How will you give this year?

Join the #GAGivesDay and #GivingTuesday movement! On Tuesday, November 28, charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity.

There are many ways that people choose to give, such as making a financial contribution or volunteering their time at a local community-based organization. There are other ways to donate, too, like offering your time and skills to a food pantry or donating items to your local Goodwill. For the latter of those options, gently-used household goods will generate revenue to support employment and job training programs for people in the community. When you donate and when you shop, your actions help us put people to work. In fact, for every one donation, Goodwill is able to provide one hour of job training.

November (27)

No matter how you choose to give this holiday season, remember that November 28 is a great day to get started. Find the right way for your family, community, company or organization to come together to give something more, then share how you are giving and inspire others to also give.

To make a financial contribution to Goodwill of North Georgia, visit https://www.gagives.org/c/GGD/a/goodwillng

Love Rolls: Providing Comfort and Care for Atlanta’s Homeless

It’s fairly common to hear about seasoned CEOs and company leaders and their successful business and nonprofit ventures. It’s not every day, though, that one of these success stories comes from the mind of a high school sophomore.

Such is the case, though, for the burgeoning nonprofit Love Rolls, and its founder, Atlanta High School student Kendall Robinson.

What started as a project for the 2015 Youth Summit quickly turned into a passion project for Robinson, as she saw firsthand the difficulties Atlanta’s homeless population endured while living on the street. While handing out goods, including toilet paper, at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, she encountered a homeless man who confided in her his need for the item.

“He was so grateful to receive it because normally he would have to ration out one roll for one month,” Robinson said. “I was completely shocked.”

This simple request for an item so often taken for granted sparked an idea for Robinson. Since then, the group has transformed from a small coalition of Robinson’s family and friends to a collaboration with large donor organizations, including Procter and Gamble (Charmin), Kimberly-Clark (Scott Brand), and even Chick-fil-A.

Distributing more than 100,000 rolls of toilet paper to Atlanta’s homeless population, Love Rolls has started a movement for the community, holding toilet paper drives and filling up a warehouse space to store the rolls for distribution.

Individuals can either come to the warehouse for pick-up or come to one of the many outreach events where Love Rolls hands out the toilet paper.

Love Rolls has also extended beyond the Atlanta-metro area, and has made multiple out-of-state distributions, to Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey, to name a few. Their goal for 2017 is to make even more trips outside of Atlanta to distribute the toilet paper.

The organization has helped countless individuals, but Robinson said one specific man, whom she met during a distribution at Hurt Park, left an impression.

“He said ‘Finally, somebody thought that we might need this,’” she remembered. “It made me realize that I am out here doing the right thing and I am helping people, and they are grateful for what they are receiving.”

Robinson says she couldn’t do the work without all the support from her family and friends. Love Rolls was only supposed to be a one-week drive, but turned into something much bigger. The word of mouth and community support have also enabled the organization to host their recent fundraising 5K, which included fun and games for participants, raffles and door prizes, and food trucks and a movie viewing.

“It was only because of the help of family and friends and getting the word out,” she said.

For more information on the organization, including how to volunteer or donate, individuals can visit www.loverolls.org.

Lifelong learning starts with early learning at Sheltering Arms

Not many organizations can tout a more than 100-year history, but Atlanta’s Sheltering Arms, can do that, and then some. Since 1888, the organization has served children and families in Cobb, Dekalb, Douglas, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.

Even better than their longevity? Their mission. Sheltering Arms

Sheltering Arms works with young children, from six weeks to five-years-old and typically from low-income families, to promote the importance of early-learning and help prepare them for academic journey.

Every year, Sheltering Arms provides critical services to more than 3,600 local children and families, working with participants with their “Creative Curriculum,” a model that seeks to promote self-esteem, creativity, and critical-thinking skills. The Curriculum follows 38 teaching strategies, based on research, which include social-emotional learning, cognitive, physical, language, and academic learning.

