Atlanta’s School of Rock

The Märchen Sagen Academy offers professional-led training for kids in everything from stop-motion animation to voice over work. Led by Executive Director Couleen LaGon, a video and music producer by trade, Märchen Sagen provides hands on programs to inspire local youth. “We develop humans, and their ideas,” LaGon said. “We are teaching these kids that they don’t have to compete for their world—they can create it.”

Märchen Sagen Academy

“I think that’s the most important thing that we do here—to teach these kids that nothing is impossible. If you can believe and have a little bit of applied faith and some personal action, you can do anything that you want to do.” Opened in August of 2016, Märchen Sagen has attracted many of its students through word of mouth and walk-ins off the street. The Academy also has a performing group that does shows at local schools, building even more local interest.

And the attention doesn’t stop there. The kids in the program were recently hired by Leon’s Full Service Restaurant to produce their new local advertisement. The Academy hopes to continue to provide these services to local individuals and businesses to give participants real-life training, all while securing funds for Märchen Sagen.

While the school year is in session, Märchen Sagen holds a daily after-school session from 2:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at their 418 Church Street location, offering students the chance to learn about making electronic music, songwriting, filming on a green screen and video production. Providing snacks for the students while they are there, Märchen Sagen offers a variety of different payment packages for participants, who can come between two and five days a week.

During school breaks, Märchen Sagen holds K.A.M.P, or Kids and Multimedia Production. K.A.M.P. is a full-day opportunity for students to continue honing their craft. The Academy offers day and full-week rates during these school breaks.

In addition to their work with the kids, Märchen Sagen is also available for additional video production and studio space. Offering quality equipment and production tools, artists can rent out the studio for recording and tracking work. With the Artists Development Package, artists get six hours of studio time, which includes one hour of pre-production, four hours of production time, and one hour of mastering.

The Academy is also available for parties and events, offering locals the opportunity to rent out the historic space. Those interested in learning more or enrolling in the summer camp can visit their website at www.marchensagen.org.

To listen to this full episode of The Good Works Show, click here.

Spotlight on HOPE Atlanta

Although homeless individuals and families all share the common issue of not having a stable place to live, their back stories are incredibly varied and diverse

HOPE Atlanta understands these complexities, and works with the homeless population of the city to meet them where they are, and focus on their individual needs. Their mission of providing a comprehensive approach to address homelessness and provide solutions that promote lifelong stability has been their main priority for more than 30 years, making them the longest-running homeless-focused nonprofit in Atlanta.

In a count taken in January of 2016, Atlanta has approximately 4,000 homeless individuals. 80% of them are considered to be episodically homeless, where housing instability is not typical in their lives. For them, specific events like a job loss, eviction, or missed payments on rent have caused the situation. The remaining 20%, however, are chronically homeless and habitually on the streets, often due to mental illness or substance addition.

“It’s relatively easy for folks like us to get the episodically homeless back on their feet, but for the other portion of the population, that process can take years and years,” Executive Director David Powers said. In fact, most of the organization’s revenue and funding go toward helping that 20%.

While any number is too large, Atlanta’s homeless population has been maintained in comparison to cities like New York, with 73,000 homeless, and LA, with 43,000. Over the last three years, Atlanta has seen a 26% decline in their homeless numbers.

HOPE Atlanta provides a continuum of services and various programs that enable them to assist individuals in their immediate time of need. This includes finding individuals short-term and more permanent housing, and holding twelve offices across six counties.

Last year, HOPE Atlanta placed 1,200 homeless veterans and their families in housing, and 640 individuals with HIV/AIDS. They also work with individuals who are not able to make a stable life in Atlanta, helping them return to a verified support system.

To work with the chronically homeless, Powers said you have to build relationships. “They are not going to come to you,” he said. “You have to go to them. You have to be able to build some kind of relationship. Hopefully after doing that and earning their trust, at some point they will be willing to come in off the streets and begin a process of getting back on track.”

HOPE Atlanta also works with women and their families hoping to escape domestic violence situations. They help find them an immediate safe place to go, and then evaluate whether or not the family is comfortable staying in Atlanta, or should move to be more safe.

HOPE Atlanta is always looking for volunteers and new supporters, and are currently running their 100 Nights of Hope fundraising campaign to raise money and provide critical services in the cold-winter months. Those interested in learning more about HOPE Atlanta and 100 Nights of Hope can visit www.hopeatlanta.org.

A Seamless Partnership

Charles Pace GCPL
Gwinnett County Public Library Executive Director Charles Pace poses alongside Vice President of Career Services Cheryl Cornett and President Ray Bishop at the annual Employer Recognition Event.

Aligning well with the library’s informational and educational objectives, our mission is to put people to work. The mission of the library is to support informational, educational, and recreational interests with convenient, creative, customer-friendly access to materials and services.

“We are all about changing lives through literacy and reading, just like Goodwill changes lives through helping people find employment,” said Gwinnett County Public Library Executive Director Charles Pace.

