Five Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day Crafts

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
March 14, 2017

5 Kid-Friendly St. Patrick's Day CraftsSaint Patrick’s Day originates from the traditional death date of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17, 461. For nearly 1200 years, he was largely forgotten—but then on March 17, 1631 St. Patrick’s Day was declared a feast day by the church in Ireland. In 1762, the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held in New York City—and in 1798, green became the official color for the day. It was declared a public holiday in Ireland in 1903.

In the last 114 years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a globally celebrated holiday with annual parades and festivities on six continents—and even in outer space on the International Space Station in 2015.

Last year for the holiday, we shared some of our favorite Irish recipes with you—this year? We’re getting crafty with some good-for-kids DIY projects.

Here are five simple craft projects for your little ones to do for Saint Patrick’s Day:

Coffee Filter Shamrocks - We Know Stuff

Coffee Filter Shamrocksvia We Know Stuf
This was one of my favorites as a kid—and I was glad to find this beautiful DIY blog that summarizes the craft exactly as I remember it! All you need is circular coffee filters, green pipe cleaners, water, and green food dye—and they make an excellent decoration!

Shrinky Dink Lucky Charms – via The Tiny FunnelShrinky Dink Lucky Charmsvia The Tiny Funnel
Who remembers Shrinky Dinks from their childhood? They’re extremely easy to replicate with some #6 recycled plastic, sharpies, and an oven! The Tiny Funnel does a great job of summarizing how easy the project is—and you can make charms in any shape and color! From shamrocks to rainbows, this one is great for any age that can hold a marker! (With parental help, of course.)

Rainbow Glitter Shoes – via The Swell DesignerRainbow Glitter Shoesvia The Swell Designer
Add some color to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit with a pair of rainbow glitter shoes! You can find craft supplies—as well as a pair of shoes in your size—at Goodwill. Be sure to start this one a day or two in advance, so they have time to dry before wearing them.

Mini Pot o’ Gold Party Favor – via Make and TakesMini Pot o’ Gold Party Favorvia Make and Takes
Does your little one have a class St. Patrick’s Day party? Here’s a great little party gift that can start with some easily thrifted terra cotta pots and craft supplies, and are easy for little hands to help assemble.

Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirt – via Cutesy Crafts Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirtvia Cutesy Crafts
This craft is easy, quick, and ensures no one gets pinched on St. Paddy’s Day! Add a shamrock to a light-colored t-shirt in this simple, kid-friendly DIY project. All you need is a t-shirt, freezer paper, green fabric paint, and a pencil!

“To all the days here and after—May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.” – Irish Toast


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Goodwill Faces: Amruta, Carol, Da'Shawna, Joe

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
March 2, 2017

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

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.”


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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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