You don’t have to go to the mall this Christmas to give your loved ones a gift they will treasure for a lifetime! Why not make them one of these great gifts with materials found at your local Goodwill? Not only are DIY gifts affordable, they are more personal that other gifts. Give a gift that will remain valuable in your loved one’s eyes.
Have you ever received a homemade Christmas gift?
Lavette Johnson had 20 years of work experience as a successful business woman with positions in customer service and sales. But when her younger sister was diagnosed with cancer, Lavette left her job in Virginia to move back to Charlotte to be closer to her family.
Despite her robust work history, Lavette struggled to find another position that matched her skill set and education. “I learned the term for my situation was ‘dislocated worker,’” she said. “But I decided that I would maintain a positive response to change throughout the job seeking process.” When a family friend who was also looking for a job picked up a flyer about Goodwill’s Occupational Skills Training program, it was Lavette who called the number first to enroll in the Banking & Customer Service class.
Lavette describes the benefits of her Goodwill experience as two-fold. First, there was the emotional support given by classmates and instructors. “The classroom setting exposes you to a lot of different people, yet we all ended up forming strong relationships and helping each other get through each step of the process.” Secondly, Goodwill allowed Lavette to sharpen skills that would make her stand out to potential employers. “While I had previous computer training, Goodwill gave me more in-depth skills that helped boost my confidence,” Lavette said. “I became stronger in Power Point, spreadsheets and public speaking, to name a few.”
Lavette says Goodwill helped her reevaluate her career goals and gave her new direction. She is currently seeking a position in banking or customer service and volunteer opportunities where she can draw upon her strengths of working with people. In the long-term, Lavette would like to be a trainer in the banking industry so she can help others gain the skills and opportunities that she gained at Goodwill. “I take all the good from where I’ve been and I put that energy into where I’m going,” she says.
How do you stay focused during a job search?
When asked what our goals are for the holiday season, most of us would include giving back. But let’s face it: between the dinner parties, holiday celebrations, frenzied shopping trips and exciting New Year’s travel plans, few of us actually find a moment to give back in a meaningful way before the end of the year. Fortunately, there’s one way to help people right here in Charlotte that is quick, easy and affordable — and it feels good, too!
By donating used clothing and households goods before the end of December, you can help people in your community get back to work while putting your own life on a new path for the New Year — and even saving a little money yourself. Here’s how:
1. Local Donations Have Local Impact
We all know that unemployment is still a major problem here in the Charlotte metro area and most of us know individuals or families who are struggling just to make ends meet. At Goodwill, we turn the value of your used goods into job training and placement services for people right here in our community. The sale of donated clothing and household goods in our stores funds programs that help put our friends and neighbors back on the path to employment success.
2. Get a Fresh Start
Helping your neighbors find jobs feels good, but it also feels good to get a fresh start yourself. Make room for holiday gifts and new purchases by cleaning out your closet, garage or storage space, and know that you’re helping give someone a fresh start in the process. Get the kids in on it too! Parents can encourage children to give back this holiday season by donating one toy for every new item they receive.
3. Kick Off Tax Season with a Bang
During this financially stressful time of year, many of us are looking for any way to rack up a little savings. Fortunately, by doing good and donating you can also get a head start on saving for tax season. Items donated on or before December 31 can be counted as charitable deductions when you file your 2013 taxes.
All of us want to give back this holiday season. By taking a quick drive to your local Goodwill donation center and giving before December 31, you can help put friends and neighbors back on the path to employment success, while cleaning out your own closets and getting a fresh start on 2014.
Click here to learn how your donations helped local people get back to work.
I love collecting things. One of my favorite things to collect is decorative plates for their myriad of styles and colors. While shopping at Goodwill, I have discovered many unique plates – from tiny ones featuring cottage chic patterns to large plates with antique flair. However, you defeat the purpose of building a collection if your items are just stuck on a shelf somewhere collecting dust, instead of being seen. Enter wall hanging tips to display your art!
To display my treasures, I have turned to modern decorating methods. Although hanging plates can be considered old-fashioned (I remember my grandmother’s house having a plate or two on the walls), the modern style of hanging fits well in any décor.
In the modern version of plate wall art, you can choose one color to tie the group together. Beautiful blue china is a popular style and you can easily find many shapes and sizes of plates to use with this theme. Plain white plates can also have a striking effect by varying the sizes and shapes.
You can also create cool designs on your wall by artfully flowing the plates across the space. Like creating a river of art, your plates really pop.
Another version of wall art ties eclectic finds together with a burst of happy color. Just pick a shape or style—like Mexican pottery—and go for it! You can make a striking feature wall in your home for very little money.
Making wall art out of plates is an easy way to display your finds and add a modern style to your home at the same time. Have fun discovering new finds and adding to your plate wall throughout the years!
This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor and more. She welcomes your comments, which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @ gmail.com.
Public awareness about the value of recycling is at an all-time high, but currently fewer than 35 percent of households and 10 percent of businesses in the United States recycle, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Sometimes the enormity of a problem, such as massive amounts of waste headed to our landfills, keeps people from taking small steps that could add up to make a big positive change. It’s the “one person can’t make a difference” myth.
November 15 is America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful. This national commemoration is the perfect opportunity to raise public awareness while encouraging action, because every person can make a difference.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is a proud supporter of America Recycles Day. Environmental sustainability has been central to Goodwill’s mission since its founding 111 years ago. Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of usable clothing and other goods, and earns revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services and other important social services that benefitted more than 6.7 million people last year alone. In the process, thousands of tons of waste are diverted from landfills.
