Theresa O.

Five years ago, Theresa was in line to get into the annual Glitter Sale. She was tired of waiting and eager to shop. There had to be a quicker way in. Perhaps, she thought, if I volunteered, I could get in faster.

The following year she signed up to volunteer and attended a training seminar. Little did she know her whole mindset would change that day.

“I had no idea,” Theresa said. “Goodwill is not about feeding people; it’s not about housing. It’s about these people that want jobs. I didn’t realize the depth of the services that Goodwill provides. Once I went to the lecture, it really changed my thinking.”

Theresa began volunteering at Goodwill’s lunchtime conversations, where English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students practice their conversation skills with native speakers. That evolved into more volunteer opportunities. Most recently, Theresa helped with Seattle Goodwill’s Design Challenge. She’s also volunteering at the Glitter Gala, Glitter Sale and has become a Goodwill Ambassador.

Theresa’s found a perfect match. She feels valued and can see the tangible impact of her donated time. What’s more, her experience is tailored to match her interests: she’s in a fashion, design-centric role that matches her passion for clothing design.

Theresa’s love for design comes from a personal journey. Five days after becoming a University of Washington graduate, she was hit by a drunk driver and left with severe injuries. Theresa was in a wheelchair for a long time and had injuries to her face and body. She discovered strength that eventually led her to a career in the design industry.

Theresa played an integral role during the Goodwill Design Challenge on September 23, serving as an advisor to the student designers. Each designer had a vision but needed guidance to bring their creation to life. Theresa gave them helpful advice and critiques.

“I feel really appreciated by Goodwill,” Theresa said. “The volunteer work I do, I feel like it’s acknowledged.”

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