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Retail Team Member Spotlight

Tracy has worked at the Kiwanis store for 18 years. She loves working at Goodwill and appreciates that she was given the opportunity to be a part of an amazing mission.

“Goodwill has allowed me to meet new people both customers and team members. The people I work with have become family.”

Tracy, Retail Associate, Kiwanis Sioux Falls

Three Reasons Why Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace Is Essential

By Randy Wooden, Director, Professional Center by Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace brings value to the company and you as an individual.

Many of us first think of gender and race when considering diversity; it extends well beyond that to include national origin, age, culture, faith, disabilities, introvert/extrovert and a whole host of other areas.

Today, let’s look at a few ways diversity and inclusion add value.

#1.  A diverse and inclusive work culture can lead to more creativity and innovation. Diversity brings varied experiences – perhaps new and better ways of delivering different products and services, and inclusive teams out-perform their peers in innovation. The status quo might be comfortable, but companies which cannot or won’t adapt to change are destined to fade away.

Today’s economy is far better than that of several years ago. Qualified applicants are fewer and farther between, and diverse hiring gives a company a wider candidate pool.

It builds team morale when employees see their organization inclusively embracing diversity; they feel more comfortable sharing their opinions and experiences.

#2.  A diverse workforce helps a company engage with customers differently. If a company wants to reach a new market, it helps to have team members who know and understand target customers and can customize products or services.

Businesses know consumers want more than a good product at a good price. Today, social awareness, giving back to the community, and reflecting the customer base are reasons some consumers choose to do business with a company and how the business attracts good employees. A company’s commitment to diversity helps the bottom line, so owners and investors value it.

#3.  Diversity and inclusion benefits all of us. Many of us grew up with and have worked with those whose backgrounds and experiences are just like ours.

As we expand our experiences, we meet diverse people with a whole host of different life experiences. It opens our eyes to different ways of thinking and doing things.

Our communities are increasingly diverse. Diversity and inclusion at work move us from tolerance to acceptance to embracing our differences in an ever-changing world.

DIY Projects for the Perfect Summer Party

By Julia Marchand

It’s July, which means that it’s prime time for backyard parties. With longer hours of sunshine and soft breezes to offer relief from the heat (and from the bugs!), I find myself looking for an excuse to stay outside as long as possible. I’ve also recently found a few super fun DIY party projects that I am eager to try out. Who’s got a birthday coming up? I may need to throw you the perfect backyard summer fiesta.

Image via DesignImprovised.com

Before the big event, a little party prep is required. The menu will be set and the décor planned, but it’s the little extra touches – like presentation – that really set the tone. That’s why I love these embellished serving trays decorated by Haeley of Design Improvised (one of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio’s official bloggers!). With just a little paint, thrifted trays go from blah to BAM! and they don’t break the bank either.

Image via Blog.GoodwillSC.org

For a little celebration style, these easy party hats are a must. The template is available via Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, and, of course, the faux flowers can be found in Goodwill stores! Even if your friends are just popping by after work, topping them with a cap like this will instantly transform them into party mode. You could even have guests make their own as an activity to keep hands busy while the conversation flows.

Image via StyleMePretty.com

What’s a party without gifts? You know how it works for a birthday or shower, but even a just-for-fun party can be amped up with favors. I am constantly seeing embroidery hoops at my local Goodwill stores, so when I spotted these DIY tambourines made from the hoops on Style Me Pretty I just loved the idea of trying it out for myself. I actually already have a whole bunch of lace that I found once while thrifting so it would be almost effortless for me to whip up some of these cuties to hand out to guests.

If all of this sounds great, but you’re looking for a reason to celebrate, how about this: Every 27 seconds of every business day, a person served by Goodwill earns a good job. Every 3 seconds, another person accesses Goodwill opportunities to build careers and strong families. So many people around the world are struggling to support their families so Goodwill’s successes are truly something to applaud. And you’re helping, too, just by shopping at their retail stores. Keep up the great work and make sure you enjoy the summer before it’s over!

Shelby’s Place to Belong

At first, Shelby was shy and hesitant to talk to people when she started Goodwill. Jennifer, Store Manager commented, “Our goal for Shelby was for her to overcome her shyness and we worked with her on a day-to-day basis by doing role play. We worked on her being more comfortable in the store and talking to team members and customers.”

Shelby credits the entire store at Worthington for helping her come out of her shell and be open to asking questions and talking to people. She feels more comfortable now being herself.

Shelby has been with Goodwill for 5 years and has continued to grow and challenge herself. She started out as General Retail Associate, progressed to Team Lead, and is now a Store Operations Leader.

Meeting new people and the variety of the day is what Shelby likes most about working at Goodwill. She likes meeting and talking to the customers that come in and how every day is different. Shelby appreciates at Goodwill there is a learning experience with every situation. Shelby has come a long way since she started and is thankful that Goodwill has helped her grow. Her goals are to become more confident in making decisions and creating a daily routine for each day.

Festive Designs for Your Independence Day Celebration

By Julia Marchand

With Independence Day right around the corner, you may be looking for new and exciting ways to celebrate. Of course, a parade and fireworks are basically mandatory, but don’t forget to dress up yourself and your home! These are two of my favorite ways to enjoy holidays since they really set the tone for whatever merriment is approaching.

Image via GoodwillEasterSeals.org

The first thing I like to do to prepare for an upcoming event is to pull together at least one themed display at home. Just setting something up on a tabletop or bookshelf doesn’t take long, but can make a great statement. You don’t even need to have guests over to appreciate it! I find that changing up my surroundings even just a little at a time keeps my home feeling fresh and inspiring. This quick and patriotic display made by Sarah for Goodwill Easter Seals (Saint Paul) is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s bright, bold, and brilliantly priced since she found everything at Goodwill!

Image via GoodwillFabulous.com

Be a firework this fourth by decking yourself out head-to-toe in red, white, and blue like Molly and Penny, the sisters behind the blog Goodwill Fabulous. Can you believe that the dress Molly scored for $4.99 from her local Goodwill originally retailed for $138? That’s about 96% off! I’d say the hunt is well worth it for a price like that. What do you think?

Image via ItAllStartedWithPaint.com

Another aspect of Independence Day that I truly adore is how social the holiday is. This is not one of those intimate family days like Easter nor is it a one-on-one type evening like Valentine’s Day. It’s an all-you-can-eat, everyone’s invited, break out the sparklers kind of jubilation! As such, it might be a good idea for you to have some snacks and activities on hand. Here are some fantastic ideas for themed décor and pastimes from Marion Goodwill Industries (OH) including the super simple silverware stash above!

But perhaps the most patriotic thing about celebrating the Fourth of July by shopping at your Goodwill is that every dollar you spend is going back into your own community. Eighty-three percent of collective revenues raised through the sale of donated goods support and grow Goodwill’s critical community-based programs and services. Thrifting at Goodwill is such an easy and effective way to help keep your unique community strong to ensure that we can continue to applaud it every July 4th for a very long time