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.

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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.

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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 ncuret@goodwillgoodskills.org or by phone at 330-617-4734.

 

Back to School Challenge - Boys Edition

As any mom with four kids can tell you, back to school shopping can be TOUGH! Combine all the new clothes needed with the school supply essentials and it can get pretty expensive. So as any thrifty mom would do, I am always looking for a deal! That is my FAVORITE thing about my local Goodwill. I always leave with at least one bag (normally several 😉) of great items at a fraction of what they would have cost me in a different store. And this trip was no different.

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Three of my kids are boys and they all have their own unique approach to fashion.  Shopping with them can be fun and interesting for sure, but they also get bored easily! One thing they all love is games, so we created a shopping challenge for our trip to Goodwill’s North Canton location. Since it was a Sunday, items with green tags, the color of the week, were only $1. The challenge was to see how many items they could find, that they would ACTUALLY wear, that fit them, that had a green tag. My goal was to find a couple pieces for each kid and not leave with an empty wallet!

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Here’s a breakdown of each kid and how they fared in the challenge:

Jack is an athlete and loves video games. He also tends to be more comfortable in a hoodie and jeans than anything dressy. For him, we always look for loose, comfy fabrics and specifically items that can be worn in all types of weather. His favorite article of clothes is a long sleeve shirt with a hood that he wears all the time, so I was super excited to find something similar AND with a green tag! He loved the design and the softness of the shirt. He also picked up a simple pair of black athletic shorts that I have no doubt will be worn by the end of the day!

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Dominic is 7 and a soon-to-be 3rd grader. He is always on the move so having clothes that are durable but also cute is super important. He likes bright colors and tends to gravitate towards t-shirts and soft fabrics. He found what he describes as his “Most AWESOME 1st day of school outfit”! He paired up a super soft gray polo with a bright pair of (new with tags!!) shorts. Both items fit the challenge and he even found a nice, colorful button down shirt for picture day.

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Alex is heading to middle school this year and wanted to update his wardrobe in very specific ways. He loves a good collared shirt and if the shorts match that’s even better. I should also mention that he has grown 6 inches (!) since school got out in May. Literally none of his clothes fit! Finding clothes for him wasn’t just important but also a necessity. He really was the big winner this trip. He found 5 items and all of them had a green tag! He walked away with a striped long sleeve hoodie, a Hollister t-shirt, an orange button down shirt, a pair of athletic shorts and brand new khaki cargo shorts.

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The best part of this trip for me was dropping off the bags of clothes that they have grown out of to make room for their new finds! Cleaning out their closets happens a couple times a year since they have been growing so fast and we love that our donations can help others in our community. Plus it leaves room for more Goodwill finds in the future!

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All in all this trip made everyone happy but especially the fact that we got all of this for only $10! (Tax-free weekend y’all!!) This mama’s thrifty heart is happy 😊

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BACK TO SCHOOL $25 SHOPPING CHALLENGE

BACK TO SCHOOL $25 SHOPPING CHALLENGE

It was 90+ degrees today and although school is the last thing on the mind of my kiddos, this momma knows that back-to-school shopping starts now.

With three children heading to school this fall, I’m faced with the challenge of investing in new wardrobes for three different sizes (and personalities). It’s tough and it’s expensive.

Today, I challenged myself to only spend $25 during our visit to the Goodwill Industries store in Jackson Township. This haul was for my youngest daughter, Evie.

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Here’s the low-down on Evie. She is three years old and headed into her second year of preschool. Her favorite color is pink and she loves her stuffed animal ‘Foxy.’  Evie, like most three-year-olds, is rough on her clothes, so we are oftentimes looking for cute clothes but high volume. Goodwill shopping for back to school is the perfect solution for us. We can find great clothes and LOTS of them for only a fraction of what we might pay at a traditional retailer.

Evie loves to shop with me at Goodwill. Who wouldn’t? So much selection. So many deals. And, all purchases support outreach programs right here in our community.

GETTING STARTED

For the kiddos, I always start with the ‘tops’ section. Why? Tops typically have the graphics or ‘personality’ that my kids are looking for. Goodwill mixes tank tops, long sleeve, short sleeve and sweaters together in the ‘tops’ section. Even though different seasons of clothing are mixed together, everything is separated by girls and boys and by size.

