2019 Fall/Summer Goodwill Ambassador
After a year of volunteering with Goodwill, Lisa herself turned to Goodwill for life-changing help.
Lisa was perplexed. Her previous job was math-intensive, and rudimentary addition had always come second nature. But as Lisa stood at the register of her favorite fabric store, struggling to count change, she faced the realization she may never regain basic numeracy skills.
“I couldn’t remember my phone number or address,” Lisa said. “I had to have them written down. I couldn’t dial phone numbers, but the thing that really made me realize I had to ask somebody for help was when I went to Jo-Ann Fabric.”
Lisa had been volunteering at Seattle Goodwill’s Skagit County Job Training and Education (JTE) Center for a year. She volunteered as an office assistant, helping students register and sometimes helped in classrooms.
Meanwhile, Lisa wasn’t working and internally struggled with effects of her head trauma. The injury deteriorated her numeracy skills, and one day she decided to ask Skagit County JTE Center Manager aniel Graham and Instructor Drew Winsor for help.
“I had sort of been trying to re-learn math stuff for quite a while, and honestly I got stuck,”
Lisa said. “I’d never known anybody that was having this sort of problem, and I didn’t really know where to go. I hesitated to even ask (Goodwill), but I kind of asked out of desperation.”
Although Lisa didn’t suffer from typical barriers Goodwill students face, Drew invited Lisa into his GED class with open arms. The two got right to work. Lisa immediately felt secure in the learning environment Drew fostered. She had hope. Lisa received individualized instruction, and combined with her determination she began making progress. Lisa regained numeracy skills she feared were gone for good.
“Every two weeks, there was something new I was able to do,” Lisa said. “This year I did my taxes by myself, which was the first time in three years. Drew was willing to listen to me complain about how hard it was and made suggestions. It was just having somebody there who listened and knew where I was coming from. I didn’t have to feel embarrassed not knowing stuff.”
Before long, Lisa was sharing breakthrough moments every Monday after a weekend, as she realized she was gradually regaining her skills.
“It was unbelievably wonderful,” Lisa said. “There were all these things you just do in your life, and you don’t think about them. I never thought, ‘Gee, I’m not going to be able to count out 70 cents.’ It was just such a relief to be able to get those things back.”
Lisa took two sessions of Goodwill’s GED course and has regained much of what her head trauma took way. Lisa is still deciding next steps in her life, and is still volunteering at Goodwill — this time as a math tutor alongside Drew.
“I could have never accomplished the things I have without Drew and Goodwill,” Lisa said. “I wholeheartedly believed in Goodwill’s mission before I started as a student seeing what huge change it has made in my own life has given me a whole new appreciation for what Goodwill does.”
Hung high along the perimeter of Goodwill Instructor Drew Winsor’s Skagit County Job Training and Education (JTE) Center
classroom is the personification of resilience and achievement.
Drew neatly displays GED and High School 21+ certificates his students have obtained. He can recount wonderful stories about each one of the students.
For Drew, these papers signify more than an educational goal attained. They illustrate a student’s ability to demon- strate to themselves how intelligent they are and how successful they can be.
“It’s facilitating, it’s helping look for their spark,” said Drew of his teaching approach. “If early on I can give students the opportunity to demonstrate for themselves how smart they are, and they can see that success and taste it, they are off and running. I often feel like I’m less
a traditional content instructor than I am a life coach.”
Drew, who leads Skagit County JTE high school completion and computer classes, came to Goodwill nearly four years ago with a passion to serve others. For nearly 30 years, Drew worked as a carpentry contractor. His favorite job, though, was raising his kids. Once Drew’s kids matured, empty-nest syndrome kicked in, leaving a void in his life.
So Drew went back to school in his 50s. He wanted to teach.Drew has since helped many community members earn their high school completion certification through the GED and High School 21+ programs Goodwill offers. He works shoulder-to-shoulder with students, as they prepare to meet necessary standards for high school completion. The deep investment Drew makes in understanding each of his students helps him pinpoint how to best facilitate their success.
Drew used his same teaching philosophy while working with Lisa. Although Lisa wasn’t a high school completion student, Drew found ways to connect with her and helped Lisa progress toward re-acquiring her dormant math skills.
“Lisa studied hard,” Drew said. “She was hungry to learn.”
Lisa’s story is one of the many student stories Drew cherishes. He remembers all of them every time he glances along the walls of his classroom and sees the success of students staring right back.
