By: Terri Parris, PR and Media Relations Manager, Goodwill Houston
About Goodwill Houston: Goodwill Houston is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families and communities by providing education, training and employment opportunities to all. Specializing in assisting people with disabilities and other significant barriers to employment, Goodwill served more than 11,700 people in 2017. We really are changing lives through the power of work.
Tell us about your most memorable day (so far) in your work at Goodwill Houston.
At Goodwill Houston, there are so many amazing stories and extraordinary people. Every day can be a “most memorable” day. Recently, one day really made an impression. While interviewing a colleague who had lost everything to the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey, I discovered she had previously lost her home and all her belongings twice before. She had come to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and rebuilt her life only to lose it all again especially shortly after her husband’s passing. Her resilience in the face of all this loss is amazing. You would never know how much this woman has lost without asking. She smiles all day, every day, and joyfully works to help those around her — program participants, colleagues and more. She radiates joy and finds a way to help. I will never forget how extraordinary she really is, or how she is just one of the hundreds of extraordinary people that are part of our Goodwill Houston family.
How has the community or your peers benefitted from work funded by the Moody Foundation?
Thanks to the Moody Foundation’s generosity, Goodwill has been serving Galveston for decades. Our Goodwill store has made it convenient for Islanders to support our mission by donating and shopping. More recently, funding from the Moody Foundation has allowed us to re-open our Veterans Job Connection Center on the island with the specific goal of helping veterans get the education, training or any other assistance they might need to find employment and to fully re-integrate into civilian life. This funding is so helpful to the community as we are the only resource of this kind on the island. We know our work, supported by the Moody Foundation, is helping to reduce unemployment and homelessness for veterans on the island.
How do you hope this program will grow in the next several years?
Currently, we are only serving veterans who live on Galveston Island. In our first round of expansion, we would like to extend our services to veterans throughout Galveston County. After that, we would like to expand our services to include all the residents of Galveston Island needing job training or employment services. The nearest Workforce Solutions office is over on the mainland, and there are limited resources available on the island. Goodwill Houston would like to help meet the employment needs of individuals and families there through vocational education, job preparedness, employment services and career advising.
How many people do you hope to serve with this project?
Ultimately, we would like to serve as many people who need our services. In the short term, our goal is to engage with at least 200 veterans by the end of 2018 and place at least 120 of them in good jobs.