An alternative to buying new or renting expensive winter sports gear

by Bennett Tiglao, Seattle Goodwill
February 17, 2017

With plenty of snow falling in the mountains across the northwest, this winter season has been terrific for winter sports and activities. Unfortunately, one of the main road blocks between a day on the slopes and a day on the couch is affordability. First time buyers of skiing and snowboarding equipment know just how expensive gear can be, not to mention the cost of rentals, gas to get to the mountain and lift tickets.

However, there are less expensive options that offer outdoor enthusiasts the chance to get up to the mountains more frequently without the large price tag attached. Seattle Goodwill has a wide variety of winter sports gear at and our eBay store. And every purchase made helps create jobs for those in need by providing support for our free Job Training and Education (JTE) Programs.

Timing is everything if you’re looking to hit the slopes and save costs. Here are a couple tips on when to go:

  1. If you have the flexibility in scheduling your vacation or your day trip to the resorts, opting to ski early or late in the season will cost far less than skiing during peak season.
  2. Keep in mind the highest demand times. Riding during the day, weekends, holidays and spring break will be the most expensive.
  3. Riding in the evenings, during weekdays and avoiding holidays are the best times for lower ticket prices. You will also avoid big lift lines.

Seattle Goodwill has a wide array of winter sports gear. Below is a checklist of what you’ll need in order to hit the slopes.

  • Snowboard with bindings or skis with bindings
  • Boots
  • Goggles
  • Head gear
    • Beanie/Hat
    • Helmet
  • Winter Jacket & Pants
  • Gloves

Snowboarding vs skiing

If you’re thinking about trying snowboarding or skiing for the first time and can’t decide which to try, here are some of the differences to consider:

  • Snowboarders constantly have to sit or exert energy to remain on edge while they are stationary. Unlike skiing, you will not have poles to help you remain upright and standing when you are not moving.
  • Snowboarding is a lot easier on the knees compared to skiing. Knee injuries are not as common in snowboarding as they are in skiing. Snowboarding can, however, be a lot more challenging on your wrists so make sure you wear some wrist guards.
  • Snowboards work nicely in powder while skis are better in bumps and ice.
  • Getting up after a fall on a snowboard is a skill in itself but once mastered should prove to be easier and faster than having to put your stuff together again after falling on skis.
  • Chair lifts can be a little more difficult for snowboarders.
  • Skiing is easier for most people to learn, but harder to master, while snowboarding tends to be harder to learn, but once learned, easier to advance.
  • Skis can be kept on the entire time while on slopes. Snowboarders need to un-strap/re-strap one foot each run.


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Daddy Daughter Dance for Monroe inmates made possible with Seattle Goodwill’s help

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
February 14, 2017

Elijah was sitting with his chair pulled up to a table talking with other inmates in a Monroe Correctional Complex visitation room when out of the corner of his eye he saw what means most to him in this world walking his way.

He quickly excused himself from conversation and dashed over to embrace his daughter, Mi’Leah, and mom Lori.

Lori frequently brings Mi’Leah, 6, for visits to see her dad at the correctional facility, but this time was different. Lori was nearly brought to tears when she saw her son dressed in a criss-cross patterned green and white dress shirt tucked into gray dress pants that nicely complemented his white sneakers.

“I had tears seeing him in clothes,” Lori said. “I started blinking (to stop tears), and he said, ‘Don’t do it, mom. Don’t do it.’”

Elijah was one of eight inmates, who for four hours on Saturday, Feb. 11, had the opportunity to share a special afternoon with their daughters and family during a Daddy Daughter Dance made possible by the Monroe Correctional Complex and Seattle Goodwill.

In an adjoining room next to where the men met their families was a large, open space acting as a dance floor. Music filled the room, there was a photo station, food and beverages and some of the daughters sang karaoke. The men in attendance were given cards styled to look like a tuxedo, and on the inside flap were able to write a message to their daughters to take home as a keepsake. They were also given small, intricate origami roses encased in a 4-inch tall 3D rectangular-shaped box. A square-shaped window cutout revealed the rose inside. Inmates from one of the correctional complex’s programs made the cards and roses for the event.

Seattle Goodwill donated clothing the men were wearing, and a week before the dance Goodwill employees delivered a large selection of shirts and pants for the men to try on in order to look their sharpest come dance time.

“It shows you in a different light,” said Elijah of being able to wear clothing other than their typical prison sweats. “It shows us to ourselves who we really are. This is the first time ever my daughter is seeing me in street clothes.”

