ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – As we step into the new year it’s important to look at the successes of 2019.
Goodwill Industries of the Valleys, the American nonprofit made a difference in many lives this past year. In 2019, 70% of Goodwill’s revenue came from the sale of donated items in Goodwill stores. What shoppers and donors may not realize is that their part in shopping and donating is truly helping people to change their lives.
The organization does this through job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs.
In 2019, we served more than 38,000 people who walked through our doors, just in our communities here in Virginia. That included youth, adults and seniors who need help getting back to work and gaining greater independence. We have a variety of programs that help individuals to do this, one includes our senior program.Kelly Sandridge, Goodwill, VP of Brand Strategy and External Affairs
Nearly 500 individuals over the age of 55 made up that 38,000. Michelle Haibon was one of them.
Haibon had been out of work for nearly a decade. Ten years prior she attended a drug and alcohol rehab. While there she broke her leg, became wheelchair-bound, and was on social security disability. Time passed, she says she became complacent and depressed. She knew that she had to make a change.
When I was ready to finally go back to work I was 59. It didn’t occur to me that trying to find work at 59 years of age was going to be a challenge.Michelle Haibon
By grace, she was lead to Goodwill’s Senior Community Service Employment Program.
It is through this program that she received employability training, paid part-time community service training that fits her career interests, and much more.
They explained the program to me and they said it wasn’t employment but it was a pathway back to employment for people my age who were having difficulty finding employment and had barriers.Michelle Haibon
Since beginning the program Michelle’s life has changed. As a veteran who has incurred many obstacles, she feels she has been given a second chance.
Now, Michelle is in an assignment (training) position within the very same department at Goodwill that helped her, the SCSEP program. Since beginning at Goodwill she has utilized the resources available to better her life.
I went to the class and I did what they said, and I put my pennies away. I took the bus here to do what I had to do here for several months, and six months after I started here, I went to a car dealer -a real one and I bought an almost new car with the help with the CSEP program and the little stipend they gave me. I was able to save for the first time and purchase a decent vehicle because of this program.Michelle Haibon
Through Michelle’s hard work and the meticulous and thoughtful programs offered at Goodwill, lives are being changed.
It’s a hand up, not a handout. It’s a tremendous amount of work for the people that we serve. We’re just the method that helps them to get what they truly deserve out of life and that is to change their lives and achieve all the independence that they can have.Kelly Sandridge, Goodwill, VP of Brand Strategy and External Affairs
For information on all the wonderful Goodwill resources, see below.