OC Goodwill Program Supports Mirtha’s Career Goals

Mirtha is a recent graduate from Goodwill of Orange County’s General Office Clerk program
Mirtha is a recent graduate from Goodwill of Orange County’s General Office Clerk program. In this course, she was able to create an impactful cover letter and resume and develop professional communication and technical skills. She looks forward to applying her new job skills to achieve her career goals. GoodLearning Academy classes can help you move forward and reach your employment goals—whether you’re new to the workforce or need to refresh your job skills. Goodwill of Orange County employees, program participants and community members, including veterans and their families, are welcome. Name: Mirtha Hobbies: Reading and collecting pictures of my granddaughter What brought you to the General Office Clerk class? The certification and other job opportunities What are the essential skills that you learned in the class? Fun things I can do with the computer and typing What advice would you give someone who is looking to grow their career? Take this class and keep on practicing typing What is one of your favorite things about the class? The ease it is to follow the teacher What are your plans for the future? To get a job where I can use what I learned For additional information, please visit: https://www.ocgoodwill.org/training/

The Importance of Your Donations

Two ladies hugging at Goodwill of Orange County
Two ladies hugging at Goodwill of Orange County Purpose. Pride. Dignity. These three words are the foundation that Goodwill of Orange County’s mission was built on more than 95 years ago. Making a donation to Goodwill helps fuel our mission and change lives in our community. When an individual with a physical disability is given his or her chance to thrive in the workplace. When a mother earns a paycheck to provide for her family. When veterans seamlessly transition from the military into meaningful employment. For every piece of clothing, furniture, or home goods collected and purchased, 94 cents of every dollar generated goes directly to dozens of programs and services for people facing barriers to employment, such as veterans and individuals with disabilities. Last year, Goodwill of Orange County served more than 27,000 people and more than $41 million was earned by individuals employed with Goodwill’s help. Ethan, posing as he chops vegetables, was selected to be a part of Goodwill of Orange County’s Project SEARCH program Purpose. We believe the power of work changes lives. Last year, Ethan was selected to be part of Goodwill of Orange County’s Project SEARCH program, a one-year training and education program in partnership with UCI Medical Center for adults with autism that immerses them in the workplace. Beyond the meaningful career-building skills Ethan learned, Project SEARCH gave him even greater gifts: confidence and self-esteem. After graduation, Ethan was offered a part-time position at Bracken’s Kitchen in Irvine, an organization dedicated to providing quality food to individuals in Orange County facing poverty. As part of the Bracken’s Kitchen team, he’s thriving. For Ethan, the power of work truly changed his life. Tierney Center for Veteran Services Pride. Your donations help veterans transition from their military mission to their civilian mission. The Tierney Center for Veteran Services is a global approach to serving veterans and their families. The Tierney Center team, many of them veterans themselves, provide not only employment and career counseling resources to assist veterans in finding employment to move towards economic independence and self-sufficiency; they also provide education services, housing assistance, healthcare and benefits resources, legal services and women veteran services. A smiling lady with label tags in her hand at goodwill donation center Dignity. Your donations give individuals the opportunity to achieve their highest levels of personal independence. Goodwill’s Rogers A. Severson Fitness and Technology Center is Orange County’s only facility specially designed for people suffering from chronic illnesses and physical disabilities. Goodwill’s Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) provides assistive technology services and solutions, while supplying more than 1,000-state-of-the-art technology devices to individuals with disabilities of all ages, their families and employers. You can have peace of mind knowing your donations are being used with purpose. Goodwill of Orange County has consecutively earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for its sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency. Goodwill of OC also diverts more than 13 million pounds from landfills and its Recycling Center has earned the Responsible Recycling (R2) industry-standard certification for electronic scrap management. Donating your gently used goods is not the only way to spread the good this holiday season. A financial contribution is critical to fulfilling our mission. Making a financial investment in Goodwill’s mission is making an investment in Orange County. Used shirts at goodwill donation center Create goodwill by donating your gently used items to your local Goodwill store and donation center today. To find a location near you, please visit: www.ocgoodwill.org/stores-donation-center/ Give a financial gift this holiday season to support and expand critical programs and services here: https://give.ocgoodwill.org/pages/donate/ To see the impact your donations and financial contributions have on Goodwill of Orange County, please join us for our monthly “See The Good” facility tour. Email: communitydevelopment@ocgoodwill.orgfor more details. Thank you for making our mission, your mission.

