Goodwill Faces: Amruta, Carol, Da'Shawna, Joe
March 2, 2017
Amruta and her husband moved from Mumbai, India to Georgia in 2013 after marrying. Near her Georgia home was a Goodwill, and she always wanted to volunteer but didn’t have the transportation means to get there. That changed eight months later when Amruta’s husband landed a job at Amazon and the couple moved to Seattle. As Amruta waited for her work permit, she wanted to put the human resources degree she earned in India to good use, and with a proper bus system, she decided to look into volunteering. Amruta has volunteered at Goodwill for two years in the Job Training and Education (JTE) computer lab, Risk and Safety and now Philanthropy. She screens applications, schedules interviews and responds to volunteer emails as a recruiting volunteer.
“After coming to Seattle, I started exploring the city. When my husband would go, I would take a bus and go to Pike Place and just explore the city. I like this city very much, and now I started working (at Seattle Goodwill) and I love it. I just got my work permit, but before that I thought, ‘Let’s not waste those years. Let’s make something out of it.’ After doing research and knowing all the JTE stuff, I thought I’d really like to work for Goodwill. It’s doing such a noble thing. The tagline that jobs change lives, it’s so much true, and I believe it so much. It’s a great cause.”
Carol was working in the new media department for a TV programming company in her home country of Brazil when her life underwent a drastic change. Her husband received a job offer from Amazon, and so Carol moved with him to Seattle just over a year ago. Carol earned a degree in social communications and an MBA in Brazil, but in order to work in the U.S., she had to wait for her work permit. She decided to volunteer in an effort to keep her skills sharp and found a position within Seattle Goodwill’s philanthropy team. Carol completes various critical projects, including compiling and reporting on volunteer hours, data input and analysis and updating the volunteer exit survey.
“I really like (volunteering) because it keeps me from getting rusty. It keeps me busy and all that. I can practice my skills, and I really enjoy the vibe here, seeing how people really like what they do. They are very engaged in the mission of the company. This is something that I never saw in any company I’ve worked for, so it’s really refreshing. I’ve been increasingly more interested in nonprofit business in general. It’s something that I never worked with, and even though I had a great career back in Brazil, I’ve always felt like something was lacking in terms of self-fulfillment. When you work for a place like Goodwill, everything kind of fits. It was a great opportunity for me to see this is possible, to be working at a place you admire and you are in sync with their mission and their values.”
Da’Shawna was dealing with some hardships at home and in school when she began interning last summer at Seattle Goodwill through the Seattle Youth Employment Program. Her dad passed away at a young age, and she had some challenges within her family. Da’Shawna’s grades were slipping and school day commutes from Tukwila to Franklin High School in Seattle didn’t provide sufficient time or the proper environment to get school work done. Da’Shawna moved to Tacoma and was still going to commute to Franklin for school starting fall 2016, so Goodwill Job Training and Education staff asked Da’Shawna if she wanted to join the Youth Year-Round Program. Da’Shawna did and since is on track to graduate next spring thanks in part to the support services provided by Seattle Goodwill staff.
“With this commute back and forth, it really gave me a big eye opener that I needed to stay on top of my grades. Some of my grades have dropped because I’m not getting time to do my homework. I’m not in a stable environment where I can finish all the things I need to. Sometimes I fall behind, and it makes me just want to give up, but I can’t give up. I have to keep pulling through. (Goodwill staff) is there every day. They are just one phone call away or one text. They help me with my homework. They make sure I am on track with my grades. They let me come in and do my work and make sure I get it done before I leave. They make sure I have everything and am stable with all I need to do. Sometimes I get off track, and I need a little extra push, and they’re there to support me and to keep me focused. Goodwill has good opportunities behind it. Their whole system is built to help the youth and empower the youth to make them more capable to fulfill their needs in life.”
Joe was thumbing through the pants racks at Goodwill’s Shoreline location when he looked up and saw a job training and education sign. A nearby employee explained to Joe Goodwill’s mission, and after doing more research on his own, he decided to apply for a volunteer role. Before retiring Joe enjoyed a successful career as a controller and a CFO, handling various accounting tasks. He also did some fundraising, which led him to a volunteering in the Philanthropy Department where he conducts extensive donor research and has created a manual for future volunteers. He’s now been with Goodwill for several months and has enjoyed serving a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of those facing economic and personal barriers.
“When I went online to register to be a volunteer I actually looked for the mission statement first. It was like, ‘Wow, this is really in line with exactly what I want to do.’ So I couldn’t have created a better mission statement than what (Goodwill) has. Just providing that job training, some basic education and just focusing on people who have those barriers to opportunity. Those are three little components in the mission statement that really hit home. My whole life I’ve been going from one job to the other not really focusing on what my personal mission statement is, and I thought as I approached retirement, ‘What can I do to sort of do what I want to do,’ which is inspire and empower people. It’s just come all together here, so really it’s been a great experience.”
Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.
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