Meet the Staff of Integrated Day Services

Mandy, Direct Support Staff

“I’ve worked with disabled adults for 25 years. I worked at Mid-Step Services for 20 years and I moved to Sioux Falls where I worked at LifeScape for a few years,” Mandy said. Mandy had connections to the individuals who were in group homes and knew about Goodwill. She heard about a job opening, applied and was hired to work in Integrated Day Services.

Mandy enjoys seeing participants go outside of their boundaries and see what they are capable of. One of the activities that Integrated Day Services participates in that Mandy was able to organize was volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. “At first it was awkward for them, but they were able to meet the families that are impacted by the Ronald McDonald house and it was awesome that they were able to make that connection,” explained Mandy. Mandy believes that Integrated Day Services is an excellent place for individuals to socialize and participate in activities in the community.

What is the last movie that you watched in theatres?

  • The Fast and Furious

What is your favorite family vacation?

  • Every year my husband and I go to Algona, Iowa for a bike rally.

What are your hobbies?

  • I like to spend time with my grandkids and ride on my husband’s motorcycle.

Meet the Staff of Integrated Day Services

Billy, Direct Support Staff

“Working with people has always been something I have dreamed of,” Billy stated. Billy first started helping people by building houses in Guatemala. He wanted to continue to make a difference in the lives of others and give back. Billy heard about a Camp Counselor position open at Camp Goodwill when he was making a delivery run. He applied, and was offered the job at Camp Goodwill for the summer.

After summer, he was offered a job in the mission services department and has been a job coach and skills trainer during his time at Goodwill. Billy loves working in Integrated Day Services because “You learn so much through every individual. Every individual is different and it’s nice to see how their day goes and how environmental factors change and what we can do for them to make their day better”, Billy said. He believes that disabilities don’t define who they are as an individual and that the community can openly accept them into jobs, programs, and volunteer work because they are capable of doing the work.

What do you wish you knew more about?

  • The billing and insurance aspect of Integrated Day Services. I have been involved in the activities and working hands-on with the individuals and I would like to learn more about the billing aspect.

What is the most interesting place you have been?

  • The west coast. California, New Mexico, and Nevada are all states I like to visit. I like to see the small-town culture in these states. I like to visit new areas and explore the culture and meet new people.

What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

  • 4-wheeling, camping, taking pictures, and looking at the stars. I like the calm and quiet and being able to unwind and relax.

Meet the Staff of Integrated Day Services

Steve, Direct Support Staff

Steve has been helping people for over 24 years. Steve started his career by helping individuals in group homes with daily living tasks that include laundry, keeping rooms clean, and meal preparation. Steve needed more stable work because transportation was difficult to find at night.

Steve started making cold calls and contacted Goodwill and talked to a Goodwill staff member about a job opening in Integrated Day Services. Steve has been involved with Integrated Day Services for 20 years. He enjoys talking to the participants and helping them with the goals they are working on. “I love the individuals in Integrated Day Services and I have made a lot of good friends over the years”, Steve concluded.

  • What was the last movie you watched in theatres?
    • Dog’s Journey
  • What is your favorite family vacation?
    • Lake Okoboji.
  • What is your proudest achievement?
    • This would be getting a job 20 years ago. It took me a year and a half to find a job. Goodwill was willing to realize that I could do the job. I had the education and that even though I am in a wheelchair I am still capable of doing the job.

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.