Goodwill Faces: Keone, Gonzalo, Sahily, Cathie and Loanne

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
May 22, 2017
 

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

Just over six years ago Keone was admitted to the Monroe Correctional Facility after being charged with a series of residential burglaries. He was hooked on drugs, had alienated the people he cared about and lost his friends, family and eventually himself. But two years into serving a 5 ½ year prison term, he began turning his life around. Keone earned his GED, took nearly every program the prison offered and found solace in working at the facility’s wastewater lagoon. He studied wastewater for over 3 years and led a class in which he taught 30-40 inmates every six months. Keone even got certified through the Washington State Department of Ecology. Months before his release, Keone took Goodwill’s New Connections class, which prepares inmates for a successful transition into the job market. Soon after Keone’s sentence ended, his fiancé’s father offered him a sales manager position at his sign and barricade equipment rental company. He has been excelling and working long hours to give back to the man who afforded him a second chance. Recently, Keone hosted a hiring event at Goodwill’s South Everett Job Training and Education Center, proudly stating he wanted to give people a shot who’ve also faced barriers in their lives.

“What got me in was I was a drug addict doing all the things that come with drug addicts—robbing, stealing, doing underhanded stuff. I wasn’t always like that. I just got hooked on drugs and everything else went with it. My plan was originally to do the class thing in there, do my resume and never see Goodwill again. But then I started going to class, and (Goodwill) had some other principles that I liked. I started thinking harder about my future. The Goodwill program helped because it gave me another perspective to look at. I want to give somebody a shot that nobody else will give a shot to. So I feel like if I’m in the position to give somebody a shot that somebody gave me, I feel like it’s my duty.”

-Keone


 

Originally from Mexico, Gonzalo moved from California to Washington in 2011 and began taking classes at Goodwill’s Marysville Job Training and Education Center. He wanted to develop necessary skills in order to land a job. Gonzalo took English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and soon was asked if he wanted to volunteer at the center. More than six years later Gonzalo has registered over 1,500 volunteer hours, working as a teacher’s aide and acting as an interpreter and translator for Spanish-speaking students. He volunteers every Monday through Thursday for three hours. Not only can Gonzalo connect with Hispanic students through conversation and culture, several years ago he earned his U.S. citizenship and serves as a testament to other students that gaining citizenship is achievable. Gonzalo hopes all the experience he’s gaining will lead to a job as a translator, and he loves the rewarding feeling of helping others build skills that will set them up for better economic opportunity.

“I enjoy helping my Hispanic community, but also I do something that helps me find the job that I want, which is translating. That is why I keep coming here. I love helping, especially after I help them and they say ‘thank you.’ That is what motivates me. It’s been a great time. I encourage other people to volunteer. I encourage you to come to Goodwill, and that can help you get the job that you want. I can show that volunteering is good. It is a good experience if you want training to get a job. Since I have been (volunteering) here for almost seven years I have met a lot of people and have had a lot of friends here at Goodwill.”

-Gonzalo


 

Sahily was exposed to fashion and design at an early age. Her grandmothers were both seamstresses, and she fondly remembers using sewing machines to make clothing for her dolls. Sahily, who grew up in south Florida, earned a communications degree with the hope of working in fashion PR. Along the way she created Pretty in Pigment, a fashion blog showcasing Sahily’s style, tips and personal journey as a plus-sized woman in the fashion world. Sahily hopes her blog empowers readers and gives them confidence to be defined by who they are and what they like to do, rather than their figure. She dealt with body issues growing up, but through her blog has gained self-confidence and hopes to share her message of body acceptance with fellow plus-size women. Recently Sahily has discovered a passion for thrifting and is a frequent Seattle Goodwill shopper. Goodwill offers a diverse selection of women’s clothing, in size and style, most retailers don’t, and Sahily loves making those hidden-treasure finds, or “unicorns,” as she put it.

“Not all stores carry plus-sized items, and if they do it’s an extra-large, and even that isn’t really covering a large enough scope of plus-size women. Goodwill has dedicated sections for plus sizes and not just a couple of items, but lots of times there is a full-blown rack. It’s nice because women are given the option to buy those things, and the price point is very reasonable. For me, in terms of my body, I’ve fluctuated in weight. I’ve had skinnier times. I’ve had bigger times. I learned through that process, especially as a kid growing up, that it can be hard when you are the bigger kid, and there were times where I felt uncomfortable with that. But through blogging, and particularly fashion blogging, it’s helped me kind of gain more confidence in myself, and kind of find that I am more than just a size or a certain body type. Goodwill has really given me an opportunity to explore my passion for thrifting deeper.”