Ethan’s Life Changed Through the Power of Work

A man poses in a commercial kitchen as he chops vegetables
Soft-spoken and shy. Those were the two words most often used to describe Ethan – that is, until he was given the opportunity to work. In January of 2018, Ethan was selected to be a part of Goodwill of Orange County’s Project SEARCH program, a one-year training and education program in partnership with UCI Medical Center for adults with autism that immerses them in the workplace. Ethan was placed into an internship program that gave him real-life job experience in several departments, including Acute Rehab, the cafeteria, and facilities and maintenance. Over the course of the program, Project SEARCH staff and department mentors encouraged Ethan, taught him a variety of new skills and prepared him for competitive employment. Beyond these meaningful career-building skills, Project SEARCH has given Ethan even greater gifts: confidence and self-esteem. Ethan is now able to express his opinions more effectively and communicate easily with peers and supervisors. Both Ethan and his family have expressed the positive impact the internship has made on Ethan – while social interactions used to give him significant anxiety, Ethan now welcomes the opportunity to engage with others. The internship program proved valuable for Ethan’s professional life as well. After graduation, he was offered a full-time position at Bracken’s Kitchen in Irvine, an organization dedicated to providing quality food to individuals in Orange County facing poverty. As part of the Bracken’s Kitchen team, he is thriving and continues to come out of his shell. For Ethan, the power of work truly changed his life.

Sharing Goodwill Episode Two: Jennifer Friend of Project Hope Alliance

Nicole Suydam with Jennifer Friend, CEO of Project Hope Alliance
President and CEO Nicole Suydam's photo “I believe very much that we need to not only meet the basic needs and educational needs of our kids, but we need to make sure that they have the ability to have inspired passions and things that they care about that are meaningful to them and poverty takes that ability away.”– Jennifer Friend, Sharing Goodwill Episode Two. Good news, inspiring news, uplifting news – that’s what Sharing Goodwill is all about. In each episode, Goodwill of Orange County President and CEO Nicole Suydam will chat with an individual who is doing good for their community, for their network or for their family. Nicole Suydam with Jennifer Friend, CEO of Project Hope Alliance Episode two of Sharing Goodwill is currently available on the platforms listed below! In this episode, Nicole Suydam chats candidly with Jennifer Friend, CEO of Project Hope Alliance, a local nonprofit that is ending the cycle of homelessness in Orange County, one child at a time. Jennifer shares her own background being in and out of homelessness as a young girl and what motivates and inspires her to help so many other children who experience exactly what she experienced. Thank you for tuning in to Sharing Goodwill! Listen now on Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/user/ocgoodwill/sharing-goodwill-ep-2 Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, CastBox, Deezer and Podcast Addict. We know there are numerous good stories out there, and many happening in your community. If there is a guest you’d like to hear on the podcast, we’d love to hear from you – send us your recommendations on Instagram at @ocgoodwill or on Goodwill of Orange County’s Facebook page. #OCGoodwill #SharingGoodwill  