Once we know what tops we will be purchasing, it’s much easier to find the bottoms that will match. When we shop Goodwill we typically pick up anything and everything that we think might work and then begin to edit those selections down before we check out.

SHOPPING TIP: I hang all of our finds on the front of my cart. This makes it easier to see everything and match with bottoms in the next aisle.

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NO LIST WHEN WE THRIFT

I never approach a visit to Goodwill with a pre-determined list. Of course, we need school clothes, but knowing that the inventory constantly changes and we never quite know what we will find on the racks, I make sure to keep our options wide open.

During this visit to Goodwill, we found sweaters perfect for cooler weather and short sleeve tops that Evie can wear when school first starts at the end of summer.  

I SPY SAVINGS

Goodwill has amazing savings everyday. But, Sunday and Mondays offer shoppers even deeper discounts! Each week, one color tag is 50% off, but on Sunday and Mondays another color is only $1! Before you begin shopping, look for signs dotted throughout the store or ask an associate what the color of the week sales are.

I don’t limit ourselves to just those colors, but we do try to seek out those special color tags during our visit. Evie loves a good game of ‘I spy.’

During today’s visit, blue tags were marked down to $1 and pink tags were 50% off. Cha-ching! Our haul included a pair of leggings and a top for only $1 each!

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WHAT DID WE GET FOR $25?

Our cart was overflowing during our visit, but we eventually edited down our selection and left with our most favorite (and needed) Goodwill finds. Today’s trip was a $25 challenge, so what all did we get? Oodles! We found three complete outfits (and a few extras) for Evie to wear back to school this fall.

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Our most expensive item for this haul was on an amazing pair of pink suede boots (brand new with tags) for $5.99. Is it really a splurge to spend less than $6 on a pair of shoes? No!

The boots will look adorable with this NWT floral dress we found!

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This ‘Happy to Be Me’ top couldn’t be passed up! I think that is Evie’s mantra! The top and matching leggings were not on sale, but the entire outfit was in great condition and only cost $6 total.  

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Evie’s favorite find today? This sweet fox sweater that reminded Miss Evie of her favorite stuffed animal ‘Foxy.’ We matched it with a pair of stretchy jeans that were in perfect condition.

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We rounded out our haul with a three pack of brand new socks. Remember, Goodwill not only carries donated items, but a great selection of new products. Our entire bill was less $25! What’s more priceless? A happy three year old (and momma) headed into a new school year.

 

Dorm Room Essentials

School is right around the corner and for those heading to college for the first time it can be stressful and exciting to get everything you need for your dorm. From necessities to personal touches Goodwill can help find everything you’re looking for at a great price. Here are just a few Goodwill finds every college dorm must have.

1. Desk Lamp

Your roommate shuts off the lights to go to bed, but you still need to study for that big exam tomorrow. Desk lamps from department stores go for anywhere in between 20-60 dollars. This desk light spotted at Goodwill’s Foxboro location is perfect for those late night study sessions.

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2. Sound Systems

Found at Goodwill’s Tuscarawas location, these speakers are perfect for a dorm room. Not too big, but not too small so music can be played while kicking back on the weekends or doing homework. Plus, they add a vintage element that no one else will be able to copy.

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3. Book Holders

Books can accumulate over the course of the year. With these book holders found at Goodwill’s Tuscarawas store, from Harry Potter books to your Intro to Calculus book, storing and organizing your books has never been easier.

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4. Waste Bin

A college dorm room can get messy very quickly. There is no reason to spend a lot of money on a trash bin when you can go to your local thrift store and buy it for a fraction of the price. This bin was found at the Goodwill on Tuscarawas.

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5. Kitchenware

You can’t cook gourmet meals in a dorm room, but sometimes it is nice to have some plates in case you are having a quick little snack. Also, this Ohio State thermos is perfect for coffee lovers and getting you ready for those 8 a.m. classes. These dinning essentials were found at Goodwill’s Foxboro location.