Elijah, who admitted he loves to dance, shared plenty of moves and special moments with Mi’Leah. Walter and his daughter, Tejah, 9, did too.

“I’m very appreciative of this and for Goodwill caring about the relationships we have with our daughters,” said Walter, who also had his wife Trish with him.

Tejah, who Trish said had a cheer competition the same day and time of the Daddy Daughter Dance, had to choose what she wanted to attend. But for her, the chance to share a dance with her dad was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“I was excited I got to be with my daddy,” said Tejah with a sweet smile, “because I don’t get to see him much.”

Countless smiles and laughter filled the room throughout the afternoon, illustrating a stark contrast, Lori said, to the usual mood during normal visitations.

She describe a tense, dark-cloud feeling during normal visits. The room is loud, filled with families and it’s not unusual for one crying outburst to set off a chain of negative emotions among the visitors.

Saturday, laughing and smiling felt contagious. The mood was uplifting and offered an experience the men and their families agreed they wouldn’t soon forget.

Marjorie Petersen, Community Partnerships Programs Specialist at the Monroe Correctional Complex, came up with the idea of the dance after reading about a similar event held at the Larch Corrections Center in Yacolt, Wash.

Marjorie’s assistant reached out to South Everett Job Training and Education (JTE) Manager Susan Allen, asking whether or not Seattle Goodwill would be interested in partnering and providing clothing. 

“We know that strong family ties are so important to (the inmates’) success,” Marjorie said, which falls right in line with some of Goodwill’s core values. 

And for those four hours Saturday, the eight men and their daughters in their special dresses, enjoyed a lasting moment that’s sure to strengthen their bond.

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Ten Tips for Cosplay at ECCC + Giveaway

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 13, 2017

Cosplay Tips for Emerald City Comicon + Giveaway

Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) is just around the corner. Every spring, thousands of people make their way to the Washington State Convention Center for three days to celebrate all things comic culture—from the artists and storytellers that create them, to the movies, games, and toys they inspire—and a serious swath of pop culture and cult fandoms that have earned iconic and inspiring spots in the hearts of comic fans. (We’re looking at you, Star Wars.)

One fantastic tradition at comicons worldwide, including ECCC, is the cosplay (costume + play). Some cosplay costumes are over the top, featuring exquisite costume design work utilizing seamstress, sculpture, and makeup art skills—whereas others are simple (yet awesome)—and just a matter of putting together the right outfit.

We would love to see your finished costume! Share it with us by tagging @SeattleGoodwill on Instagram.

We’re giving away $25 to one lucky ECCC cosplayer for their costume! Enter to win at the end of this blog.

If you’re new to the cosplay world, but wanting to try it out at ECCC this year, here are a few tips before you start your costume:

  1. First and foremost, know the rules. Before you start hunting for pieces to your costume, or creating your weapon, check out ECCC’s FAQ page.
  2. Look at your character’s costumes in sections. Breaking down the costume can be helpful for finding what you need. For example, look at the base layer, then the outer layers, then the head/face, and the hand/footwear separately. It can help you identify the key components.
  3. Think functionally. You’ll likely be in your costume all day. Will you be comfortable? Will your design allow you to move, see what’s around you well enough to navigate without hurting yourself or others? Can you drink and eat while wearing your costume or use the bathroom?
  4. Keep it as lightweight and breathable as possible. Heavy costumes get uncomfortable and hot fast. Wearing a heavy wig can also contribute to overheating.
  5. Evaluate your skill level. It’s always good to learn new things and push yourself—but if you’ve never threaded a bobbin before, maybe this isn’t the year to sew your own steampunk Chewbacca costume. Being realistic about what you have the time, budget, and skills for will help immensely.
  6. Make a plan for shopping. Once you’ve broken down your costume components, you’re ready to make a list. Items, like base layers, fabric, hand/footwear—and sewing machines—can be readily found at Goodwill. (Check our weekly tag sales to stick to your budget.) Other items, like spray paint, or heavy duty adhesives might require a trip to your local craft or hardware store.
  7. Think outside of the box. A lot of components to cosplay costumes might seem hard to find—but if you think of how things can be repurposed and transformed, a whole new world of possibilities will open up. For example, if your costume needs stuffing—you can repurpose pillows and stuffed animals. If your costume needs a shield—a plastic trashcan lid and some spray paint might do the trick. Pool noodles and other foam floatation devices are a great source for the light-weight structure you may need to build your costume.
  8. Opt for fit over color. It is usually easier to dye a garment than to tailor one. Craftsy has an excellent tutorial on dyeing, and you can use a basic color addition to figure out what color dye you need to add to achieve the color you’re looking for (think blue shirt + red dye = purple shirt).
  9. Keep an “emergency kit” with you at comicon. As well-made as your costume might be, it’s always a good idea to keep a little sewing kit, gaff tape, and a makeup retouch kit.
  10. Give yourself some time. Between finding the right pieces, and assembling them in a way that functions and looks awesome—costumes can take some time. To avoid that hot-glue-mess-and-stress-filled-night-before-con, start the process now!


