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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Goodwill Faces: Alison, Joe and Sam, Sherion & Ta'Vion

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
February 2, 2017

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

Years ago Alison was a semester away from earning a computer science degree when she had an epiphany. She hated it. The earning potential behind a degree in technology was enticing, but the passion simply wasn’t there. So Alison left college and took some online courses before randomly taking a job working with adults who had disabilities. She fell in love with it and eventually went back to college at Oregon State University, where she earned a degree in human services. Alison completed an internship, working with children for DSHS and realized her desire to work with youth. Her journey has led her to Seattle Goodwill where she serves as Youth Program Supervisor, overseeing the Green Corps and Youth Year-Round Programs.


“Both programs teach me more about life and, sure, we are teaching them, but they are teaching us just as much. Seeing the youth’s growth, it’s incredible. For the Youth Year-Round Program getting that graduation announcement from someone that comes in and had a 0.4 GPA and was just extremely behind but was able to fight through and graduate now is so rewarding. Then they send you the graduation announcement, and they want you there because you were a part of that. For Green Corps, it’s hearing ‘Thanks to Goodwill, I’m able to step away from my life and have a second chance.’ Words can’t really describe what it’s like. It’s not just me; it’s all of Goodwill that is behind all of this. It’s incredible.”



Brothers Joe and Sam from 2011 to 2015 were living a nomadic lifestyle after being​ evicted from their home where they lived with their parents and brother. Sam and Joe decided to visit Seattle Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Center in Marysville last summer, took several courses and workshops including Keyboarding, Retail and Customer Service and Resume Essentials and both have landed jobs. Sam and Joe are thrilled to start financially helping their family and plan to begin saving for college.

“About the time I graduated from high school our family got evicted from our home. We were living out of hotels for a while. I spent most of that time in the room taking care of the dogs and cleaning up for when they’d kick us out. I really wanted to start helping out. I just couldn’t get an interview. After years of not even getting a call back, I was feeling really discouraged about applying to places, and coming here (to Goodwill) helped with getting that call back right away. I think what helped me the most was in the workshops. I took one of the ones for resume building, (and it) showed me how to make one that was decent since mine had a large hole in it. (Goodwill) helped me best by keeping me from getting in my own way about thinking I wasn’t going to get a job before I even tried.”


“I was in school until 2015 when I graduated. It was like a year after high school for me, so I figured I’d need a job eventually, so I thought (going to Goodwill) would be a good idea to at least get my leg in the door of getting one. I just looked at the schedule and saw what interested me. (The curriculum) was very well organized, very well thought out.”



Three years ago Sherion, a student at Franklin High School, was looking for something to do during summer break when she found a flier for Seattle Goodwill’s Youth Year-Round Program, which provides students age 15-to-17 the tools and support to graduate and successfully chose a path to higher education. She applied, got accepted and has developed an invaluable resource in Goodwill. Sherion experienced personal growth, developed important skill sets, has interned at Goodwill through the Seattle Youth Employment Program and regularly volunteers with the current Youth Year-Round Program participants. Now a senior, Job Training and Education staff have helped her apply to colleges while guiding her through the process.

“I had a lot of growth. When I came in I didn’t like to meet new people. I was more on the shy side, but then having everybody around and them taking your phones for the whole day, you have to interact with other people, so I appreciate Goodwill for that. When I came into the program I didn’t think I was going to be with Goodwill this long. I think it’s more like the energy and support you get when you come to Goodwill, because it’s not like you’re only getting good vibes from people in your program, but everybody here. They are always so welcoming. It makes you want to come back, and they’ve done so much, it’s never a problem to come back and help out.”



Ta’Vion lost his mom to the justice system when he was 3 and his dad when he was 8. He was in foster care for two years when he was 6 and 7 years old before reuniting with his mom at 8. He had a daughter at an early age, but tragedy struck soon after when she passed away. A pivotal point in his life came during his junior year in high school when he got into an altercation with another student, resulting in a criminal charge and a day spent in jail. A reference from a friend to Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Programs offered Ta’Vion what he was looking for—a second chance. He completed Seattle Goodwill’s Green Corps Program, began volunteering in Goodwill’s Youth Year-Round Program and was eventually hired as a Youth Assistant for Seattle Goodwill and is now the Community Liaison Intern.

 “When I was 19 I did a day in jail. It really was a time of thought. I really sat there and was like, ‘This is not me. This is not who I want to be.’ You know, having this daughter young, I was like, ‘If she was still here, I wouldn’t want her to feel regrets on me.’ I really did a 180. So once I got out I really just looked for a job, went everywhere looking for a job just to stay out of trouble and stay away from everybody I use to hang out with. People kind of treated me like a monster. I like working with the youth, because my all-time goal is to become a youth counselor. I feel like there are a lot of youth that feel like they don’t have that resource or don’t have nobody to talk to. I feel like it takes a village to raise a child, so I want to be part of that village and help shape somebody else just like someone helped shape me. I did everything I could to show the youth that even if you have a background, even if something bad happens, you can always overcome it.”