“It’s delightful,” said Drew of being able to impact the lives of others. “It was the joys I discovered as a camp counselor helping young folks and as a parent of my kids. It’s very powerful and very meaningful. I feel lucky to be in a field where I get to have that kind of impact on folks.”
Hoa Pantastico admittedly first volun-teered with Seattle Goodwill to fulfill a volunteer requirement while attending classes at Seattle Pacific University.
Once Hoa discovered Goodwill’s annual Glitter Sale – a weekend sale of glamorous designer fashion that directly supports Goodwill’s Job Training and Education (JTE) programs — she was sold on Goodwill’s mission.
“That was a pretty memorable experience,” said Hoa of her first time volunteering with Goodwill. “There was so much excitement. I enjoyed seeing the energy from the shoppers as well as the energy from all the organizers and volunteers who made the event happen. It was a good introduction to Goodwill’s mission and why they do what they do.”
Hoa, who came from Vietnam to the U.S. at a young age, has found many ways Goodwill’s mission resonates with her.
“The population that Goodwill serves is very diverse and I can imagine folks coming in from different countries having difficulty accessing resources because they have a language barrier,” Hoa said. “Goodwill not only provides key services around job training, education, and placement – they do that while taking into account the needs of non-native English speakers and provide English language classes. That’s why Goodwill is an organization that I want to support.
“Goodwill’s positive environmental impact is really important to me too,” Hoa said. “Learning that Goodwill diverts so much waste from the landfills and keeps it as useable material made me an even stronger supporter.”
Volunteering is critical to Goodwill’s ability to offer free job training programs to community members facing life adversity. Last year, 730 volunteers donated 13,660 hours of service at five Job Training and Education centers, administrative departments and special events — time valued at $416,106.
Hoa has volunteered countless hours at various Goodwill events, and for the last two years she has been active in the community
as a Goodwill Ambassador (GA).
Goodwill Ambassadors help spread Goodwill’s mission by engaging with communities within the north and central Puget Sound. Ambassadors represent Goodwill at a variety of events. Their goal is to elevate Goodwill’s profile, increase awareness
and build connections.
While Hoa’s involvement as a GA allows her to tell others in our
community how lives are changed through Goodwill’s free training she also is involved because she enjoys giving back while having fun.
“For me, I get to go to different events to meet new people and build relationships,” Hoa said. “I went to an event at the Port of
Seattle and learned about sustainability at the Port. That’s the type
of thing I’m interested in learning about, so it was cool to have access to that via Goodwill. I enjoy representing Goodwill and feel happy to contribute to its mission of providing free job training and education to those in need.”
Hoa is looking forward to more Goodwill volunteer opportunities and has some simple advice for those interested in volunteering themselves.
“Try the Glitter Sale,” she said. “It is a really unique experience and tons of fun. Bring family and friends and learn more about Goodwill’s mission.”
A Letter from our CEO, Daryl, J. Campbell
Resilience. This year we’ve been reflecting on this important ability to overcome setbacks and rally when faced with challenges. Resilience is one of the most critical qualities demonstrated by Goodwill students. In this issue you will meet Lisa, a Skagit County Goodwill student who was able to improve her life with the assistance of quality training and dedicated staff. Goodwill is a support to our students, but it is their motivation and dedication to the training programs that really drives their success.
Lisa is just one of the many resilient students that Goodwill works with to remove barriers that help them develop or improve their skills. Goodwill is always looking to identify the barriers that students may face and provide the supports that meet their needs. One of the ways we do that is through completing a scan of the communities every five years with an in-depth research study. To ensure we fulfill our mission effectively we have invested resources to perform a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) that provides insights and information about which of our neighbors are struggling to be self-sufficient, what education needs remain unmet, and how labor market trends can guide our programs.
Key findings of the CNA reveal that systems of inequity continue to present momentous challenges to neighbors with low-incomes, and neighbors of color. Moving forward we will let this important work guide us to best meet the most pressing needs of the communities we serve. The CNA is a lens through which we view our work and seeks to guide us as we answer important questions like:
- What partnerships will we have and what sectorswill we focus on in each county?
- How does diversity, equity and inclusion affect howwe serve our students?
- How do we build the necessary infrastructure andbetter communicate what we do?
When we understand the barriers our students face in our community we are able to help them become more resilient. Psychologists believe that resilient individuals are better able to handle such adversity and rebuild their lives after a life change. Dealing with change is an inevitable part of life, and Goodwill hopes to continue to offer that support to students with a better understanding of our community.
Daryl J. Campbell
President & CEO
P.S. We look forward to seeing you at our annual Glitter Gala on Saturday, November 2!