-Sahily


 

Loanne was looking to gain computer skills, Cathie was teaching computer classes and now the pair are making a critical impact at Seattle Goodwill’s Bellingham Job Training and Education Center. After retiring from the Navy, Loanne wanted to volunteer but discovered she didn’t have the computer skills needed for many volunteer positions. She enrolled in Goodwill’s Computer Explorations class, and Loanne was then asked to stay on as a volunteer. That’s where she met her Goodwill instructor Cathie, who was also teaching computer courses at Bellingham Technical College. The duo has registered a combined 500-plus volunteer hours, helping students increase their digital literacy, opening new lines of communication and helping students increase their job readiness.

“I tell people the biggest thing we teach here is confidence. Some (students) who start don’t even know how to turn the computer on without help, and then a lot of them get stuck. They are feeling too dependent on other people, and this empowers them.”

-Loanne

“It just brings (the students) to that world where everyone else already is. They get more confident every class, and the pretty soon they are showing us how they can do stuff. And they are so happy about it.”

-Cathie

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GiveBIG on May 10

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
May 9, 2017
 

GiveBIG to Goodwill on May 10, 2017.Every year, Seattle Foundation hosts GiveBIG a local day of giving for King County non-profit organizations—and every year, we’re excited to participate.

In our last fiscal year, we helped over 9,700 local individuals through our free job training and education programs. This includes placing over 1,400 people in jobs, helping 270 people connect with higher education and training opportunities, and partnering with over 700 employers to hire our students. For our students who completed our programs, they saw an average household income increase of over $16,000.

Now, more than ever, it is critical to support our local job training and education programs. We believe wholeheartedly that jobs change lives. And they don’t only change the lives of our students—they have a ripple effect into families and communities as well. 

I gave BIG today! #GiveBIG

Tune into our Facebook page today to hear some of the stories of the lives impacted by the generous financial and material donors (as well as the shoppers!) in our community. We’ll be sharing student stories all day long, and at 11:15 am, meet some of our teachers in a Facebook Live video.

 

If you’re ready to GiveBIG to Goodwill, you can donate here: http://bit.ly/GWgiveBIG

And if you GiveBIG, feel free to let people know with the graphic to the right! Simply right click or tap & hold, click “save image as”, and save it to your device so you can upload it to your preferred social media channels. 

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Goodwill Faces: Erik, Eddie, Sharlese, Paulina

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
April 26, 2017
 

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series!

During the early 1970s when the Vietnam War was in full force, Erik, who had only recently graduated high school, applied for and was granted conscientious objector status. Therefore, instead of being drafted, Erik for two years had to work at what was called a sheltered workshop—work that contributed to the community good. With only one week left to find work, Erik came across Seattle Goodwill while picking up gear for a backpacking trip. Erik was hired, and the two years he spent working at Goodwill provided him with plenty of special memories that still last today. Goodwill’s flagship store off Dearborn Street is where he first met his wife Vicki of 36 years, and he even contributed cartoons to Goodwill’s employee newsletter. Some of Erik’s fondest memories involved sorting through donations and finding locked suitcases, hoping him and his co-workers had stumbled across a treasured item trapped inside. Even back in the early 1970s, Erik said Goodwill placed an emphasis on workforce development. Supervisors were responsible for coaching employees on soft skills such as punctuality, work ethic and communication.

“On staff at the time was a chaplain. Every Wednesday morning anybody who wanted to get out of work for half an hour and go to a church service could do so. I was one of those guys. The chaplain would invite priests, pastors, rabbis, sometimes guest singers. One day a gal came in. Her name was Vicki. It was around Easter time, and she was a good singer. When chapel was over, they would open those doors and everybody would line up and shake the hand of the guest speaker. She was the guest that day, so 100 people shook her hand. I would always ask her, ‘Do you remember meeting me that day?’ She’d say no, but I remember meeting her. Because of the influence of the chaplain, I would end up going to church and that was the church she went to. We dated for a number of years and got married in 1977. We had a great 36 years together, and she passed away in 2013. I miss her still, but it was somewhat of a sacred moment (today) to see that turf where we met. Every day was an adventure (at Goodwill). It was a great two years. There were probably days where I wasn’t having so much fun, but I don’t remember those. I remember the good times.”

-Erik


 

From growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. to serving eight years in the military completing a tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, Eddie has traveled a long road to Seattle Goodwill, and along the way he has developed a strong passion for helping others. While in Iraq, Eddie connected with a military member who worked in human resources and decided he himself wanted to do HR work. During Eddie’s tour in Afghanistan he did just that. Eddie earned his human resources degree and connected with Seattle Goodwill after leaving the military, first earning a temporary position in Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Department that turned into a permanent role. Now he works as an employee education specialist, connecting Goodwill employees to the organization’s many benefits that place an emphasis on workforce development. He does store outreach, leads training workshops and is constantly looking out for employees’ best interests with his infectious personality.

