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.

Love and Dignity, Beyond the Walls in Atlanta

For the homeless population of Atlanta and cities around the world, a place to sleep at night and finding stable housing have the highest priority. Beyond the hardships of not having a place to live, though, there are other, sometimes overlooked aspects that can go straight to the heart of effecting a person’s self-worth and pride. Seemingly simple, every day activities for some, like a man being able to shave his beard, or being able to receive a paycheck, aren’t easy to come by when living on the streets. For those necessities and more, there is Love Beyond Walls.

The organization unofficially started when Founder and Executive Director Terence Lester and his wife hit the streets of Atlanta, giving away clothes and items from their own home. From there, the Lesters started mobilizing their friends and family to help lead service projects in under resourced areas, eventually creating the nonprofit. Engaging the community through social advocacy, Love Beyond Walls advocates for those who are homeless and experiencing systemic poverty.

Lester applies his own “shoe-wearing” philosophy to the work of Love Beyond Walls, frequently walking in the shoes of those he serves. He has lived on the streets as a homeless person, under bridges and in tents, with no access to a change of clothes, to fully experience all that a homeless person endures on a daily basis.

“It’s about– how do I immerse myself into this sacrificial lifestyle in order to build a bridge between those who have and have not?” Lester said.

A 30-passenger bus that was donated to the organization for one dollar, also known as the Mobile Makeover Bus, is One of Love Beyond Walls most successful programs. The inspiration for the bus came from Leonard, a homeless man who had lost his wife and his hope, and hadn’t been able to properly groom or take care of himself for quite a while. Of all the things he could wish for, he said he wanted to be made over.

The bus is a conduit to self-care and other essential services. It holds a barbershop, a hygiene station and a clothing closet. It also offers further resources to help with steps toward self-sustainability. Since opening the bus, they have helped “makeover” more than 1,300 individuals, while also bringing dignity to those who don’t have access points on a regular basis.

Love Beyond Walls

“We are in the trenches every day. Service isn’t an event; it’s a lifestyle,” Lester said. “I’m constantly inspired and in awe. Every time I sit down with somebody who is experiencing homelessness, I am inspired by the stories they tell.”

The organization currently has two tiny homes that they are using for temporary housing for individuals without a place to live, many of whom are just caught in a string of bad luck. Through their Dignity Art Program, using pallet wood, homeless individuals in the program are taught how to take the pieces and turn them into art. They put their life stories and favorite words on the pieces, and then sell them at art shows. In the process, they learn a trade and earn a paycheck for their work.

To listen to the full episode of The Good Works Show click here. To find out more about Love Beyond Walls, visit www.lovebeyondwalls.org, or on social media @lovebeyondwalls.

A Seamless Partnership

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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.

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.

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!

Meet Deborah

Deborah Howell’s dedication to working hard began when she landed her first job at only 15 years of age. She was interested in technology, which led to a career in the electronics industry. “I like working in electronics because I like to see a product out in the world and think, ‘I worked on that. I did that,’” she says. However, due to rapid changes in technology, Howell’s position with that company was eliminated and after more than 20 years of employment and she found herself looking for work.

Though her career was changing, her passion for technology remained constant. Howell knew she needed appropriate credentials if she wanted to continue advancing her career. With no college degree, Howell looked to Goodwill to assist in her career development. In 2014 she was one of the participants in the first soldering program ever offered at Goodwill of North Georgia.

While enrolled in the program Howell received hands-on soldering training. She also learned how to build a résumé and how to prepare for an interview. “The training and certification from Goodwill helped me get the job I have today and has allowed me to stand out,” she says.

Deborah Howell is all smiles as she works on assembling an electronic piece at L3 Technologies.

For two years now, Howell has worked as an Electronic Assembler for L3 Technologies. Not only is she an assembler, but she is also an advocate for Goodwill’s mission. “When I started at L3 Technologies, they wanted to know where I got my training,” she says. “I told them Goodwill and since then five additional Goodwill program graduates have started their careers here.”

Howell is a true testament to the Goodwill mission. “Whenever I hear that people are cleaning out their closet, I tell them to go to Goodwill,” she says. “I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for Goodwill.”

Gear Up for National Tacky Sweater Day

National Tacky Sweater Day is this Friday, December 16th and there’s a good chance we have what you need to pull off your tackiest look yet without having to spend a fortune. Whether you’re a tacky sweater connoisseur or embarking on your first tacky sweater search, these eye catching, elaborate, or even subtle sweaters, should not take a hefty toll on your wallet. The tacky sweater craze has become a new popular holiday festivity. Some retailers have even sold these tacky commodities for more than $60. Not so at your local Goodwill! Find sweaters of all fits, styles, and tackiness for less than $10 in our stores.

Fuzzy patterned sweaters, sparkles, or even ruffles make for great starting points in creating your own custom, tacky outfit. To start your tacky sweater hunt, find a location near you at www.goodwillng.org/locations.

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Stay warm and festive with this patterned zip-up sweater.
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Not looking to go all-out for Tacky Sweater Day? This sparkly sweater could add the perfect touch to any holiday outfit and could even double as a New Year’s Eve accessory.
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Ruffles add the perfect flare to your tacky outfit.

In Case You Missed it…Literacy Action and First Step Staffing on The Good Works Show

Last week on The Good Works Show, two local nonprofits shared how they are making lasting impacts on the community. In the first segment, Literacy Action’s Executive Director Austin Dickson said, “Our mission is to teach literacy life and work skills to undereducated adults and help them reach their highest potential wherever we find those adults in the community.” As an adult literacy nonprofit, Literacy Action helps adults learn to read, learn math skills, and even receive their GED.

Dave Shaffer from First Step Staffing joined the show in the second segment to explain the idea that there is more to finding a job, than just finding a job. The nonprofit helps those with barriers to employment find steady work. While most staffing agencies are for-profit, First Step uses their “profits” to provide additional wrap-around services for their clients. In addition to finding employment opportunities, they help with job coaching, mentoring, and transportation to interviews and work. “First Step Staffing seeks to end poverty and homelessness by providing sustainable income and income streams,” he said.

To learn more about the work these nonprofits are doing in the community, listen to the full show here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.