Goodwill Faces: Meriem, Laura, Maddie, Maria

 
by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
June 30, 2017
 

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

Meriem was living a comfortable life in the beautiful port city of Casablanca, Morocco where she held a clothing design job—a coveted role given her love for fashion—but a year ago she left that life behind. Meriem moved to the U.S. on a fiancé Visa to live with her future husband and immediately felt lonely and out of place because she lacked a sense of community and didn’t speak English. But she wanted to support financially, especially with her first baby on the way. Meriem took Goodwill’s English for Speakers of Other Languages courses, Retail and Customer Service and some computer classes that helped her land a job. Goodwill’s Job Training and Education team conducted mock interviews and have helped Meriem overcome many of the barriers she’s faced as an immigrant. The outpouring of support she’s received from the Goodwill family has given her increased confidence and better thoughts about her new life. Meriem is thrilled to provide support for her family and dreams of one day resuming a career in fashion design.

 “I was just struggling with life and wanted to enroll in any classes to develop my knowledge to gain skills and employment to get any job. I feel warm, secure and comfortable to come to Goodwill. I feel like I come to my home. When I see the students, we talk like brother or sister or something. I do not feel like I miss my family over there, because I see all my family here. In the beginning I was stressed out, because I just left my country, so I was kind of home sick. I thought I want to go back to my home, but after meeting people like the teacher, case manager, all of them helping me, I like (my new life) and I love it.”

-Meriem


 

Laura had no intention of volunteering the first time she stepped foot in Seattle Goodwill’s South Everett Job Training and Education (JTE) Center, but 30 minutes into her first visit she asked how she could donate her time. Laura was at the center attending a graduation event with a friend when she became enamored by the diverse group of people thirsting for knowledge. She became even more captivated after learning about Goodwill’s mission. That started a relationship that has lasted over two years between Laura and Goodwill. She’s donated more than 300 hours, volunteering as an instructor’s aide before transitioning to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. She has created successful talk-time sessions, where she meets with ESOL students and facilitates conversations around American culture, idioms, speech patterns and analogies. The inspiration Laura draws from the students she works with keeps her coming back session after session.

“I like to share what I know and what I am able to do. I’m a gregarious person, and it touches me when that light goes on for someone and they go, ‘Ah, I figured it out on my own. You know, I can do this now.’ I get good feelings from watching other people succeed, so I’m sort of rooting for them. I really want to live in a world where people have hope. Learning English is very hard. It takes years and years and years of dedication. And not being able to speak English in many cases is isolating and limiting what you can do and what kind of jobs you can do. So the reward is it gives me hope (knowing) that there are people that have that grit to learn English as an adult. It is amazingly difficult.”

-Laura


 

Every day Maddie is living her dream. Since the first time she began passing out pretend homework as a child, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Maddie, who grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood, works as an instructor at Goodwill’s Seattle Job Training and Education Center. She teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses and plays a critical role in the High School 21+ high school completion program. While Maddie wound up only miles away from where she was raised, her path has taken her to Florida, southern California, Honduras and South Korea. Along the way she has collected a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s in teaching and has taught in multiple countries. She’s seen first-hand the benefits and struggles that come with knowing and not knowing the native language, so being able to help students gain English-speaking skills holds extra meaning to her. Completing high school and learning the English language is paramount in helping spur better economic opportunity, and Maddie is thrilled to be able to make the daily impact she does on Goodwill students’ lives.

“I grew up in a mixed-ethnicity household. I also didn’t have the opportunities presented to me. I kind of had to trail blaze. I felt that if I were to achieve, once I got to the level of education I wanted to get at, then it was my turn to give back to the community, so that is what kind of led me here. Being a teacher (at Goodwill), you are not just a teacher. You are a case manager, you are a counselor. You are doing all these things in one, and I really like that. I love teaching, and it makes me happy. When I’m going in there and helping the students achieve their goals and dreams, I kind of feel a part of that, and so that is what is rewarding to me—the fact that I’m helping them get to where they want to be.”

-Maddie


 

Maria found herself at a Seattle Goodwill resume-building workshop after moving tothe Pacific Northwest from Costa Rica in 2011. A teacher back home, Maria owned a bachelor’s and master’s degree but she was looking for work in her new country. Little did she know, Goodwill was where she would work the next six years of her life. Maria immediately fell in love with Goodwill’s mission, and even though she found a job, she began volunteering at Goodwill’s Job Training and Education (JTE) Center. That turned into a part-time position, which led to a full-time role at Burien’s JTE Center, where Maria teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. Maria has helped countless students develop English-speaking skill, which ultimately provides them better economic opportunity, increased confidence and an ability to become self-reliant. Maria developed a passion for helping others at an early age. She’s been teaching since she was 18 and admits working for Seattle Goodwill has been her most rewarding experience.

“I knew that if I had the chance, I would love to stay at Goodwill. We get people from all over the world, and it is such a rich experience. As I learn from them, they learn from me. We are able to help people on such a level I don’t think other organizations are able to. We are able to support a person not just in their learning, but as a whole. One of the major things for me is we get to help people. That is one of the most important things. We help them get a job, (work) toward that independence and we have the resources to do it. We get to give all of this for free, free of charge to them. To me, that is amazing. I tell people this: ‘Please come in and shop at Goodwill. I will give you a tour of the center. See where the money goes. I want you to see the students, because you are changing someone’s life.’”