“If we have an employee that says, ‘I am having homelessness issues,’ I want to take care of that. I want to show them where they can go to get help with that. I want to point them in the direction of our case managers we have in Job Training and Education. I want to connect the dots for them. My role in this company is to help every employee. It doesn’t matter if you are the lowest person or the highest person. I want to help you. Honestly, it’s a wonderful aspect to meet a lot of people, but you know what, I’m not happy that I’m affecting them. I’m happy they are affecting me. Because talking to people you learn so much. You learn a different culture. You learn a different lifestyle. You learn different problems and issues and how you can help them overcome them. Something that I was always told is that you should learn at least one thing new every day. So the fact I get the opportunity to talk to all these employees, I learn. And knowledge is power.”

-Eddie 


 

Sharlese always knew she wanted to be involved in music in some capacity. When she was in high school, she’d record songs on the radio and use those to put together mixtapes for her listening pleasure. She’s been fortunate to make a career out her passion, working at Seattle radio station KEXP since 2007. The ability to make a career out of something you love was a message she delivered to participants in Seattle Goodwill’s youth programs during a past speaking opportunity, and that’s just one way she is connected to Goodwill. She’s a frequent shopper at the Capitol Hill Goodwill location and, now a KEXP DJ and events producer hosting Saturday’s Audioasis show from 6-9 pm, Sharlese has worked as an MC the past two years for Seattle Goodwill’s #breakup4good Earth Day concert, which encourages people to break up or donate an item to Goodwill for Earth Day. She’s excited to MC for the third year this spring on April 20 at the Tractor Tavern.

“The Break Up For Good event provides another way to promote local music, which is really fun and important. It’s also the music creativity and being able to put together a good bill that has people align themselves with something like Goodwill, which is really special and impressive. Not only is Goodwill a retail shop, it uses its funds to help people find jobs and get education and get into the work force. I think that is really special. Putting it together has really been a cool experience, and it is something I will never forget. I feel like coming together to support Goodwill is a really important thing.”

-Sharlese


 

Ever since Paulina came to the United States 12 years ago from Tecate, Baja California in Mexico, she’s had her hands full raising a household full of kids. Her husband works long hours to provide for their family, so Paulina is left to take care of the children. Paulina never finished high school. She’s had a desire to, but has been too busy as a mother of four children to focus on her own career. Two years ago she caught a glimpse of South Everett’s Job Training and Education Center while traveling down the road and decided to look into what Seattle Goodwill had to offer. Paulina began taking Goodwill’s GED test preparation classes, and with a tremendous amount of hard work and persistence she earned her GED a month ago. Paulina has also taken Goodwill’s Microsoft Excel class and is currently in a Career Pathways course, as she hopes to go to college to become a teacher or a nurse.

“I see the street and say, ‘Oh, is that a learning center?’ Maybe I will go there and see what their requirements are to be a student. I don’t think about it, I just came. I was very nervous, because those years my English was not good. I came and turned in the papers and everybody was so friendly. I felt so comfortable. Getting my GED, I was so happy. I was almost jumping, so excited. I almost cried because all my teachers they see how I work hard. I know this is an example for my kids, and they can follow my steps. They see if my mother can do it, I can do it. I have a lot of friends that are single mothers, and they feel stuck. They ask, ‘Do you know a place for single mothers to come back to school?’ And I say, ‘Goodwill, they have helped me a lot.’ They see what I get step-by-step, and they want to come, and they say, ‘I want to go there. Tell me more about this place.’”

-Paulina

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Check out what's #AtGoodwillNow

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
April 24, 2017
 

With 40 donation centers scattered across the Puget Sound, Seattle Goodwill receives countless unique, highly sought after items that land on our store shelves and are quickly purchased or rotated out on a routine basis.

In fact, we get so much, keeping tabs on the most intriguing donations is quite challenging. And once a desirable item hits the sales floor, blink a few times and it’s gone.

Well, thanks to our Spring Shop Campaign, we are reducing customers’ fear of missing out.

Seattle Goodwill’s social media channels have always showcased the many items we receive, and we are excited to announce the addition of two new Twitter accounts—one for Capitol Hill (@ShopCapHillGW) and one for our South Everett (@ShopSEverettGW) location—where new donations will be posted on a daily basis in real time.

Throughout the day items will be tweeted out as they arrive on shelves followed by #AtGoodwillNow. Every trip to our stores offers a treasure hunt, and we encourage customers to use the hashtag to share those gems with other Goodwill shoppers. Helping others find items of interest ultimately benefits our free job training and education programs.