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Breaking Barriers: Our Annual Report is out!

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 8, 2017

Goodwill's 2015-16 Annual Report

What do you think when you hear the name “Goodwill?” Thrift stores? A place to drop off your used goods? Do you think changed lives, changed families, and changed communities?

Seattle Goodwill has a mission to provide job training and education opportunities to those experiencing significant barriers to economic opportunities—and when you shop at and donate to Goodwill, you’re helping us achieve that. Last year, you helped us serve over 9,700 people.

Every year, we share of the impact we’re having on our community, thanks to generous supporters like you, in our Annual Report. This year, our Annual Report theme was “Breaking Barriers” and it focused on some of the barriers our students face—like lack of education, homelessness, absence from the workforce, or language barriers.

As a Goodwill shopper and donor, your support helps our students overcome their barriers—and we’d love if you took a minute to read our latest Annual Report to see the impact you’re helping make right here in our community.

Use the links below to see how your support is changing lives.

Read our Annual Report | Download a PDF of our Annual Report
See the Impacts & Outcomes of our programs

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Collecting cars: How to spot collectible Hot Wheels and Matchbox

by Bennett Tiglao, Seattle Goodwill
February 3, 2017

Most of us remember Hot Wheels and Matchbox diecast cars back when we were children but for some, the memories don’t stop at childhood. Collecting diecast cars is a time-honored hobby of adults everywhere. Collectors range from automotive enthusiasts to others that collect cars as a way to reconnect with their childhood. Some seek that rare and priceless diecast car for profit or to add it to their personal collections. Between fun and making a profit, collecting vintage diecast cars is a rewarding hobby for any enthusiast.

Metal diecast cars were originally produced by real car companies in the early days of the automotive industry. They were primarily produced to promote their product and get a whole new generation excited about cars.  As their popularity grew, diecast cars became more realistic and accurate, often matching their real-life counterpart to perfection. While many of the original diecast metal toy car brands faded away, Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels continued strong and are still producing many new toy cars released every year.

Differences between Hot Wheels and Matchbox

The origins of these two big names in the diecast car world started in 1953 when UK-based Lesney Products started Matchbox. Hot Wheels was created in the U.S. by Mattel in 1968 and quickly gained a solid footing in the industry with its low-friction wheels and new styles. Hot Wheels seemed to win the battle of the two manufacturers when they ended up acquiring Matchbox parent company Tyco Toys in 1997. Here are a few a few notable differences between Hot Wheels and Matchbox.

  • Realism -- Matchbox cars are more accurately designed to be a replica of the actual vehicle of that era.
  • Packaging -- Matchbox cars came in small, individual boxes reminiscent of match boxes.
  • Flashy ride -- Hot Wheels were designed to primarily be hot rods and ventured into more fantasy realms and focused on speed and racing.

What to Look For

Collectors enjoy looking for a specific type or brand of car but also seek era-based cars as well. Here are some tips of what to look for when trying to find a collectible:

  • A “redline” Hot Wheels car is one that was manufactured within the first ten ​years of production, from 1968 to 1977.  The term “redline” derives from the fact that, during that period, the cars were manufactured with a red stripe on the tire. Redline cars are highly sought after and tend to hold the most value with some cars selling for over $30,000! Although, vintage redline cars fetch a much higher monetary value there is also other kinds of cars to collect.
  • Collectors can quickly grow their collection by adding multiple variations of the same car in different colors or wheel types. Search for “Hot Wheels treasure hunt” and you’ll find that Hot Wheels puts out limited edition cars that are hard to find every year.  

Search online on our auctions site on eBay and to find vintage diecast cars or find specific cars to complete your collection. Remember when you shop at Seattle Goodwill, your directly supporting our free Job Training and Education Programs

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