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Success Story: Curtis

June 13, 2014

Goodwill Cornerstone_Good Work! Award_Curtis BakerCurtis was unemployed for a year and a half after he was laid off from his 18-year job as a heating and air conditioning technician. While being unemployed brought about a lot of hardships for Curtis, there was one silver lining—getting to be a stay-at-home dad. “My kids kept me alive and productive,” says Curtis, who is married with a son and twin daughters.

He credits Goodwill with giving him a support system and the drive to keep going and be successful in his job search. “After I was laid off, I felt like a failure,” says Curtis. “Goodwill helped me to gain my confidence back. Now, I am prepared going into any scenario.”

After deciding on a career in the hotel industry, Curtis applied for jobs at nine local hotels. The last hotel where he interviewed referred him to Goodwill’s Hospitality & Tourism Training program. The seven-week program taught him essential skills for the hotel industry and gave him the credentials and certifications to succeed in any hotel position.

Before he graduated, Curtis found a job at the Hampton Inn in Pineville using the job search and interviewing skills he learned at Goodwill. He started at the front desk, where he learned the value of making himself approachable. His commitment to showing up early, providing excellent customer service and working hard paid off, and he was promoted to Chief Engineer.

“I have been very impressed with all the candidates that Goodwill has sent to me,” says Mae Nelson, Curtis’ employer and the Hampton Inn Pineville manager. “It seems that they bring a special type of positive energy and a real willingness to work, and I think they get that in their training.”

Curtis, a Union County native, says that the thing that most impressed him about the program was the overall willingness to help people. “Goodwill brought me in, treated me like family and made me feel at home. I loved coming here every day and still keep in touch with my fellow classmates, teachers and mentors. We all support each other.”

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

Create a Floating Bookshelf

June 10, 2014

bookshelf11Making a floating bookshelf is not hard, especially when you can use materials from your local Goodwill! All it takes is some sturdy, hardback books and a couple of brackets to make bookshelves that appear to float in midair.

Things you need:
• Three hardback books
• Three plain metal wall brackets
• Screws
• Drill
• Glue

Directions:
1. Take one book and open the back cover.
2. Lay the base of the bracket on the pages with the spine of the book facing out.
3. Using short screws that will not go through the cover of the book, screw the bracket through the pages of the book.
4. Glue the back cover to the bracket and pages so that it will not hang.
5. Screw the back of the bracket into the wall.
6. Stack books to cover the back of the bracket.

That’s all there is to it! I like making three floating shelves so that you can stagger them on the wall for a fun look. Alternatively, you can do a little more work if you have extra books on hand. Create shelves for plants, art or other small items by adding a book to cover up the back of the bracket, To create this one-of-a-kind display shelf, follow the directions above until you get to step five. Before screwing the bracket into the wall, place the back cover of a book between the bracket and the wall. Then, when you screw it in you can simply shut the book to cover the bracket completely.

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It is so easy to make great unique shelves from your book finds at Goodwill. Try it today and see what you can come up with!

Always curious, Ashley Hardway is constantly learning and passionate about sharing what she learns with others. Based in the Houston, Texas office of Morningside Nannies, she loves to help families grow stronger, help their environments and communities, and keep moving forward! Check out @NannyLady on Twitter to connect and find out more.

DIY Teacup Candles

June 3, 2014

teacup22At Goodwill you can always find some very pretty teacups and saucers. But did you know that you could use them for more than just sipping tea? Teacup candles are a fun gift or home decorating idea that you can make from vintage teacups. With only a few ingredients needed, you can tackle this DIY project in no time.

First, select your cup and saucer set. Any teacup will work, depending on the look you are going for. Once you have the cup you will need:
• Candle wax flakes
• Wicks
• Candle scent and color, if desired
• Chopsticks or kabob sticks
• Tape and scissors
• Double boiler

Directions:
1. Set up your wicks. Place the metal part at the bottom center of your cup. Then tape the chopsticks together so that they lie across the lip of your cup and hold the wick steady.
2. Once your wick is in place, use the double boiler to slowly melt the candle wax. Add scent and color if desired.
3. Carefully pour the melted wax into the cup, being sure not to dislodge the wick.
4. Let it cool all the way until the wax is firm before lighting the candle.

That’s all there is to it! Easy and fast, making a tea cup candle is a fun way to add light and color to your home. Give them as gifts for a homemade touch that looks extravagant but is affordable, thanks to Goodwill!

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Rachael Cherry is a wife, mother, and writer who is passionate about helping connect families in need with high quality caregivers. She has taken that passion and put it to work through NannyPro, a respected online nanny referral service. Learn more by visiting @NannyPro on Twitter.

Success Story: Prince

May 30, 2014

Goodwill Cornerstone_Good Work! Award_Prince MosesA veteran of Desert Storm, Prince Moses always knew that he wanted to help other veterans overcome challenges by providing counseling. What he had in ambition, he lacked in work experience. With Goodwill’s help, Prince charted a course to help him land his dream job.

Prince used the Concord Job Connection and Goodwill’s career services to aid his job search. Within weeks, he learned to craft a compelling resume, how to present himself in interviews, and followed up with every job lead suggested to him by Goodwill staff.

When he met with a “negative,” Prince found a way to turn it into a “positive.” For one job in particular, he was told he did not have the necessary education and experience to qualify, but he pursued it and landed the interview using the job search etiquette tips that Goodwill taught him.