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6. Decorative Pieces

No dorm room is complete without adding your own personal touch. These ancient Egyptian and American history pieces, found at the Goodwill at Foxboro, will give your dorm room the spice-up it needs. Visit the art section to decorate with unique designs or inspirational signs. And of course you should grab a couple new frames to take all your family and friends from home with you.

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Making your dorm room feel like home while staying on budget is easy with Goodwill. We’ve only touched on a few dorm room ideas, but the possibilities of great Goodwill finds are endless. Share your favorite dorm finds in the comments below or hashtag #GoodwillDormRoom on social media.

Goodwill+Fourth of July: Tips and tricks for finding the perfect look!

Hi! My name is Kristi Crane and I would first like to tell you a little about myself. I’m a school counselor, married with a toddler, who LOVES thrifting affordable fashion and style. I’m a consumer who tries to shop second-hand for environmental and personal reasons (i.e. cheaper goods!). There are many ways to shop Goodwill and make it a successful shopping trip:  Most of the time, I prefer to wander the aisles aimlessly for hours, which is usually when I have the most luck!  (This luxury does not come as often as I would hope, because I have a two-year-old) Another way is, to shop for an occasion.  Shopping for something specific can also be a great way to get started if you are new to thrifting. In this post I’m going to give my take on how to find the perfect, simple outfit for the 4th of July!  These tips and tricks are how I typically shop for any holiday, event or occasion. 

1. I tend to need a little inspiration when I’m looking for something specific to wear, whether it be an outfit for a birthday party, wedding, or in this case, Independence Day!  I created a hashtag on Instagram #thisinspiredthat because it helps me use what I have in my closet, and it inspires me during my Goodwill shopping ventures. Below are a few images that I found while searching on Google and Pinterest.  I tend to go for more subtle looks (rather than combining red, white and blue, I prefer to just pick two of the colors).  Sometimes I find an almost identical outfit, and other times I use the images to help get my creative juices flowing (what are creative juices anyways?!?!).

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2. Go to a Goodwill near you.  We are lucky enough to have 3 locations near us that I typically have pretty good luck with. My “go-to” stores are: Southland in Middleburg Heights, Snow Rd. in Brookpark and Strongsville.  I think all Cuyahoga County stores are well stocked and have a good variety for everyone.

3. Shop all sizes….yes ALL of them!  I always start in my size but then I look in all the other sizes too!  If you’re a size large, do not skip the smaller sizes.  If you’re an extra small, don’t skip the larger sizes!  I’ve found great pieces that were mismarked, ran big/small, and items placed in the wrong size section.  If I didn’t look in all of the sizes, I wouldn’t have found some of the items I own now! Other hacks...if you’re smaller, check the larger kids section, and also check mens….you never know what goodies you will find.

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4. Pull everything that might work and have a little try-on session!!  I try on all pieces before I take anything home.  I don’t have time to make returns, so I make sure I love it first.  Here are all my looks:

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5. Pictured was everything I found solely at the Strongsville location. I ended up purchasing the ladybug striped top, chambray dress, an alternative blue tee that is not pictured (it was half off!), a white ruffle blouse, a window pain chambray, AND ...bonus, I also found white jeans!!!!  WHAT?!?!  I will also pair some of these pieces with skirts, shorts, red sandals etc. Please use these or other inspiration photos to create your own look!  Use the #thisinspiredthat on IG and show us what you come up with!  Happy 4th of July!

 

Fourth of July Kids Activities

With so much to do before your Fourth of July get-togethers, it’s often easy to overlook activities or games to entertain the kids. With the help of Goodwill, these simple games will be fun for kids of all ages and super easy to put together! 

1. Ring the Flag

Place flags some distance away around the yard (adjust for different ages). Players throw a hula hoop or glow in the dark necklaces attempting to ring the flag. Give players 10 tries and count the number of successful rings. Once they ring it, they move to the next one. Lowest score wins! I found a set of three flags for $.99 at the Jackson Township store.

