Ronald began his career in the U.S. Air Force working on weapons systems overseas. When he left the service in 2005, he obtained a degree in business administration from the University of Maryland and set off to pursue an international business venture in transportation service in Italy. Despite having a solid business plan in place, Ronald’s venture eventually folded and he fell into debt and financial hardship. For the next few years, he held positions in sales and engineering, but none fueled his passion for working for himself.
After returning to Charlotte in 2011, Ronald found himself facing mounting debt and unemployment. A counselor at the VA clinic referred him to Goodwill for job search assistance for veterans. After meeting team members Wanda Weeks and Vanessa McCants, a friendship was quickly formed. “When I met them, I immediately felt their positive energy and it’s been a beautiful relationship ever since,” Ronald says.
Goodwill’s services helped Ronald to strengthen his resume by translating military skills into civilian language, develop interviewing techniques and find job search leads. He also took Wanda’s advice to continue his education and is currently completing coursework towards a Master’s degree in business administration. “I really heeded the advice Goodwill gave me to keep adding tools to my toolbox,” he says.
Ronald soon found a job in logistics working for a private company in Afghanistan, a position he credits Goodwill for helping him find. During his return trips to Charlotte to visit his family, he always makes sure to stop by the Goodwill office to give updates to Wanda and Vanessa. And he has a new goal in mind for after he completes his MBA: to launch a business to help local veterans find housing.
“I have a new outlook on reaching my goals,” says Ronald. “I know it won’t happen overnight, so I take everything step-by-step and trust that every action will take me where I need to go.”
How do you approach your career goals?
Fall has officially arrived! The easiest way to update your decor for fall is by adding a few simple pieces with fall colors. The colored glassware above can be easily thrifted and incorporated into your fall decorating.
Can’t find any colored glass? Find a clear container and fill it with artificial or fresh fruit to give it some color!
How do you update your home for fall?
Even though we’re still a week away from Halloween, Google already knows what the most popular costumes are going to be… or at least what the most searched-for Halloween costume terms have been, which is basically the same thing. Want to get in on the trends? Good news – you can put together many of them using pieces you find at your local Goodwill. So, what’s going to be popular this year?
The tense finale of Breaking Bad had audiences around the country on the edge of their seats, so it’s no surprise that chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook Walter White is one of the most searched-for Halloween costumes this year. You have plenty of costume options if you want to go as America’s favorite antihero. To go as Season 1 Walter White, look for a green apron or green button-up shirt that you can wear with white briefs. To become alter-ego Heisenberg, look for a flat-brimmed black hat and tan windbreaker. New Hampshire Mountain Man Walt needs a plaid jacket and other winter layers, but should keep the signature black hat.
The Minions from Despicable Me
With the success of Despicable Me and its recent sequel, you’re likely to see plenty of people dressed as the films’ cute yellow minions. All you need for this costume is a pair of overalls, black boots, black gloves, some oversized goggles and, if you’re really dedicated to the costume, yellow body paint.
Daenerys from Game of Thrones
The HBO series Game of Thrones was one of the most talked about shows this year, and many people plan to channel the Khaleesi (aka Daenerys Targaryen) this year. She wears many different outfits over the course of the series, so you have a lot of options. Look for lightweight materials since Daenerys is from a warm climate—Grecian inspired dresses, halter tops, and maxi skirts in pastel or tan shades. Also keep your eye out for a platinum blonde wig to match Daenerys’ signature hair, and if you can find a plush dragon (or three!), walk around with it on your shoulder.
Lots of people are probably going to dress up in Miley’s infamous VMA outfit, but consider bucking the trend and going as “Party in the USA,” Hannah Montana-era Miley Cyrus. To go as her Disney Channel alter ego, look for brightly-colored tops and skirts. A red or metallic jacket, cowboy boots, and a microphone would also be a nice touch. You’ll have people nostalgic for 2008.
The Robertson Family from Duck Dynasty
This addition to Google’s most searched for list might surprise some people, but not those who have been regularly tuning in to the surprisingly addictive A&E reality show Duck Dynasty. The Robertson family makes a great group costume and is pretty easy to assemble. Look for pieces like bandanas, baseball caps, and lots of camouflage. And if you don’t have time (or the ability) to grow an impressive beard yourself, keep an eye out for fake ones to complete the costume.
Whether you want to put together one of these pop culture costumes or go with your own creative vision for Halloween, your local Goodwill is a great place to find the perfect components. It’s a lot less time-consuming than sewing an entire costume (especially this close to Halloween) and a lot cheaper than buying ready-made costumes.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler is a freelance writer and co-owner of Weiss-Roessler Writing. This year, she plans to trick-or-treat as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, while her husband will be the Scarecrow and her 16-month-old will be dressed as the Cowardly Lion. There was some talk of bringing one of their tiny dogs as Toto, but the cute factor was outweighed by the likelihood of rampant barking.
Look for Quality
Train your eye to look for expensive fabrics and quality construction because those will be the best buys. While there is no foolproof method to determine a garment’s durability, carefully constructed items generally show a higher density of seams, have lining or some other type of reinforcement, and are made with heavier, denser fabrics. Stay away from anything from cheap fashion retailers because they run the risk of becoming quickly outdated and may have poor craftsmanship. The goal of thrift shopping is to find something that looks new without the “new” price.
The condition of the article must be in good shape if you plan on buying it. This means no piling, discoloring or stains anywhere along the garment, especially in the underarm seams. Check the hems and buttons for any loose threads or tears. If you’re looking at leather items, then make sure it isn’t cracked or broken. Even when you’re buying gently used items at Goodwill, don’t skimp on the condition of the product because of its low price.