Prince soon found a job in Winston-Salem and did a 160-mile daily commute to gain work experience in his chosen field. He continued to help other job seekers by stopping by the Concord Job Connection to offer encouragement to participants and share job lead information. When a position at the VA Medical Center in Salisbury became available, Prince’s career coach at Goodwill gave him a glowing recommendation and he landed his dream job as a Peer Support Specialist.

“Despite the doors that were closed in my face at times, Goodwill always encouraged me to continue pressing on,” says Prince. “I’m living proof that if you believe you can, then you will.”

For his career success, Prince was awarded a Good Work! Award at Goodwill’s 2014 Cornerstone Celebration.

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

What is your dream job?

Turn an Old Pallet Into a DIY Coffee Table

May 28, 2014

IMG_0001After moving to Milan last September, my husband and I immediately fell in love with an amazing two-story furnished loft. The only problem was the living room table! Our simple black Ikea table was already ruined and I wanted to change it for a natural wood and vintage table. After doing some Internet research, I decided to make my own coffee table using an old pallet purchased for three euros at the ortomercato of Milan. Follow this simple tutorial to make your own DIY table.

Here is what you need to buy before starting:

  • Five meters of sandpaper (I suggest using garnet sandpaper). Make sure the paper is thick enough because you will need to remove one cm of the entire surface
  • Two liters of transparent flatting varnish
  • Four casters, including two that can be locked
  • A broom to remove the dust
  • Plastic gloves

I chose an old and dirty-looking pallet to give a vintage aspect to my living room. The first step is to clean the pallet by removing approximately one centimeter of the old wood. Use gloves to avoid any splinters getting under your skin. This is the hardest and longest part. Although it took me eight hours to clean every part of the pallet to get a soft and clean surface, it was rewarding to see the wooden lines appearing.

Next, clean the pallet with the broom to remove the dust and prepare it for the varnish. I recommend painting the pallet twice to protect it against light and water. Allow 24 hours before starting the second layer of varnish.

Let the pallet dry for at least two days to be sure it has absorbed all the varnish. Finally, you can add the four wheels, putting the two locking casters diagonally to stabilize your table. You can also add a glass tabletop that you can order cut to your exact measurements.

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Here are the results:

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What are you making this summer? Share your project in the comments!

Amandine Dowle is a French design and lifestyle photographer.  She has lived in New York, Ottawa, Greece and now resides in Milan.  In addition to photography, Amandine also writes articles for travel and design publishers for companies such as www.uk.fontanot.com.

Networking Tips to Jump Start Your Job Search

May 24, 2014

networkingIf you are in the market for a new job, never underestimate the power of networking. Everyone should have a network of people that they know who would be willing to assist them in their job search, says Harry Tatum, a human resources consultant.

Why is networking important? Harry cites several advantages to making others aware of your job search, including:

  • Network contacts may hear of jobs available;
  • Network contacts may actually mention you to an employer;
  • Network contacts may have input on your resume (comments or thoughts to improve it);
  • Network contacts may be a sounding board for general advice.

If you’re wondering where to begin in building your network, Harry advises putting at least 50 names on paper, starting with people closest to you, such as adult family members, former and current co-workers and neighbors, then expanding your list to include people you may see less frequently such as high school friends, members of your church and military buddies.

Using this list proactively and efficiently is key to learning about new employment opportunities and keeping your resume fresh, counsels Harry. He recommends calling or emailing three or four contacts per day (keep a record) with a sample introduction like this: “Hi, it’s Harry from high school. Remember me? I am a doing a job search and would like to share my resume with you for your comments. Can I send you a copy and get your thoughts?”

Most of your network contacts will be honored to get a phone call and be asked for their help. It’s a very powerful step to aid in the job hunting process—and it’s free!

Harry Tatum is a volunteer with Goodwill and provides job search and resume development assistance. Need job search advice? Email Harry at hftatum@aol.com to have your question addressed in a future blog post.

Technology Has a New Hot Spot

May 21, 2014

grid at night2We are excited to announce the grand opening of a new technology store in the University area planned for Saturday, May 31. The Grid…Powered by Goodwill is a new brand extension for Goodwill and will be a destination spot where the tech-savvy consumer can purchase computer components and accessories, or simply find out what’s new in the world of technology. Grand opening festivities for the new store, located at 9605 North Tryon Street, will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. followed by the doors opening for shoppers at 9:00 a.m.

In addition to the current product assortment of desktop and laptop computers, printers, flat screen televisions and gaming systems sold at Goodwill’s Computer Works location, The Grid will feature new additions to its product line-up, such Raspberry Pi, the Oculus Rift experience, audio components, portable chargers, phone and tablet accessories, retro games, gaming consoles and controllers.

The new, 6,000-square-foot store boasts on-trend ambiance, including an easily navigable layout, sleek design, user-friendly displays and a lounge area where video game enthusiasts can try out the newest games. The Grid is currently developing a menu of new community offerings, such as hosting technology-related educational opportunities for children and LAN (Local Area Network) parties for multiplayer video games.

Hours of operation will be Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.; and Sunday 12:00-7:00 p.m. Goodwill’s existing Computer Works store (located at 2913 Freedom Drive) will continue to operate through Wednesday, May 28. This location will be closed once the new store opens and all team members will be transferred to the new location.

Donations to Goodwill support career training and job placement programs for unemployed and underemployed individuals as they upgrade their skills to enter the competitive workforce. To calculate the positive impact of your Goodwill donations, use our donation impact calculator at http://donate.goodwill.org.

Elizabeth Isenhour

Elizabeth Isenhour

What gadgets are on your summer shopping list?

 

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