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2. Flag Relay

Fill two large plastic buckets or bins with sand and insert small American flags. Use the same number of flags as participants. Designate a starting point and placing the buckets across from the participants. Split the kids into two teams, and have them form two lines across from their buckets. On your "go," the first person in each line races to the bucket, grabs a flag, and march back slowly like an American soldier! (For safety reasons, don't allow children to run with the flags.) The next person in line cannot go until the previous person has returned with his or her flag. The first team to capture all of the flags wins. Set of three flags was $.99 and adorable red, tin bucket was only $3 during my Goodwill haul.

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3. Red, White, & Blue Tag

Depending on the size of your group, designate two to three kids to be "it." Let all other players select a red, white, or blue necklace to run around with. When "it" tags a “non-it” player, the “non-it” player hands over their necklace. The first "it" to collect the necklaces in every color wins! Three pack of patriotic necklaces were $1.99 at Jackson Township store. After the game, they will be great fun for the little ones to wear!

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I was able to create these fun activities for less than $10 thanks to Goodwill!

Happy playing, happy thrifting and happy Fourth of July!

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Road Trips Goodwill Style

As a mom of three little ones, a beach vacation isn’t always the relaxing sea and sand adventure that I  dream it will be.

Oh sure – we will have a great time, but so often it’s the very long drive to the beach that causes me anxiety even weeks before we set out on our trip.

A more than 13 hour drive lies ahead of our family of five. The minivan will be packed to the brim. DVDs and video games will be watched and played. There will be snacks aplenty. But alas, the little ones will still be bored.

Taking this trip for several years now, I’ve found some fun and inexpensive road trip hacks, many of which involve a quick trip to Goodwill.

1) Survival car caddy.

Check out Goodwill for a plastic art caddy for each child and begin building an individualized snack and play center. For only a $1 each, I was able to buy a caddy for each child.

Quick tips for filling the caddy:  

  • colored pencils (not crayons, they melt if you are traveling in hot climates)
  • pipe cleaners (endless creations can be made from this colorful and inexpensive craft supply)
  • smaller sheets of paper (full size sheets are more difficult to maneuver in the car) 

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2) Pack some pans.

One of my favorite ‘long drive to the beach’ activities, which also happens to be a Goodwill score, is baking pans. No, we are not baking. But, these metal sheets make a great workspace and play space for little ones.

Uses for baking pans:

  • I use magnetic letters, which I already own, to help the crew practice spelling.
  • We attach magnets to puzzle pieces to prevent the pieces from falling on the floor or lost forever in between seat cushions.
  • We also use a magnetic clip to keep coloring pages in place.

Need more ideas? Here is a link to FREE printables from The Measured Mom that can be used on these pans!

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3) Countdown bags.

This is really where you can be creative in your shopping trip to Goodwill.

THE GOAL: fill a bag with a surprise.

The bags can be labeled by the hour of the trip (i.e. Hour 1, Hour 2, etc) or by the destination (Do Not Open Until Wheeling WV or Lexington VA). The surprises inside the bag should not be big or flashy.

Ideas for countdown bags (most of which can be found at Goodwill): 

  • Candy or snack
  • Stickers
  • Family game
  • DVD
  • Pen/notebook
  • Flashcards

It’s Always Autumn offers some colorful, free printables for your countdown bags. Our countdown bags were filled at Goodwill for all three of my daughters for less than $10!

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4) Book, books and more books.

I highly recommend a trip to Goodwill to purchase a few new reads for vacation. There seems to be an endless supply of children’s books at our Goodwill. And, for only a few dollars, we can fill a bin in the car with these finds.

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Some of our books will make it into our Countdown bags, and others will be reserved for reading at the beach.

BOOK TIP: Although our family is a big supporter of the library, I find its too risky to take a library book on our trip for fear it meets a sticky juice box or gets left behind in another state.   

5) Get creative!

Did I mention our drive is more than 13 hours? That’s 780 minutes or 46,800 seconds filled with questions like ‘are we there yet?’ or comments like ‘I’m bored.’

Scanning the shelves during my trip to Goodwill, I wanted to find something new and creative for us to break the boredom in the car. My most favorite find during this haul were these Princess Story Cards. 

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For just $1.49 (50% off retail price), this new, never been used game will be a great new addition to our vacation drive repertoire. The illustrated cards are designed to serve as inspiration for a story that you and others create. My own little princesses will love this game!