Through providing valuable resources, the Gwinnett County Public Library has become an appreciated supporter, partner and friend to us. From hosting job-readiness workshops, networking events and career fairs to encouraging the importance of literacy in the community, the library contributes to the many successes of our participants.

Gwinnett County serves as the second most populated county in Georgia and is home to nearly 20 Goodwill stores, career centers and donation centers. As the library looks to strengthen and expand its footprint in Gwinnett County, we look forward to serving more job seekers in order to reach our goal to put 23,000 north Georgians to work before July this year.

Together, we will accomplish both education and employment initiatives. Pace looks forward to what is next for the partnership. “We are really happy to have this partnership with Goodwill and to be able to leverage what Goodwill is doing while also supporting the mission and the goals of the library,” he says.

Nzinga Shaw on The Good Works Show

This week’s episode of the Good Works Show featured a guest who is achieving great results in creating new norms.  Nzinga Shaw is the first person to hold the title of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the NBA, ensuring fans and players alike know that the team is more than just about their percentage from the free-throw line.

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At the end of the season, every team wants to have more wins than losses, and always has their eye on making it to the championship. There are times, though, when the game is about more than just the game.

For the Atlanta Hawks, priorities extend beyond the club’s free-throw percentage as they place increased focus on diversity and inclusion on and off the court. In fact, the team’s staff includes the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position in the NBA, with Nzinga Shaw at the helm.

The Diversity and Inclusion office oversees three key areas. Working on internal engagement, a good employee and job candidate experience is encouraged, making sure job opportunities are publicized in the community to reach diverse demographics, and creating programs so employees can reach their full potential.

“That’s really what diversity is about,” Shaw said. “It’s about finding out what’s great about each individual and then having them put in positions to shine and succeed.”

From there, the office focuses on the game experience itself. Beyond the basketball, they put together a show that attracts a diverse group of fans to the arena. This includes engaging different groups, such as women, and the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities.

Lastly, the Diversity and Inclusion initiative works on strategic partnerships to ensure that the team partners companies that align with their community and outreach goals. Women and minority-owned businesses have been sought out, in addition to the more traditional, larger companies with Atlanta ties.

Atlanta’s rich and diverse community provides a solid starting point for the team’s efforts. Shaw hopes to work with the diversity of the city to bring more people together, and promote integration.

“It’s not about competition, but it’s about coming together to provide a unique experience that everyone can enjoy,” Shaw said. “It showed that we can be unified. At the end of the day, we are human beings, we respect one another, and we all deserve to live a good life.”

The Hawks’ MOSAIC Program, Model of Shaping Atlanta through Inclusive Conversation, is currently organizing its second event. The program tackles different issues and topics impacting the community, and brings together thought leaders from across Atlanta.

Last year’s event was held at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and revolved around the theme of race and gender in sports. Grant Hill, Atlanta Hawks owner and seven-time NBA all-star opened the program with “fireside chat” with his mother, a former MLB consultant. The two discussed the challenges that people of color face in moving up the ladder in professional sports. The event also included a panel discussion on multi-dimensional diversity in professional sports.

This year’s MOSAIC event will be held on March 14 at the Georgia Freight Depot, and will center around the theme of sports as a catalyst for social change. “I think social action is really what we need to be talking about this year,” Shaw said.

Invitations to the event are first extended to the Hawks’ community, including sponsors and partners. Then, remaining seats will be opened up to the general public. More information on the event and tickets can be found on the Community section of the website at www.hawks.com.

To listen to the full episode of The Good Works Show, click here.

Meet Jackie: The Go-To Gal

Jackie Proctor is a natural born leader who has a curiosity for change and an eagerness to grow. That motivation and leadership hasn’t slowed down since the day she walked into the Oakwood Store two years ago looking for a job. Since joining the team as a store associate, Proctor has been the go-to person for customers and her co-workers. “Everyone comes to me with questions and I really enjoy helping people,” she says.

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Her willingness to help others and dedication to working hard sparked her interest in becoming a team lead. “I really love it here, it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I especially like the people I work with and the customers I get to meet,” she says. Taking on more responsibility, putting her best self forward, providing excellent customer service and helping her co-workers are just a few ways Proctor exemplifies what it means to be a leader.

From store associate to team lead to hopes of one day earning an assistant store manager position, Proctor is determined to continue advancing her career, as well as her individual goals. Through her experiences, Proctor credits the development of her leadership and customer service skills to Goodwill.

Leadership Tip: The Importance of Showing Up

Show up

Woody Allen once said, “80-percent of life is showing up.” This week’s guest on The Good Works Show, Michael Lucas, Deputy Director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer Foundation, seems to agree.

“I think leadership is all about the power and the value of showing up,” he said. “Whether it’s as a leader and showing up for your staff, or it’s for an organization that wants to do community change, there is incredible value in just showing up, and being present in solidarity with the community or client base you are trying to serve. Both the leader and the organization will reap the benefits of that.”