Make Lasting Additions
Something might be a bargain, but it’s not worth the price if you’ll never wear it. Ask yourself if it really fits in your wardrobe. If the answer is “no,” wait to invest in something you absolutely love and know will be a welcome addition to your closet. Goodwill is a great place to score inexpensive fabric for you to practice your creations, too. Stick to simple reconstructions if you’re new at the DIY trend. If you check around, there may even be sewing patterns available for purchase.
Renee Watson is a mother of three who enjoys writing articles about relationships, family, budgeting, shopping and the 10 Top Colleges for Affordable Online Associates Degrees.
I’ve been shopping for fall clothes all summer and I’m really looking forward to cooler temperatures. As a wardrobe stylist, I’m always asked what to look for when thrifting for work pieces. Here are some tips as you build your corporate fall wardrobe:
- Look for slacks in a variety of colors (as seen on the right). They can be paired with a solid button-up shirt for a formal look, or a funky pattern for a fun, more casual look.
- Cardigans can be layered and played up with a skinny belt.
- Scarves are this season’s hottest accessory. They can tied in a variety of ways and can put a new twist on a previously worn look. Men, look for chunky scarves to complement a wool blazer.
- Blazers are a must! Look for different textures, colors and fits. Worn with slacks, skirts or denim, a well-fitting blazer polishes any look.
Thrifting can be overwhelming if you don’t have a game plan, so always have an idea of what pieces you are looking for. The payoff is worth it! Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll showcase a look straight from a fashion magazine — found at a local Goodwill store!
Nakisha Ann Hall (pen name Ann Bouvier) is a makeup artist, corporate wardrobe stylist and trainer who travels across the country engaging audiences on various beauty and career topics. Follow her style via her blog www.theprofashionalist.com.
Are you a pop culture junkie? Halloween is the perfect time to embrace your weakness for all things trendy with a creative costume straight out of the pages of People magazine. Goodwill has everything you need to build an award-winning costume that is not only budget-friendly, but also supports job training programs for local people.
Game of Thrones – The citizens of Westeros and beyond not only kept us on the edge of our seats this year, but they also offered a wide range of costume inspiration. Going as a Black Brother, wildling or Stark family member ensures you’ll stay toasty while trick or treating. Look for rugged pieces with warm neutral (or black) layers, faux fur and leather. A King’s Landing look is more glam: search for velvets, embroidered details, bridesmaid dresses or Renaissance fair garb in red and gold to get the Lannisters’ luxurious look. Across the Narrow Sea, Khaleesi bares more skin so search for sheer scarves, bolts of airy fabric, maxi skirts and arm bands. Practice your braiding for perfect “Mother of Dragons” hair.
Orange is the New Black – Netflix’s latest original series makes for an easy group costume: orange or beige scrubs can quickly transform you into Piper, Alex, Crazy Eyes or any of your favorites. Carry a mat and you’re Yoga Jones. Don a chef coat with a short auburn wig and suddenly you’re dinner-slinging, chicken-chasing Red. Have some guys in your group? Have them sport blue shirts, dark pants and a radio, and you’re a mustache away from passing as Mendez.
Duke & Duchess of Cambridge - 2013 was a big year for Royal watchers. The birth of Prince George saw Kate keeping her gorgeous style through her pregnancy and into new mom territory. For the couple’s “leaving the hospital” look, don a blue polka dotted dress, perfectly wavy hair and a swaddled baby doll (Kate) or a blue button-down with navy pants (William). Enlist the help of a few friends to dress up as paparazzi to follow you throughout the evening. All you need to embrace the shutterbug look is a comfortable thrift outfit (jeans and flannel shirt work great), fedora hat, running shoes, camera or recording device, and notebook.
The Great Gatsby – Flapper style is a perennial Halloween favorite, but this year it enjoys an added pop culture boost from the glitzy film adaption of the classic Fitzgerald novel. To get the 1920s look, ladies should shimmer in beaded dresses accompanied by fabulous feathers and fur, glimmering hair accessories and plenty of jewelry. Men, don a black or white tie with a little bling of your own. For those of you spending Halloween in a warmer climate, West and East Egg summer style requires light-colored three-piece suits, suspenders and straw hats for the men and pale, loose-fitting shift dresses for ladies.
Superhero Season – Between the summer blockbusters Man of Steel, Kick-Ass 2 and Iron Man 3, it’s never been a better time to embrace your inner superhero. Layer a Superman tee under a suit with the perfect Clark Kent glasses to become Superman in transition. To get Robert Downey Jr.’s look in Iron Man 3, dress in head-to-toe maroon (including gloves), duct tape and gold face paint. A head-to-toe green ensemble lined with yellow masking tape and yellow gloves is what you need for Kick-Ass, while a purple wig, black eye mask and signature school girl garb (plaid pleated mini, purple tights and purple top) is what you need for Hit-Girl. The options are literally endless for thrifted superhero combinations!
The Veterans Productivity Pathway is a free program designed to prepare veterans and their dependents for positions in productivity-related jobs, such as project management, production and operations. This new initiative is the result of a collaborative partnership between Lean Sigma Professionals, The Employers Association and Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.
Participation in the Veterans Productivity Pathway is first-come, first-serve for up to 30 qualifying veterans. The program is designed in three consecutive phases that build upon one another, including Excel training, a three-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and a six-day Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma that results in increased productivity in the workplace. Multiple dates for the Excel training are offered in October. The three-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification will be offered November 5-7 and November 12-14. The six-day Lean Six Sigma Green Belt classes will be offered in December and January.
Know a vet who may be interested in participating? For more information, contact Angela Amos at (704) 332-0262 or via email at email@example.com.