Celebrate The Americans With Disabilities Act

By Laura Walling, GII senior director of government affairs, advocacy & legislative affairs

This week marks the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education and public accommodations.

Goodwill® has been dedicated to supporting employment opportunities for people with disabilities, among others, since its founding in 1902. Our collective aspirations for people with significant disabilities include: opportunities for choice, to earn wages, to reach potential, to experience improved quality of life, and to achieve social acceptance and integration. Services are customized for the individual, including his or her support system. Services also leverage community resources and are delivered while recognizing that the individual is both the leader of his or her service plan and a customer of Goodwill.

In 2018, more than 310,000 people who self-identified as having disabilities engaged in career services from local Goodwill organizations. Goodwill’s commitment to supporting the aspirations of people with disabilities are grounded in choice and the ability to earn wages. Goodwill aspires for all individuals, including people with disabilities, to reach their full potential and enhance their quality of life. Robert Frank, Goodwill Industries International’s Achiever of the Year is one of those individuals. Robert suffered physical abuse as a child, including blows to the head that left him with a cognitive disability. With support from Goodwill, he learned to read and write. At age 65, he read a book for the first time, giving him new confidence and a more positive outlook on life.

Goodwill believes everyone should have the opportunity to live independently, earn wages and achieve their dreams. Despite the great advances that have been made since the passage of the ADA, particularly in public policy and technology, more can be done to eliminate barriers faced by people with disabilities, especially those with significant disabilities. While disability employment rates are improving as an increasing number of people with disabilities are on the job, struggles still exist when compared to the workforce as a whole. Nearly 80% of people with disabilities are not a part of the labor force. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is nearly double than those without a disability.

As disability advocates and service providers take this time to reflect on the past and celebrate this milestone in our country’s history, let us not forget the future. How can we continue to challenge ourselves to be innovative, more inclusive, and change policies that can help improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families for the next 29 years and beyond?

Meet the Staff of Integrated Day Services

Vickie, Program Manager

Vickie heard about Goodwill by browsing through the employment section in the local newspaper. Goodwill was hiring for a Respite Provider and Vickie was needing a position with more solid hours. Vickie interviewed and accepted the job offer.

Vickie has a variety of different responsibilities that include: overseeing the Integrated Day Services program, helping with participants goals, taking attendance for billing and resolving staff issues. The participants make the job fulfilling for Vickie. “I like seeing their smiles. You make their day by stopping and talking to them. I like helping turn their bad day into a good day,” Vickie grinned.

  • Who is your hero?
    • My mom. From the time I was in high school she had medical issues, but she always pushed on and persevered.
  • What is your dream vacation?
    • Germany. I spent 3 years when my husband was in the military. I loved it. I would love to go back to Germany during Christmas time.
  • What are a couple of interesting facts about you?
    • I have 12 grandchildren.
    • I love race car driving and NASCAR.

Integrated Day Services Spotlight

Integrated Day Services builds independence and improve quality of life for individuals. They participate in many community activities and are focused on enhancing the lives of special needs adults and their families. Trained, caring staff use the resources available to help the participants with their goals in a safe, fun environment where they are treated like family. 

The activities that Integrated Day Services have recently participated in include: volunteering for the 2019 Litter Dash, Support Siouxland Soldiers, visiting the Orange City Tulip Festival, and sightseeing at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center.

Interested in helping support Integrated Day Services?  

Integrated Day Services is always looking for free or low-cost activities to participate in the community. If you have suggestions for activities or would like to make a monetary (tax deductible) donation for Integrated Day Services to participate in more activities, contact Vickie at 712-293-1488.

If you would like to donate supplies, Integrated Day Services needs: books, adult coloring books, canvases, paint, colored pencils, DIY craft boxes, and board games.

The Smiling Face of Goodwill

As soon as you walk through the doors of the Goodwill Support Center you will see Keegan with a big smile on his face greeting you with a warm, pleasant, “Hello, how are you?” Keegan has been with Goodwill for 3 years and has made a lasting impact on everyone he meets. He loves his job at Goodwill as a phone operator and being the first one to meet and greet people each morning. Keegan likes being around people here at Goodwill and enjoys working with everyone. Keegan has an upbeat, outgoing personality that we are happy to have at Goodwill. Let’s learn more about Keegan!

  • What is your favorite movie?
    • The Fast and Furious Franchise
  • What is your favorite type of music?
    • Classic Rock
  • What is your favorite band/artist?
    • AC/DC
  • What is your favorite book?
    • The Series of Unfortunate of Events and Harry Potter
  • What is your favorite TV Show?
    • NCIS
  • Who is your favorite college sports team?
    • Iowa State Cyclones

Meet the Program Managers-Maggie

 

Hello! My name is Maggie. I manage our Pre-Vocational Program for adults with Mental Illness and Brain Injury.  Individuals who have a desire to work but struggle with mental illness or a brain injury come to me and I work with them for 2 years to prepare them to transition into community employment.  I work with them on many different skills that are needed for anyone to be able to maintain employment at any location.  I truly enjoy watching people come to me with struggles and barriers and grow over the two years I work with them.  It is so rewarding to see how people can succeed when they never thought they could.

What do you wish you knew more about?

  • I wish I could expand my knowledge on Mental Illness and Abnormal Psychology. I have learned so much working in the job I do, but my desire to continue learning is strong.

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

  • My ideal way to spend a weekend would be to take a trip and see a new place I have never been. I love meeting new people, exploring new places, and experiencing new cultures.

What is something you think everyone should do once in their lives?

  • I believe everyone should take at least one trip outside of the country to a place they have never been.  It is truly amazing to experience other cultures and to be able to live the way they do for a small period of time.  My travels have opened my eyes to so much and I believe everyone should experience that feeling at least once during their lifetime.