At the heart of Sheltering Arms’ work is an intense focus on language and literacy. Those who participate in the program score, on average, in the 90th percentile for language and literacy. These scores place participants in a healthy position to start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

“We take building early literacy and language skills very seriously at Sheltering Arms,” said Blythe Keeler Robinson, President & CEO of Sheltering Arms. “Children who do not have access to books and don’t read regularly are at high-risk of becoming some of society’s most vulnerable children.”

To help achieve their goals, Sheltering Arms partners with the Atlanta Speech School and the United Way, among others, and are on board with the state’s 2020 vision of students reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.

Sheltering Arms holds a year-round literacy program, and offers a monthly book distribution to help children build home libraries.

“Our literacy and language focus is what sets us apart,” Robinson said. “Exposing children at young is what puts them on path for love of reading and learning, and the sooner we can expose them, the better.”

Sheltering Arms recently expanded into its 16th learning center, located on the Barack and Michelle Obama Academy campus in Peoplestown. A brand new, two-story, 26,000 feet building, the center has fourteen new classrooms. Children are grouped by neighborhoods, and follow the same cohort throughout their time with the program.

The center also has meeting rooms and hospitality areas, as well as multi-purpose rooms intended for community and neighborhood meetings. The new center was built in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, in hopes to promote a direct pipeline for education. The goal is for students to transition out of Sheltering Arms, ready to enter Atlanta Public Schools.

Next up, Sheltering Arms hopes to expand its services to increase STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) project-based learning. They are also placing increased emphasis on dual-language student services.

Sheltering Arms is always looking for volunteers, and interested individuals can go online to www.shelteringarmsforkids.com, or visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

Goodwill Donation Do’s and Don’ts

Donations

When you donate to Goodwill of North Georgia, you’re supporting our mission to put people to work. Revenue generated by your gently-used household goods supports 13 local career centers and tob training and placement services in industries ranging from logistics to retail. In fact, donors like you will allow us to put 23,000 people to work this year!

do's and don'ts

Next time you feel inspired to donate, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind before you head to Goodwill. Here are some tips:

•    Don’t wait to donate. Clutter today will be clutter tomorrow. If you are ready to clear some space in the closet, carpe diem! There will always be reasons to put off a trip to your local donation center, but there is no better feeling than giving back while simplifying your life. Find the Goodwill donation center nearest you at goodwillng.org/locations.

•    Do your homework. Not all thrift stores are charities, and some for-profit companies solicit donations under the name of charities while giving them little or none of the proceeds. “We operate our own stores and donation centers, which directly fund Goodwill job training programs and employment services right here in North Georgia. If consumers can’t clearly see how their donations benefit the community, they might want to think twice donating to that organization,” says Summer Dunham, director of PR for Goodwill.

•    Do double check. The last thing you want to do is donate something you planned to keep. Pant pockets, desk drawers, suitcases and even books can serve as holding places for things we don’t immediately need. “Give each item a good check before adding it to the donations pile, and if you’re packing up items for someone else, be sure they’ve removed anything they intended to hang on to.” For families with little ones, make sure the items they aren’t quite ready to let go of don’t accidentally fall into the donation pile.

•    Don’t forget your receipt. Donations made to Goodwill are tax deductible. Just be sure to keep a record of what you donate and its value. “With our Donation Tracker, it’s easier than ever for you to keep track of donations you’ve made throughout the year. Don’t worry about hanging on to paper donation receipts. Once you’ve registered a donation in our system, you can access an electronic receipt at any time and print an annual summary.”

Happy donating, and thanks for your support!

Don’t Stress, Clear the Mess

As the flowers are blooming and the temperatures are rising, the amount of clutter on your desk may have also been on the rise throughout the winter months. Spring time is here and with it comes a time to organize the clutter in your life. Whether your home, car, or work space typically remains organized or if organization is unfamiliar territory for
you, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be stressful and can actually improve your health and overall well being.Spring Cleaning

Spring is a time when people go into somewhat of a cleaning “frenzy” after being stuck inside the house all winter with shorter days and evenless motivation. Consider the following health benefits when deciding whether or not to participate in spring cleaning this year.

