Suess Day

I don’t remember any specific times that Cat in the Hat was read to me as a child. Growing up, I have zero recollection of what shelf Green Eggs and Ham was placed on in my house. I’m not even sure which Dr. Seuss book was my favorite back then.


One thing I’m sure of, though, Dr. Seuss books were an impressionable and significant part of my childhood. Decades after Seuss books were first read to me, I can still recite most of the books, word for word. And, I cannot deny the sentimental feelings I get when I’m reading these children’s’ classics to my own children.

And I’m not alone. Dr. Seuss is an iconic part of most of our childhoods, which is why it should be no surprise that Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2), has become a national holiday of sorts.

Classrooms and schools across the nation and the world will gather children of all ages for Read Across America. They will recite ‘Wocket in my Pocket’ and dress up like ‘Fox in Socks’ and maybe even taste some green eggs and ham.


Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel, would have been 116 years young this year. During his life, he was responsible for writing and illustrating more than 60 different children’s’ books, many of which became of the most popular books of all time.


It would be short-sighted to think that this holiday ONLY celebrates Seuss, though. Read Across America is a celebration of the importance and significance of reading, especially at a young age.

Consider these facts:

  • Across the nation less than half of children between birth and five years (47.8%) are read to every day by their parents or other family members.
  • Daily reading to children can put them one year ahead of their peers who are not read to each day.
  • Books in the home are strongly linked to academic achievement.
  • Children growing up in homes with at least 20 books get three more years of schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class.
  • The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to books.


These statistics are startling and should serve as a reminder on this literacy holiday and every day, how important reading is to children, nationwide and right here in our community.  

Goodwill has taken action and created a new program that works to address issues of literacy in our own community.

Book Works was a program first launched by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio in late 2019. The program provides gently used, age appropriate books to children and child care centers at no charge.

 Book Works
Thousands of books have already reached children throughout Stark County as a result of the Book Works program, and in 2020, thousands more will be served.

Children’s books that have been donated to Goodwill and not sold in stores are sorted and cleaned by local volunteers. Then, Goodwill partners with area schools, daycares and agencies to fulfill orders. Children that are part of the Books Works program are provided a minimum of five books, and centers are provided a minimum of 25 books. Books range from infant board books to first chapter books to teen novels. And, yes, Dr. Seuss books are oftentimes part of the Book Works order!

So, in honor of Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’ birthday and all the wonderful Seuss memories we all might share, here are a few things that you can do to support literacy in the local community:

  • Read to your children. Reading just 15 minutes a day can make a significant difference in the educational achievement of a child.
  • Donates children’s books to Goodwill. Your unused children’s books are a much-needed donation at local Goodwill stores. Find a donation center near you today.
  • Volunteer with the Book Works program. Volunteer groups are needed to sort and clean the books for the program. Email for more information.
  • Enroll your school, daycare or church in the Book Works program by completing an order form. Book orders are typically filled within two or three weeks of the order. Supplies may affect fulfillment date. 

Drive to Victory 2019

Last week wrapped up Goodwill’s second year of Drive to Victory. This friendly competition challenged schools to donate the most goods to Goodwill Industries the week leading up to a rival football game. This competition is powered by The Repository, and iHeartMedia and sponsored by the Canton Regional Chamber and Stark Educational Service Centerfor the northern schools. Southern schools were powered by WTOV and sponsored by Trinity Health Systems.

All Sponsor LogoOver the past seven weeks, twenty-two local schools have competed off the field for a chance to win a scholarship for their school. Their combined efforts have brought in 69,770 lbs. of donations the equivalent of FIVE African bush elephants if you were wondering.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio operates a network of 23 retail stores where donated goods are sold. Funds from those stores support a wide network of community programs including employment training for people with disabilities and other barriers to employments, family strengthening programs for those in crisis and rape crisis services for victims of sexual assault in our community. Last year alone, Goodwill supported more than 14,000 individuals through its outreach programs. 

Img 5573 Presenting check to Carrollton Schools

Carrollton Schools were able to use the scholarship to benefit Jacob Baker a community member who has a disability of his own. After a car accident that paralyzed Jacob from the waist down, he began to look for other outlets to keep him active. His high school track team turned out to be just the ticket. Jacob qualified with the fasted time in the state of Ohio for the 100-meter Wheelchair Dash last season. Carrollton’s Drive to Victory Scholarship along with the support of their community helped raise money for a new racing wheelchair for Jacob to compete this season. 

Drive to Victory 




Canton South  Northwest 7,988 ESC/Canton Chamber
 McKinley  North Canton 4,691 ESC/Canton Chamber
Steubenville Big Red Dover 7,581 Trinity Health Systems
Jackson Glenoak 3,380 ESC/Canton Chamber
Carrollton Central Catholic 10,580 ESC/Canton Chamber
Tusc Central Catholic  East Canton  4,084 ESC/Canton Chamber
Lake  Perry 6,323 ESC/Canton Chamber
Massillon* Louisville 14,036 ESC/Canton Chamber
Steubenville Catholic Central Madonna 5,878 Trinity Health Systems
Brooke  Weir High 2,796  Trinity Health Systems
Alliance  Marlington 2,433  ESC/Canton Chamber

*Massillon had the most donations overall at 9,483 lbs. (All donations are listed in pounds.)