EXTRA BONUS: Because this only requires your own creativity, we aren’t limited by age. My girls, who range in age from three to nine years old, will all be able to participate in this new game.

Happy travels to everyone this summer, and happy Goodwill shopping! Got ideas? Be sure to leave your own vacation travel ideas below in the comments.

Father's Day Gift Guide

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Father’s Day is right around the corner! If you haven’t picked up a gift for dad yet, we have just what you need. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

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1. Mugs

This Father’s Day mug spotted at our Snow Road location is perfect for your little one that loves big trucks just like dad! Or look for a plain mug to write a message dad can enjoy every morning with his cup of joe. You can always find great mugs at Goodwill!

2. Dad-Approved T-shirts

Shirts like this "Definition of Awesome" one spotted at our Snow Road location are sure to make him laugh. He wouldn't be your dad without "dad jokes" right? Look for graphic tees with those classic jokes or sayings only approved by a dad. We also love this simple and sweet T-shirt tutorial from This Grandma is Fun. Thrift a shirt from your local Goodwill and try your hand at this DIY.

T Shirt 2 T Shirt Diy Fathers Day Gift

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3. Fun & Functional Ties

Ties are more of a traditional gift for dad but they're a simple way to freshen up his wardrobe. We found these tie options at our North Canton store. This island/flamingo tie and the mini tiki mask pattern are a great way to prep for vacation or achieving summer vibes in the office. There are many fun and functional options and all at a great price, 

 

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4. Picture Frames

Maybe it's time for new family pictures! Goodwill is a great place to look for frames at a reasonable price. Grab a couple and help him update his work area!  Think the kids would like to get crafty? Buying cheap frames allows a little more experimentation. Have the kids decorate the picture frame and add a photo of them with dad. Or use a frame for a new work of art. We thought this craft idea from Doodle and Stitch is super cute and great from small kids.

 5. Favorite Hobby Finds

Does dad have a favorite past time? We found the golf book ends at our Alliance store for golf and book lovers alike. If he collects vintage records or just has an appreciation for music, this classic was spotted at the West Tusc store. Maybe he’s into bird watching, we spotted this awesome bird clock at our North Canton store. Whatever his hobby may be we're sure you can find something unique for him at Goodwill. Pro Tip: Make sure you know what you're looking before going inside.

Book End Records Clock

 

6. Slippers

You can't go wrong with new slippers for dad! He works hard, make sure he has some comfy slippers to relax when he's home. You could also check out our summer shoe options to keep him fashionable this summer! 

Slippers Mens Shoes

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7. Canisters

Let’s be honest, most of his money goes to the kid's activities and miscellaneous expenses. Find a cute canister he can save up for something he wants to do! We loved these jars spotted at Snow Road store. If he doesn’t keep change, it’s also a great idea for keys or random items he’s carrying around from work.

So there you have it, several ideas to make Father's Day gifting a win! If you don't have time to shop, grab dad a gift card to find some treasures of his own. 

Year End Teacher Gifts

With the school year coming to an end, we wanted to give you a couple of our favorite upcycle gift ideas for your teachers this year!

  1. We love this adorable apple jar tutorial from 36th Avenue. You can always find jars to paint at your local Goodwill. Add some leaves and your teachers preffered treat. They will have a great desk accessory that they can use again and agian.
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  2. You can always find notepads or notebooks at Goodwill. Download this free printable from Simply This & That to let your teacher know they were just "write" for you!
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  3. This gift idea is great for the teacher that has helped you grow the most this year! Amy from The Idea Room  recommends using an old dictionary to cover a pot or container (find both at Goodwill). But you could also look for a book your teacher read to the class this year to make it more personal.
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  4. Head over to Just Add Confetti for this adorable free printable. Then visit your Goodwill to find some baking themed gifts to pair with your favorite cookie mix or recipe. Volia, it's a sweet treat and items that she will be able to reuse in the future.
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  5. Don't have time to put together a gift? You're in luck, we created a free printable gift card holder just for you! Stop in and pick up a gift card and let your teacher know what an impact they're making!
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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.

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