-Maria

Add a Comment | Comments (0)
 

DIY Succulent Terrarium

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
June 7, 2017
 

Goodwill DIY: Succulent TerrariumConfession: I love the current terrarium trend—but they can be so expensive! So a terrarium—with low-maintenance succulents—seemed like a good foray into adding some summer vibes to my home.

To start, I did a bit of research into the layers of a proper terrarium—and then headed out to our Shoreline store. One of the reasons I head to Goodwill Shoreline for many DIY projects is its proximity to the other stores I’ll need to stop at for DIY supplies—like Home Depot, and a couple different craft stores. (Fun Fact: Home Depot is also one of Seattle Goodwill’s employer partners—they hire students who have gone through our job training & education programs.)

Terrarium Layers

To make the terrarium, I used these supplies:

  • Large river stones (Hobby Lobby)
  • Small river stones (Found at Goodwill, but originally from Hobby Lobby)
  • Succulent Potting Dirt (Home Depot)
  • Succulents (Hope Depot)
  • Glass jar/container (Goodwill)
  • Clay Pot for décor (Goodwill)
  • Sheet Moss (Home Depot)

Assembling the terrarium is quick and easy, and all about layering your materials in the correct order to ensure drainage.

Start with a layer of the large river stones, followed by a layer of the small ones. In total, this should take up about 1/3 of the depth of your container.

Next, add a small layer of dirt, and arrange your succulents in it—adding more dirt to make it level if necessary.

Once your plants are in, add an accent item or two, and fill in some of the area between your plants and décor with a little bit of sheet moss.

Be sure to place your terrarium in a place that has a lot of natural light!

DIY Succulent TerrariumAre you doing DIY projects with your #GoodwillFinds this summer? Tag @SeattleGoodwill and #GoodwillDIY—we’d love to see them!

Add a Comment | Comments (0)
 

Adopt a pet at Goodwill this summer!

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
June 5, 2017
 

Seattle Humane MaxMobile is coming to GoodwillYou can find toys, food and water dishes, leashes, and plenty of other pet accessories at any of our twenty-four stores—and this summer at some of our locations, you can find a pet, too! We’re partnering with Seattle Humane to host their MaxMobile so you can adopt a new best friend.

Check out Seattle Humane’s website to get any details you need to be prepared to adopt on-the-spot, and make plans to swing by one of the pet adoption events this summer:

Adopt a pet! Goodwill will be hosting Seattle Humane's MaxMobile

Goodwill Juanita
Saturday, June 10, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Goodwill Seattle – Flagship
Friday, July 28, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Goodwill Shoreline
Friday, August 25, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

If you adopt a new furry friend on one of these days, we’d love to see it! Share it with us by tagging @SeattleGoodwill and #MaxMobile on your favorite social media channel!  

Add a Comment | Comments (1)
 

DIY Mini Herb Garden

 
by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
June 2, 2017
 

Goodwill DIY: Mini Herb GardenWith grilling weather officially here—and plenty of sunshine and daylight for evening barbeques and picnics, I wanted to put together a mini herb garden so I can freshen up my summer dishes a bit and also add a little indoor foliage to my dining area.

With a little browsing through Pinterest, I decided making my herb garden in glass jars—with some sort of container to keep them all together—beyond that, I didn’t have much vision for this project. Over the years of #GoodwillDIY-ing, I’ve learned to approach projects with flexibility. You never know what you’re going to find at Goodwill!

For this project, I shopped at our store in Shoreline—and found everything I needed in one stop! I found some canning jars in a bright blue color, a basket that fit them perfectly, and some unopened “river stones”—which are a common craft store find, so it was easy to find matching rocks for our next DIY project. (Coming soon to the blog: DIY Succulent Terrarium)

Goodwill DIY: Goodwill Items for a herb gardenHere’s the full list of materials I used for this project:

  • 4 small jars (Goodwill)
  • A small basket (Goodwill)
  • Acrylic paint (Already had in my craft supplies – but easily found at Goodwill!)
  • Potting soil (Home Depot)
  • 3 Herb Plants: Thai Basil, Rosemary, Thyme (Home Depot)
  • River Stones (Goodwill)

Goodwill DIY: Herb Garden SuppliesI started with removing the lid from my basket, and painting the inside. Once the inside was dry enough to touch, I painted the outside.

For the planting, I put about 1.5” of the stones in the bottom of each jar—this will help with drainage when you water the plants, since the jars don’t allow water to run out.

Next, I added a layer of potting dirt, and added the plants themselves to the jars—covering any remaining area with a little more dirt. Because the thyme plant I bought was so full, I divided it into two separate jars—plus, who wouldn’t want a little extra thyme on their hands?!

Once my painted basket was dry, I set the jars into the basket—and voila! A tiny herb garden that met my spatial needs—and added a little color and flavor to my summer.

Are you doing DIY projects with your #GoodwillFinds this summer? Tag @SeattleGoodwill and #GoodwillDIY—we’d love to see them!

Add a Comment | Comments (0)
 

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

Add a Comment | Comments (0)
 
 

 
700 Dearborn Place S, Seattle, WA 98144 • (206) 329-1000 • 1 (877) GIVE4GOOD • View Mobile Version of Website
 
Copyright © 2017 Seattle Goodwill. All Rights Reserved.