Golf for Good

On Friday, September 20, 2019, community and business leaders will gather for an exciting day of golf to raise funds for the programs and services provided by Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio. This inaugural event, Golf for Good, will be held at The Quarry Golf Club in Canton.

Ball Blur Close Up 1325751

Support of Golf for Good helps thousands of individuals and families in our community. Proceeds from this event will support Goodwill’s crisis voucher program which provides much needed clothing and household goods to people who are homeless or facing an emergency situation. Last year, more than 3,200 people were helped through this valuable service.

Car Golf Cart Macro 1325705

Registration is available for individuals and foursomes and include a round of golf, lunch, dinner, door prizes, contests and raffles. To register click here. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Nicole Curet, Manager of Fund Development and Community Relations at or by phone at 330-617-4734.


Seeds of Literacy Partnership

Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio Inc. began more than 100-years ago with a mission centered around changing lives for good and impacting our community. Vice President of Mission Services Mark Trew explains, “Goodwill is dedicated to addressing barriers to employment by partnering with other organizations that serve people in need and increase our impact on the community. As Seeds of Literacy works to serve more than 110,000 adults in Cuyahoga County to achieve their educational goals, Goodwill is working to empower these individuals through connections to good jobs that enrich their lives and benefit the community.”

Infographic (1)Graphic provided by Seeds of Literacy.

Seeds is an organization with a strong mission of providing a personalized education that empowers adults to succeed. They provide free education for adults helping them prepare for GED® / TASC / HiSET. Their one-on-one tutoring grants the attention and support to meet the needs of each individual student. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and are serving more than 900 active students in the Cuyahoga County community.

This partnership is the perfect marriage of education, Seeds, and the employment skills services that your Goodwill offers. Together our two organizations will help meet a multitude of needs for a person to receive gainful employment.

We reached out to Seeds to talk about our partnership and they had this to say.

"Students have been really excited to see a presence from Goodwill at Seeds," said Billy Hallal, Digital Literacy Coordinator for Seeds of Literacy. "They've taken an active interest in the job board with postings that Leslie [Bendter] has set up. She has sat down with a lot of our students, and they've come out of those meetings with resumes and job leads. For some of our students, it's the first resume they've ever had. One of our students obtained a full-time position--union, benefits, the works--as a result of his time with Leslie. He couldn't be more excited about it, and neither could we."

The Seeds and Goodwill partnership began this past February. Director of Mission Services for the Cleveland area Joe Tabol stated, "this partnership is just the beginning and is excited to see how much we can strengthen each other’s missions." Seeds is able to start at the base level and from there Goodwill can help with the next step. Goodwill Employment Specialists, Leslie Bendter and Karen Gusik, provide on-site office hours every other week to both locations Seeds West and Seeds East respectively. Their office hours may include updating resumes, submitting applications, teaching computer skills, searching for job postings or acting as a networking representative on participants behalf.

Leslie noted that the Seeds staff is extremely dedicated to helping people and it is reflected in the relationships built between volunteers and students. Both organizations have a common goal, explained Karen, of helping people live a successful life where they not only have a job but employment with competitive wages and opportunities for growth. We believe that when community members are reaching their fullest potential, whatever that may be, our local communities are elevated and enriched.

If you are interested in learning more about Seeds of Literacy we encourage you to visit their website,  enroll as a student or sign up to volunteer.

Blur Books Close Up 159866 (1)

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  This year, SAAM is celebrating its 18th anniversary with the theme “I Ask” to empower everyone to put consent into practice.  The theme “I Ask” builds on the idea that consent is a healthy, normal and necessary part of everyday interactions.  As each of you share this message throughout your community, school and families, you will be demonstrating the importance of consent and setting an example for others.

Our words and actions shape the world around us.  Whether you are speaking out against “locker room talk” or helping someone better understand these issues, your voice is powerful and necessary in preventing sexual violence.

Our actions, big and small, have a ripple effect on those we teach, guide and influence. Changing beliefs which contribute to sexual violence starts with believing survivors of sexual violence when they share their stories. Remind those around you that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Seemingly small actions like this make a critical impact.

Beyond April, COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support) continues to advocate for survivors, educate youth on prevention strategies and champion culture change.  Serving Tuscarawas, Stark and Carroll counties, COMPASS provides free services such as support at the hospital after an assault, access to a 24-hour crisis line, counseling, support groups and advocacy during legal proceedings to anyone impacted by sexual violence.   

We can all help promote attitudes that promote safe and secure relationships, equality and respect…not only during April, but each and every day. To learn more, visit


Molly MacMath
Executive Director
COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support)
Serving Tuscarawas, Stark and Carroll Counties