  1. Boost your productivity. Is your area covered with papers, old coffee mugs, stacks of used sticky notes and dried out pens? If so, tidying up these spaces will help you organize your thoughts and allow you to work more efficiently.
  1. Improve your eating habits. According to the Association for Psychological Science, working at a clean and prim desk may promote healthy eating and generosity. Grab a basket or storage bin at your local Goodwill and start living a healthier life while cutting the clutter.
  1. Save money. Living a more organized and cleaner life has effects on many parts of your well being. If you find yourself late on paying bills because you can’t find them, replacing items you still have because they’re missing, or eating out more often because the kitchen is too cluttered for regular cooking, participating in spring cleaning may actually save money in all areas of your life. 
  1. Reduce stress and live a happier life. Let’s face it, clutter can be stressful. Having peace of mind in knowing where your belongings are will reduce unwanted stress in your life. Even the act of cleaning can provide feelings of satisfaction. Put on some of your favorite tunes and enjoy the journey to a more organized and happier life. 
  1. Letting go is more liberating than you know. Get rid of the old, make room for the new and celebrate spring cleaning this year instead of dreading it. Not only is cleaning the clutter of your life a time to wipe the dust off your belongings and store them in their correct places, but it’s also a time to get rid of the things you’ve held on to for too long. Donate these items to make a difference in someone else’s life, as well as clearing the clutter from your own. It’s a win-win situation.

Year End Donations Featured on The Good Works Show

Empowering Others QuoteWith the end of the year right around the corner, it is Goodwill’s busiest time for donated goods. Individuals are cleaning out their homes to make room for holiday gifts, getting ready for next year, and getting in those last minute donations for their 2016 tax write-off. These donations are critical to the mission of Goodwill of North Georgia, as the revenue made in the stores goes back into job training and placement programs, putting individuals to work.

To talk about the year-end giving process, Regional Director of Retail Operations Vernon Warren joins the show to fill in listeners on what to donate, and what to expect at the stores during this busy time. Next, retiring VP of Human Resources John Mayfield calls in to talk about his tenure with Goodwill, and what the work meant to him. He also shares some insight on what it means to lead a department for 21 years. Listen to the episode in full at https://soundcloud.com/thegoodworksshow/vernon-warren-john-mayfield-121716.

A Holiday Thank You Brought to You in Partnership with Lanier Islands

Thank You

Goodwill of North Georgia and Lanier Islands are partnering from December 5 – 18 to give a little back to the community this holiday season. For those two weeks, when your donate gently-used household goods at any Goodwill of North Georgia donation center you will receive a coupon for $5 off admission to LanierWorld’s Winter Adventure and Magical Lights as a thank you for your generous contribution.

Did you know your Goodwill donations support local jobs? Goodwill’s mission is to put people to work, and revenue generated by donated goods sold in their retail stores supports job training and placement services for tens of thousands of North Georgians each year. With 13 local career centers and hands-on training programs for people with barriers to employment, Goodwill will place 23,000 people into jobs this year thanks to support from the community. Learn more about the people Goodwill’s mission serves at http://goodwillng.org/Success.

There are many great causes to give to this holiday season. Our collaboration with Lanier Islands is a small token of thanks to those who choose to support the power of work for local job seekers and their families this year. For more information on the attractions available at LanierWorld’s Winter Adventure and Magical Lights, visit http://www.lanierislands.com/lanierworld.

5 Tips for a Seamless Year-End Giving Process

Year-end giving is almost here, which means it’s time to prepare your donations! Last year, we served more than 100,000 donors between December 26th and December 31st. As this busy time of the year approaches, keep these tips in mind when you donate

Don’t wait to donate – Due to an increase in donations during the end of the year, the earlier you make your donation, the better. Not only will you be able to get your charitable contribution in before the 2016 tax year cutoff, which is December 31, there’s a good chance you’ll avoid waiting in lines.

Goodwill shoot on location 8/15/13

Do your research – Before donating, know how your donations benefit the community. Not all thrift stores are charities, and some for-profit companies solicit donations under the name of charities while giving them little or none of the proceeds. At Goodwill of North Georgia, we proudly operate our own stores and donation centers, which directly fund job training programs and employment services right here in North Georgia. See how your donations make a difference in our community, here.