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Get Free Tax Preparation Help at Goodwill

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
January 30, 2017

Taxes can be stressful, we can help. Aside from accountants, there’s probably not a lot of people who get excited for tax season. It can be cumbersome, stressful, and downright unpleasant—but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to United Way, tax season doesn’t need to be so taxing.

For the last few years we’ve partnered with United Way and other VITA Tax services to host free tax preparation—and this year is no different! At six of our job training and education centers, we’ll be hosting regular hours during which you can stop by and have your taxes prepared… FOR FREE.

To help you make the most of your time and free tax assistance, here are a few pointers on prepping before you come in:

  1. Bring your identifying documents.
    Bring at least one form of valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, and your Social Security Card or taxpayer identification number.
  2. Bring last year’s tax return.
    If you have it, bring it. It can help expedite the process.
  3. Gather and bring your income documents.
    Bring in your W-2s, W-9s, all 1099s, and any other document you have that shows your income sources for the year.
  4. Gather and bring your expense documents.
    This can include all varieties of 1098 forms pertaining to mortgages, student loans, tuition, and certain charitable contributions. It also includes medical expenses, medical insurance forms (1095s), moving, childcare, and business expenses—and more. You can see a more expansive and specific list here.
  5. Plan to take some time.
    While our staff and volunteers work hard to keep the line moving, free tax assistance is available on a first come, first served basis. This means you may have to wait in line for a little while. We recommend showing up as early as you can during one of the available time blocks (listed below).
  6. Take a deep breath.
    We know taxes can be stressful, and that’s why we partner with United Way to offer free tax assistance at six different sites throughout our region. Have questions? United Way has some resources on their site: and if you have location-specific question, click the link for your preferred location below to find contact info on that specific job training and education center.

From now through April 20, 2017, you can bring all of your paperwork and tax information to any of the locations below for free tax help:

January 10 - April 20
Tues. & Thu., 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sun., 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Everett South
January 10 - April 6
Tues. - Thu., 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm

January 10 - April 16
Tues. & Thu., 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Mount Vernon 
January 31 - April 14
Tues. - Thu., 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

January 9 - April 19
Mon. & Wed., 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

January 9 - April 19
Mon. & Wed., 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sat., 10:00am - 2:00 pm

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How to spot vintage Barbies and G.I. Joes

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
January 27, 2017

She’s been a mainstay in children’s toy boxes for more than half a century. She’s got style, some notable friends, a dreamy boyfriend and enough dream houses to make the most successful real estate tycoon jealous. Who is this mystery woman that’s been a pop culture fixture ever since her creation in 1959 by Ruth Handler?

Barbie, of course.

For baby boomers, gen x, millennials and today’s youth there’s arguably no toy more iconic than the Barbie doll. Odds are, every child from the 60s and beyond at least once had an encounter with Barbie, sisters Skipper and Tutti or boyfriend Ken.

When Ruth bought the rights to Germany’s Bild Lilli doll in 1955, she was taking a risk. At the time, common thought was children, especially girls, only wanted to play with baby dolls. Handler broke that stereotype and opened toy manufacture’s minds on a different front, too.

Barbie’s success got toy maker’s thinking, maybe there’s a market space for a toy that caters to boys? Only a short five years later, the G.I. Joe was spawned by Hasbro’s Don Levine in 1964.

Joe, similar in size to Barbie dolls, debuted as an 11 ½ inch action figure with 21 moving parts. The doll was an instant success and paved the way for today’s modern G.I. Joe, which come in a number of different forms.

Because Barbie and G.I. Joe played such an integral role in our childhoods, they’ve become highly collectible, and Seattle Goodwill is a terrific spot to find some of the most rare, nostalgic dolls made during the past 50 years. Our site and eBay store regularly features new postings.

Here is a small guide and some things to look for when trying to determine Barbie’s value:

  • Copyright information—When looking for a vintage doll, if the copyright information appears on Barbie’s behind and not on the lower back, then your doll is considered vintage (1959-72).
  • Made in Japan—Barbie was only made in Japan until 1972, so if a Made in Japan marking can be found on Barbie’s behind or on the bottom of her foot, then the doll is vintage and could hold some serious value.
  • 1966—One of the biggest mistakes when determining Barbie’s value is thinking the 1966 copyright marking is important. There are millions of dolls with a 1966 marking, ones that were made during the 80s and even 90s.

Here is a small guide and some things to look for when trying to determine G.I. Joe’s value:

  • Size—G.I. Joes came in many different sizes: 12 inch, 11 ½ inch, 8 inch, 6 inch, 4 ½ inch and 3 ¾ inch. The full-sized G.I. Joes were among the first released, therefore they are often highly sought after, but because many of today’s-aged collectors played with the smaller Joes growing up, the smaller figurines also bring high value.
  • Condition—Original packaging is a huge plus and will make the action figure more valuable. Look for cracking or any obvious wear and tear. That will bring down the value.
  • Accessories—It’s not only Joe himself that is valuable. Many of his accessories can fetch a pretty penny. Helmets, first-aid kits, cloth caps and cartridge belts are all highly sought after. The 1967 GI Joe fighter pilot outfit is reportedly worth more than $6,200.

Every purchase made on our online stores supports our mission of providing free job training and education programs for those in need.

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