Goodwill offers this advice for America Recycles Day in hopes that occasional recyclers will become regular recyclers.
- Make it simple.
- Make it meaningful.
This model works successfully for Goodwill’s donated goods retail business. We provide easy-to-access donation drop-off points in convenient locations. We demonstrate how donations make a positive impact on the donor and the community: Donations are sold in stores. Store revenues fund job training and career services. People get jobs. Families grow stronger. Communities thrive.
The model can work for recycling as well. Breaking down your efforts into simple steps can help. To start, choose to recycle one item — whether it’s newspaper, aluminum or glass — for six months. After that time period, start recycling a second item that you use regularly until it becomes a habit. You can continue to add to your recycling efforts as they become part of your daily life.
Then, understand that your actions have impact. For example, recycling one aluminum product can save enough energy to allow you to listen to a full music album on an iPod. Recycling 100 cans can light a room for two weeks.
Whether you donate regularly to Goodwill or just recycle your aluminum cans, you help dispel the myth that small acts aren’t important. On America Recycles Day, it’s appropriate to celebrate all the ways we collectively and individually protect the planet.
Do you have an innovative idea that you know could turn into a career, but you are not sure how to make it happen? Learn how to start an online business! Building a business online is the most cost-effective way to take your passion from a dream to reality. In this day and age, having an online presence is more important than ever. Even if you do not have an eCommerce business, consumers may try to research you online when deciding if they should even make the trip to your store. In many cases, your website serves as a customer’s first impression of your business.
When you create a website, you are proactively taking steps to ensure you do not miss a single business opportunity. Here are the three major steps involved in starting an online business.
1. Build your website
The first step in setting up an online business is purchasing a domain name and setting up your hosting account. When choosing your domain name, it is best to choose a name that describes your business and is easy to remember. Purchasing a domain and hosting is extremely simple. Just call up the kind people at GoDaddy and they will be happy to help you.
So now, you have a domain name and hosting… congratulations! However, the work is far from over. The next step is actually building your site! There are many platforms available that allow you to build a simple website, but I recommend WordPress. There are countless themes and plugins out there that allow people to customize their sites as little or as much as they desire. Here is an easy-to-follow tutorial from WordPress to get you started.
2. Enable Ecommerce Capabilities
Your website is set up… so now what? You want to be paid, of course! The first step to giving your site ecommerce capabilities is to choose a merchant provider. There are several options out there when it comes to merchant providers, but it is best to find one that can help with everything from developing a product catalog to processing payments online. Bank of American Merchant Services is a great merchant provider that offers these services and more.
No matter who you choose as your merchant provider, there are a few things you should definitely look for in your search. It is helpful to choose a merchant account that is linked to an actual bank to cut down on fees and avoid security risks. It is also important to make sure your merchant account has credit card processing capabilities, so that you can have a convenient payment method for your customers, which will enable you to be paid faster.
3. Market your Website
At this point in the process, your online business is up and running. However, none of this matters unless people can find you! Engaging in pay-per-click marketing and search engine optimization are tried and true methods of getting your website found online. The first step in this process is to make sure your site has relevant content that talks about your services. The cliché “content is king” exists for a reason.
Having a social media presence is also important. Setting up a Facebook and Twitter account is a great first step, but be sure to actually ENGAGE customers through social media. Nothing looks worse than coming across a company’s social media profile that has not been updated in months. If you do not have time, there are several different marketing platforms available that can help you reach customers online and increase your company’s visibility, like the iDeals Marketing Platform for example.
Starting your own business definitely is not easy, but it is worth it. Take it from one of one of Goodwill’s successful entrepreneurial partners, Second Helping. The owner of Second Helping runs a successful business with eCommerce capabilities, which bolsters its online catering sales.
Now you know how to start an online business! You have all the tools you need to succeed in the ecommerce world. Get out there and begin the next phase of your career!
The U.S. Veterans Administration notes that 22 million veterans have reintegrated back into civilian life since World War I. That reintegration often proves difficult for veterans as they face numerous challenges, including finding meaningful employment to support themselves and their families. They sometimes lack the skills, education and credentials for jobs in the current marketplace. Many also may have physical and emotional disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Still others face non-work-related challenges such as lack of health care, child care, housing and transportation.
Here at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, we take a holistic approach. Our programs and services streamline re-entry and reduce the stressors of an already challenging time in the lives of returning military members. Many veterans who approach Goodwill for career services are surprised to find that they can gain much more than just job search assistance. They also gain a network of supporters who offer counsel, advice and encouragement long after a job has been secured–a valuable benefit to which veterans like Ronald can attest.
Goodwill’s holistic approach is working. Since April 2011, Goodwill Industries International has helped more than 106,280 veterans and military service members and hired more than 1,870. But that’s only the beginning. The Walmart Foundation recently granted $5 million to Goodwill to expand its Operation: GoodJobs program, which will serve an additional 4,000 veterans and military families over the next three years. Locally, Goodwill recently partnered with Lean Sigma Professionals and The Employers Association to launch the Veterans Productivity Pathway, a free program designed to prepare veterans and their dependents for positions in productivity-related jobs.
Thank you to all the veterans who have served our country. We stand ready to help you meet your career goals, so you can support your families.
What are you thankful for this Veterans Day?