While a hyperlocal focus is being placed on Capitol Hill and South Everett, there is a possibility in the future of expanding twitter accounts to showcase all our stores.

Be sure to follow our new accounts and regularly check their feeds to make sure you aren’t missing out on the latest hidden treasures.

FOLLOW OUR NEW TWITTER ACCOUNTS

Capitol Hill: @ShopCapHillGW

South Everett: @ShopSEverettGW

Don’t forget to use #AtGoodwillNow with your tweets and tag us at @SeatteGoodwill.

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Tickets on sale for Seattle Goodwill’s Sustainable Sounds concert

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
April 14, 2017
 

Sustainable Sounds Concert

When: 8 pm. Thursday, April 20 (Doors 7 pm)

Where: Tractor Tavern in Ballard

Cost: $15 general admission

Performing: Prom Queen, Cataldo, Goodbye Heart, Acapulco Lips, Star Anna

BUY TICKETS

Every time a donation is made to one of Seattle Goodwill’s 40 donation sites, not only does that benefit our Job Training and Education programs, it also supports our environment by keeping materials out of landfills.

Last year alone Seattle Goodwill prevented 53 million pounds of goods from entering landfills.

To help us celebrate Earth Day and promote sustainable practices, we’ve partnered with Seattle radio station KEXP and have enlisted the help of local bands Cataldo, Star Anna, Goodbye Heart, Acapulco Lips and Prom Queen for a fun-filled night at our Sustainable Sounds concert.

The bands will play break-up cover songs in conjunction with Seattle Goodwill’s #breakup4good campaign, in which we are encouraging people to break up with unneeded items and donate. The concert starts at 8 pm. Thursday, April 20, at Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Doors open at 7 pm. General admission tickets costs $15 and can be purchased here.

“We are excited to play this show, because it’s our first show of 2017 and we love Goodwill and KEXP and Tractor,” said Leeni Ramadan, Prom Queen guitarist and lead vocalist. “Plus the bands are amazing, and I love the theme of the evening. I am excited to perform our selection of breakup songs!”

Leeni and her band members regularly support Goodwill’s mission, and now they have the opportunity to promote the message of sustainability.

“Thrifting has been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember,” Leeni said. “And my bandmates love it, too! Whenever we travel, we are always thrifting in each city if we have time. I shop at Goodwill on a regular basis, and some of my favorite things I own are from there.”

KEXP DJ Sharlese Metcalf, who hosts Saturday’s Audioasis show from 6-9 pm, will be handling MC duties for the third consecutive year.

“The Break Up for Good event provides another way to promote local music, which is really fun and important,” Sharlese said. “Not only is Goodwill a retail shop, it uses its funds to help people find jobs and get education and get into the work force. I think that is really special.”

Here is a quick breakdown of the five bands performing at Sustainable Sounds:

Prom Queen

Prom Queen, best described as a dark surf rock, girl-group noir sound, went from a solo project to a band after her debut album Night Sound in 2012. Prom Queen’s live show is described as moody and electrifying, and it showcases each of the band members’ skill.

Cataldo

Cataldo, an indie pop band, is led by creator and front man Eric Anderson, who grew up in Moscow, Idaho and moved to Seattle after college. Cataldo’s shows have evolved through the years to not only entertain musically but visually as well. Cataldo’s newest project, Keepers, is slated to be released April 28, 2017.  

Goodbye Heart

Goodbye Heart, a dream pop duo, is composed of friends Sam Ford and Nila K Leigh, who began collaborating in New York City before moving to Seattle. Their sound is made up of atmospheric synths, electronic percussion and heart-wrenching vocals. Their musical influences range from The Cure to Johnny Jewel to Nas.

Acapulco Lips

Acapulco Lips, a psychedelic trio, formed in a Seattle basement and were brought together by the love of reverb-laden R&B and psychedelic rock. Their unique sound is a blend of 1990s Seattle garage music and a 1960s eternal summer sound.

Star Anna

Star Anna is a singer and songwriter from Ellensburg who blends country sound with emotional and honest rock and roll. She has a unique voice that Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur described as: “a voice full of bluster that will slam the door behind you, then find itself alone to take in the loneliness, the quiet, the beauty.”

Besides joining Seattle Goodwill and KEXP for our Sustainable Sounds concert, be sure to follow our social channels for daily prize giveaways. Each giveaway will start at 8 am and close the following day at 8 am. Grand Prizes include Lady Gaga tickets, a Sounders FC package and a Seattle Repertory Theater night out, which includes a $250 gift card to the Seattle Repertory Theatre and a $50 gift card to Local 360.

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