Describe the mission, programs, and services of Goodwill:
Our mission is to provide quality, effective employment training and basic education to individuals with significant barriers to economic opportunity. We currently operate 10 Job Training Centers, 25 retail stores and 38 donation sites in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom and Kitsap counties. Goodwill employs 1,800+ people between all of those locations.
Goodwill sells donated goods from the community in its retail stores, with the net proceeds supporting our free job training and education programs. Our programs are focused around work readiness (ESOL, computers, GED, job search, etc.) vocational training (Retail & Customer Service Program, cashiering, college readiness), youth programs (Youth Year-Round Program, Youth Aerospace Program, Green Corps Program), support services (food, housing, healthcare, transportation, utilities, legal or immigration related questions, domestic violence, and more), and employment services.
How does your organization engage volunteers?
At Goodwill, we rely on volunteers to help achieve our mission. Volunteers support all areas of our organization. From special event volunteers to board and committee members, to corporate groups and job training tutors and instructors.
How did you come into the field of volunteer engagement?
After I graduated, I was focused on a career in fundraising. I have always been passionate about resource development and building relationships on behalf of nonprofit organizations, and after spending a few years on the Development Team at Goodwill, I came to realize that the value of a well-run volunteer program was great. The rest is history—I love working with Goodwill staff and volunteers throughout the region.
What are some of the successes and challenges you have had engaging volunteers?
The greatest success has been watching the evolution of skilled volunteerism and volunteer participation at Seattle Goodwill. The culture has shifted. Staff and volunteers throughout the organization are collaborating and working together more than ever before. That culture shift, or development of trust and appreciation, was also one of the greatest challenges. It has taken time to get where we are today, and continued collaboration and reassessment is necessary for growth and expansion moving forward.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change and why?
I wish that people were more willing to extend love and compassion freely. Life is short and I don’t think there is enough time, or room, for all of the intolerance that we see today.
What is the most interesting item in your closet?
Hmmm…probably my cat. She takes some epic naps in there during the winter.