2

Clear your clutter – One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to organize and declutter. Why not start completing that New Year’s resolution early by cleaning out the clutter? If you’ve ever wondered what to do with outgrown clothing, books you’ve read thousands of times, old CDs and DVDs, excess kitchen appliances, various household items and even computers, consider donating them to Goodwill. Not only will donating these items clear out your cluttered space, they will also impact your local community.

Goodwill shoot 7.26.16.

Double check – Before donating the items that once cluttered your space, double check for items you plan to keep! Pant pockets, drawers and even books can serve as holding places for things we don’t immediately need. It is the season of giving, but make sure you don’t donate something by mistake.

Remember your receipt – To receive a tax deduction, be sure to keep a record of what you donate and its value. It’s easier than you may think. Check out our donation tracker to keep track of donations you’ve made throughout the year. Once you’ve registered a donation in the system, you can access an electronic receipt at any time.

Goodwill shoot 7.26.16.

To find a donation center near you, visit goodwillng.org/locations. As always, thank you for donating in support of our mission to put people to work.

 

 

Make Goodwill a Holiday Resource This Season

With the sounds of holiday music playing all around and malls full of shoppers searching for something special, it’s evident the holidays have arrived. This time of year is often a joyous time, but can also take a toll on your wallet. The National Retail Federation estimates the average American spends over $900 on holiday gifts and goodies. Get the most out of this holiday season by making Goodwill of North Georgia your holiday resource.

Holiday style on a budget. Whether you are decorating your house to get in the holiday spirit or hunting for the perfect tacky Christmas sweater, Goodwill has you covered. Check out Goodwill of North Georgia’s Holidays & Occasions Pinterest board to spark your creativity for everything from decorations to DIY gift ideas!

Christmas decor

Found at one of our Goodwill of North Georgia stores, these holiday snowmen could fill any room with Christmas cheer.

Clean out clutter and donate as a family. The holiday season is a season of giving and companionship. Not only will cleaning out your house save room for any new holiday gifts, but it also supports your local community. What better way to make a difference than to donate with your loved ones in support of our mission to put people to work? Check out our Cutting the Clutter Pinterest board for tips on how to clear the clutter before the holiday season. Don’t dump the old stuff, donate it at a Goodwill near you!

Donate as a family

Donating as a family can be a fun way to give back to the community, together.

One stop shop. Goodwill’s wide selection of books, housewares, clothes, furniture, toys and more can suit the needs of even the pickiest recipient. Check out this blog by Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin for unique gift ideas using Goodwill finds. Not only can Goodwill serve as your one stop place to shop, but the money you spend also helps fund job training and career development programs for community members in need. You’re giving to more than just the ones on your list.

holiday candle gift

Candles make the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Try making your own this year to add a unique touch. Image via Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.

Join the #GivingTuesday Movement

2016_EOY_Facebook-Wall_Giving-Tuesday

When the Thanksgiving turkey is eaten and the stuffing reduced to crumbs, conversations may turn to whether to go to the malls on Black Friday or opt to make holiday purchases online on Cyber Monday. 

The holidays spotlight the distinct contrasts within our communities. On one hand, there’s a great deal of consumerism and overindulgence that goes along with the activities and traditions, helping to distract us during an otherwise cold and dark season. The season starts with a day to feast and give thanks and two days to find bargains. On the other hand, there are many among us experiencing poverty.

Unlike any other time of the year, the stark contrast motivates many to give back. On November 29,  #GivingTuesday, charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity.

There are many ways that people choose to give, such as making a financial contribution or volunteering their time at a local community-based organization. There are other ways to donate, too, like offering our time and skills to a food pantry or donating items to our local Goodwill®. For the latter of those options, gently-used household goods will generate revenue to support employment and job training programs for people in the community. 

No matter how you choose to give this holiday season, #GivingTuesday is simple. Just find the right way for your family, community, company or organization to come together to give something more, then share how you are giving and inspire others to also give.

– This entry was adapted from an entry by Seth Turner, Sr. Director of Public Policy for Goodwill Industries International