Spooktacular Last-Minute Halloween Costumes at #OCGoodwill

Collage of haloween poste
In need of a last-minute Halloween costume? How about a masquerade mask or a witch’s broom? Goodwill of Orange County has plenty of tricks and treats, So be sure to stop in before loading up on sweets! #OCGoodwill has spooktacular themes and accessories for all your costume needs! And best of all? All Halloween merchandise is 50% off now through Sunday, November 3rd. Check out some of the Halloween looks we discovered at local Goodwill of Orange County stores! BEWITCHED Pair a simple black dress with a witch’s hat and striped tights for a spellbinding look! MYSTICAL MADNESS Peasant dresses, floral crowns and crystal balls will help make all your mystical dreams come true this Halloween! IF LOOKS COULD KILL Who said that old prom or bridesmaid dresses can’t have a second life? Pair it with a sparkly mask and boa for a drop-dead gorgeous look! ARRR, MATEY! Ruffle shirts, leather clothing and an eye patch will have you saying yo ho, yo ho – a pirate’s life for me! Additional themes available in Goodwill of Orange County stores include Day of the Dead, Funhouse, Steam Punk and Zombie! We hope you have a safe and fun night full of frights and sweet delights! Be sure to tag us in your #OCGoodwill costumes using the hashtag #ItCameFromGoodwill. Happy Halloween!  

Natalie’s Pursuit of Recovery Continues at the Goodwill Fitness Center

Natalie Buchoz at Goodwill fitness center
Natalie Buchoz at Goodwill fitness center During a fateful skiing accident at age 16, Natalie Buchoz’s life was forever changed as a spinal cord injury left her paralyzed from the neck down. “I learned quickly that my new life was going to be filled with incredibly difficult daily challenges,” said Natalie. “Many people take for granted the small tasks we do on a daily basis. Such tasks include eating, combing your hair, getting dressed and getting in and out of a vehicle independently, these are all things I struggled to learn again.” In December 2007, Natalie and her dad toured the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center in Santa Ana. Upon beginning to work out at the Goodwill Fitness Center, Natalie had one goal in mind – to walk the stage at her high school graduation and receive her diploma. For two years, Natalie dedicated her life to daily rehabilitation, always with her goal in the back of her mind. On her high school graduation day, Natalie successfully walked on stage as her family and friends – overwhelmed with joy – cheered her on. Natalie’s pursuit of recovery did not stop there. She continued to diligently work on her progress with countless hours of physical therapy, water therapy and locomotion training. All of these efforts were enhanced by a rigorous three-day-a-week strength training program with a personal trainer at the Goodwill Fitness Center. Natalie Buchoz poses on her graduation day from University of Southern California Over the next few years, Natalie continued to accomplish remarkable goals; proving her medical diagnosis wrong. Her independence grew as she learned to drive with hand controls, work her first job as a receptionist at the Goodwill Fitness Center and attend college at the University of Southern California. She moved to on-campus housing at USC, where she lived on her own for the first time. In 2015, Natalie graduated from USC with her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. Following graduation, Natalie found her calling working with Dr. Daniel Amen of Amen Clinics. Natalie juggles a variety of responsibilities at the Amen Clinic, including all public relations and social media efforts. She frequently travels with Dr. Amen to speaking engagements and is a vital member of their team. Natalie smiling as her boyfriend Grady plants a kiss on her cheeks When she is not working, Natalie enjoys taking her dog to the park, reading poetry and filming videos for her YouTube channel. Her channel is dedicated to educating and inspiring others living with spinal cord injuries. Natalie recently got engaged to her boyfriend of 6 years, Grady and is looking forward to their future together. Congratulations, Natalie! For more than a decade, the Goodwill of Orange County Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center has helped people, like Natalie, living with a physical disability or chronic illness achieve their highest degree of physical independence. With specialized equipment, inclusive fitness classes and knowledgeable personal trainers, the extraordinary 12,000-square-foot center provides everything individuals need to improve strength, cardiovascular conditioning, coordination and mobility. At Goodwill, we believe in the power of work. At the Goodwill Fitness & Technology Center, we are equally inspired by the power of working out. Goodwill of Orange County’s Rogers A. Severson Fitness & Technology Center is located at 1601 E. St. Andrew Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705. To learn more or set up a tour, call 714-361-6180 x242 or visit: https://www.ocgoodwill.org/fitness-center/

