News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 25, 2013

READERS' FORUM: July 25, 2013

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Goodwill is more than just bargains

I’d like to follow up Bill Tennis’ letter dated July 18.

Tennis is the executive director of the Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries. Sometimes I hear folks say the prices are too high at Goodwill. I suggest that shoppers realize there is much more to Goodwill than providing bargains for shoppers. Every dollar/penny spent there is a donation to a service that is essential to a very large number of persons in the Wabash Valley.

Why do I say that? First-hand experience. In another city where I was living, I had the pleasure of presenting an Employability Skills class to Goodwill employees-in-training. The folks in the class were a wide range of ages and abilities and eager to learn how to be successful in finding a job after they completed their internship at Goodwill.

With a few variations, the class was similar to what I was teaching at the junior college. At our first class, all employee interns were videotaped while they walked to a microphone and shared why this class was important to them and what they hoped to gain. Many of them had never had the opportunity to speak in public or to voice their goals — not to mention being videotaped. It was evident they were enjoying and appreciating that someone cared enough to ask their name and share why they were working at Goodwill and their career goals.

Speaking was a challenge for some, but they were enthusiastic. At the end of the course, they had a second chance to be videotaped. This time when they walked to the microphone it was with self-confidence for a successful future. The training  included personal grooming. One young lady was blind but she was determined to learn to apply her own lipstick so she would look “professional.” It was a challenge for both of us, but she succeeded.

The employees-in-training overcame many challenges, challenges most of us have escaped. Until we understand how Goodwill works, it is difficult to appreciate its importance to our community and to the people who work there. Goodwill provides internships for men and women with special abilities so they can move into the workforce and pay their own way. Goodwill sales items are priced at a fraction of what new items cost … even the brand new items are priced reasonably.

I would like for people to know they aren’t just getting a bargain when they shop Goodwill, but they are helping countless numbers to have a chance to be independent and self-sustaining. I love the bargains I get at Goodwill and encourage everyone to shop there with an open heart. Without customers, there would be no opportunity for this job-training facility. I wish everyone could see how much work is involved in cleaning, sorting, mending, polishing and preparing items for sale.

The wide range of items in the local Goodwill stores is amazing. Who shops at Goodwill? Folks from all income levels, people with a heart, senior citizens, the unemployed, college students, bargain hunters and especially smart shoppers.

Perhaps as you check out after shopping, you will choose to say “keep the change.” Like other nonprofit agencies, making ends meet is always a challenge, so donations are welcome — www.donate.goodwill.org.

 — Pat Creasey

Terre Haute

Theft frustration

I heard about some robberies in different places. It’s really a shame that people steal money for nothing.

Why don’t they get a job instead of stealing? What goes around comes around.

— Martha Silverman

Terre Haute