To hear more from Lucas, listen to the episode podcast.

Job Tip of the Week from The Good Works Show

This week’s job tip on The Good Works Show came from Summer Dunham, Director of Public Relations at Goodwill of North Georgia. From turning her childhood interests into a career, she provided a job tip that has helped her build a career while doing what she is passionate about.

Job Tip Summer

“Think about something that you like, and find a way to do it as a job,” she said. “When I was little, I liked talking to anybody that would listen. I looked at careers that involved talking to people, and here I am doing public relations in the great state of Georgia, for an organization with a mission I really believe in. Think of what you like, and find a way to get paid for it.”

To listen to the full show, click here and don’t forget to tune in at noon on Saturday for a new episode of The Good Works Show!

Resolve to be Successful at Work

ResolveJohn Maxwell once said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” Each year 45-percent of Americans set resolutions for the new year. Of this 45-percent, only 8-percent are successful in achieving their resolution. To make 2017 your most successful one yet, consider these simple and achievable workplace resolutions to add to your routine, along with tips for maintaining them.

1. Listen and communicate effectively. Being an effective communicator begins with listening. This year, try to not leave people waiting for answers. Keep your coworkers updated, thank them if they’ve helped you and don’t be afraid to ask questions when needed.

2. Stretch yourself to grow. Start with asking yourself, “How can I go above and beyond?” Stepping out of your work comfort zone will allow you to expand your knowledge, as well as your experience.

3. Get fit. After a season full of cookies and holiday parties, it’s no surprise that getting fit is one of the most common resolutions. Getting fit is not only beneficial for your health, it is also helpful in creating success in the workplace. Adding simple activities to your routine, such as going for a 20-minute walk, will increase your likelihood of living a healthy lifestyle and sticking to this resolution. Don’t forget, a healthy body creates a healthy mind.

4. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. With technology allowing workers to stay in constant communication with work, this resolution may seem almost impossible. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Remember to reward your hard work with some well-deserved play. Drawing clear lines and sticking to them may even help you stay sharper while on the job and help you resolve workplace issues more efficiently.

Meet Tess.

Tess-RobertsDown time is not an option for Tess Roberts. A go-getter, Roberts takes care to ensure she always has something to do and is always working. She makes good use of her local Goodwill career center as a resource for her employment needs.

“I used the career center all the time,” she says. “I was looking for extra work because my job slowed down.” At a job fair she connected with Staffmark, which helped hire her as a warehouse employee. “My job is coming along pretty good,” Roberts says. “I take care of shipments of orders and make sure everything goes out on time.” Happy with her employment status and with the career center’s support in getting her there, Roberts has even referred two of her friends to the center this year.

Derek Phillips, lead career coach at the Northeast Plaza career center, confirmed Roberts has made good use of the facility, coming in regularly to search for job opportunities and to network with employers. “You know me, I’m persistent,” Roberts says. “I’ve got to keep a job so I can take care of me.”

5 Tips for Winter Thrifting

Wintry weather is a great excuse to catch up on some shopping! To stay up on the latest trends and brace for cooler climates while going easy on your wallet, consider visiting a Goodwill near you for some second-hand treasures. Here are a few tips to make your winter thrifting a breeze:

  1. Layer up and accessorize. Winter is the perfect season to bundle up in layers and accessories. Scarves, hats and cardigans all add to your winter look while keeping you warm. For extra chilly days you may even want to throw in mittens and earmuffs. Look for colors and patterns you love to find the right balance of comfort and style. hat
  2. Be on the lookout for daily deals and specials. Of course this tip doesn’t strictly apply to winter. As a thrifter, being aware of daily deals is important because it’s a smart way to save even more while thrifting. Stay up to date with the Color of the Week deals (the color changes every Sunday), senior discount day on Tuesdays and Thank You Thursdays for veterans, firefighters, police and EMS workers.
  3. Find your winter coat, without spending a fortune. With a wide variety of fabrics to choose from, search for coats that will keep you warmest this winter! Our stores are regularly stocked with a variety of winter coats. Whether you prefer wool, fleece, down, leather or cotton, there’s a good chance your local Goodwill has exactly what you’re looking for. Winter coats don’t have to cost a fortune, especially if you know you’ll only wear it four months out of the year. clothesrack
  4. Don’t limit your search to sizing! Winter is a season where oversized sweaters can be fashionable, and of course, cozy. Check out sections with the colors you’re looking for and remember to not be scared to buy a size or two bigger!
  5. Jeans. Jeans. Jeans. Can one ever have too many pairs of jeans? Dark colored jeans, light colored jeans, skinny jeans, flare jeans, jeans with holes or even high waist jeans. Shopping for jeans can be overwhelming and exhausting, but save the stress and your money because there’s a pair for everyone at Goodwill. jeans

For more thrifting tips and inspiration visit our Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/goodwillng/. Find a Goodwill store near you at www.goodwillng.org/locations.