Five Questions With: #OCGoodwill’s President and CEO Nicole Suydam

President and CEO Nicole Suydam's photo
Name: Nicole Suydam Title: President and CEO Years working at Goodwill of OC: One year on October 15 What is your favorite part about working at Goodwill? Seeing the impact of our work directly as people with disabilities and other barriers are working throughout our Goodwill locations, always with a smile and so excited to be working. What do you like to do in your free time? I mostly spend my free time with my husband and two daughters. My daughters and I have a weekly Saturday tradition to have lunch and enjoy time together. What is your favorite Goodwill memory? So far in this first year back at Goodwill, my favorite memory was doing hands on work with our team members sorting donations, hanging clothes and pricing product for our stores. It was eye opening to see everything that goes into collecting donations from the community. What’s your hidden talent? I can remember a lot of details that people share with me in a conversation, so that really comes in handy in so many ways. To me, Goodwill means… a community where there is a job for everyone who wants to work, giving people a sense of purpose, pride and dignity. Check back here for more in our Five Questions With series soon!

Blake’s Life Changed Through the Power of Work

A man smiling at his office
A man smiling at his office There are many defining characteristics of Blake. He is smart, kind and determined. His cerebral palsy is just one of several features that make him the person he is. With a degree from Chapman University in Legal Studies and a drive to work, you would think it would be easy for Blake to find a job. However, he was struggling to find meaningful, long-term employment opportunities. But that all changed when he came to Goodwill of Orange County’s Employment First Program. Through the help of encouragement of a Goodwill job coach, Blake interviewed for a position at File Depot in Garden Grove. The interview went well and Blake was quickly offered the job! Blake’s initial job responsibilities included preparing documents to be scanned by removing any paper clips, staples and binder clips. After a short time, Blake was trained to take on some additional tasks, including scanning those documents and creating files on the computer for each File Depot customer It’s now been nearly two years of Blake working hard at File Depot. He has an exceptional record for attendance and arriving on time. He continues to exceed expectations. File Depot has also changed his personal life tremendously. Blake had lived in a group home for most of his life, with dreams of one day having his own place. Without a stable job and steady paycheck, Blake never qualifies. Since Blake has now been able to prove that he has employment and a consistent salary, he was approved to get his own apartment. He received the keys earlier this year, moved in and is now enjoying a greater level of independence!

Fall into Fashion this Season with #OCGoodwill!

Leopard printed half shoes and ladie's top
Snap out of summer mode because it’s time for fall – and even more exciting fall fashion! Check out the fall fashion trends we have our eyes on with pieces discovered at some of our local Goodwill of Orange County stores! Leopard printed half shoes and ladie's top GETTING CATTY Leopard is a timeless print that reigns the fashion jungle during the fall season. From sweaters to dresses and accessories, this trend is perfect for the office or date night! Ladies' outerwear WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED Your outerwear sets the tone for your entire outfit. So, whether you go for a structured trench coat or a knitted cape, make sure it expresses your overall look! Ladies' bags and blue tops DRIPPING IN JEWELS From emerald green to sapphire blue and amethyst purple, jewel tones add a luxe pop of color to any fall outfit. We love the faux fur detailing on the sleeves of this teal sweater and paired with these leather pants? It’s the perfect fall look! Interested in more fall fashion trends? Check out Beth Jones of B. Jones Style’s latest YouTube video where she shares her favorite fall fashion trends and takes you thrifting at two #OCGoodwill stores! Share your photos for a chance to be featured on our Instagram or Facebook pages using the hashtags: #OCGoodwill #CreateGoodwill.

Miles’ Hard Work Leads to Promotion

A man smiling at his office
A man smiling at his office Miles is a capable, driven young man, who at 30 years old, wanted to work, but was having no luck finding employment. He did not view his cerebral palsy as a limitation, but many of the employers he was interviewing with did. That all changed in 2015 when he met Jay and Sammer, the owners of RE/MAX Prestige, a local residential real estate company. They sensed Miles’ desire and drive to work and gave him the opportunity to join the team in their Costa Mesa office. Miles quickly exceeded expectations, performing many office tasks efficiently and effortlessly. Jay and Sammer noticed, and continued to give Miles additional tasks and responsibilities. Earlier this month, after four years at the company, Miles was promoted to Office Manager. It’s a huge responsibility – one that Miles is not only capable of handling, but one that he is proud to do every day.