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Wow! Goodwill’s New Web Address

January 11, 2016

We’ve moved! Please visit us on our brand new website at www.goodwillsp.org/newsevents/blog/ to stay up-to-date on the latest news, events, DIY projects, tips and more from Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.

Don’t forget to subscribe with your email address on the left hand side in yellow for updates delivered right to your mailbox.

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How to Create a DIY Christmas Frame Wreath

December 11, 2015

Image 1 Frame Christmas WreathThe holiday season is fast approaching, and there’s so much to do in so little time: shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping gifts and sending packages. If you’re anything like me, you aren’t satisfied with doing the same thing year after year.

I like to choose a theme or color before I start decorating, and then repeat it throughout the house. This year, I’m considering an elegant combination of silver and white. The duo will look great on a green tree, at the table and on the front door.

Since I’m doing something different, I might as well go all the way! Instead of the usual round evergreen wreath, I decided on right angles.

I bought a 12.5 in. x 16 in. wood picture frame. After removing the glass and back, I spray painted it white with a satin finish.

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It wouldn’t be a Christmas wreath without some green, so I purchased a 9 ft. fir garland. I draped half of it around the frame and held it in place by twisting pieces of the pine together. There are no hard and fast rules. I draped mine with the end of the garland even with the bottom of the frame, but you could wrap the garland all the way around.

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I find it so much easier to design and make a wreath when it is hanging upright on a door. It’s easier to attach items and you can step back to see how it looks as you add more.

Wire eight silver ornaments together using florist (or fine) wire. I used three sizes and staggered them to fit in the empty space between the garland and frame. Plastic ornaments are light-weight, won’t break and are resistant to the weather.

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The “Victorian” style swag with ornaments in the center make for a very symmetrical wreath. I continued the balance with a bow in the center and tucked the streamer ends into the garland on the sides of the frame. Silver bead garland added another layer of elegance when draped across the front.

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You can add as much or as little as you want. For my surname (Cvetan), I pulled out a silver “C” from my ornament box as a “Welcome to Our Home” statement. Silver and white are my colors for the season, but traditional red and white would also look great, as would gold and white. Or, I could have done it in raspberry to match the front door. The possibilities are endless!

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Merri Cvetan started her career as an interior designer when she bought the ultimate “fixer-upper,” an 1890s farmhouse. She writes on her home decor expertise, including holiday DIY, for The Home Depot. Merri has a passion for entertaining, antiques and traveling, which are reflected in her design projects. To see this year’s holiday designs available at Home Depot, click here.

Goodwill Opportunity Campus: Capital Campaign Update

December 10, 2015
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Goodwill Opportunity Campus aerial construction progress, photographed in late October 2015.

By LaRita Barber, SVP Community Engagement at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

The Audacity of Hope is powerful. It takes audacity to commit significant resources to a vision that will take years to be realized.

One might ask, what gives Goodwill the audacity to have such high hopes for individuals whom others may deem unworthy, or who have given up on, or who think don’t deserve a second chance? What gives Goodwill the audacity to bet our future on a new way of providing services that is yet untested, that has no guarantees, and requires more resources than we can supply on our own? What gives Goodwill the confidence to keep pressing forward when some state and federal legislation does not fully support our vision, when policies do not align with our clients’ goals to pursue family sustaining employment, and the very supports that would stabilize our clients are threatened or cut entirely?

What the audacity of hope has done is to empower us to have the courage to dream big, to take bold action, to take calculated risks and to have enough faith in our convictions to ask others to join us in our journey.

What the audacity of hope has done is to demonstrate to our community that all people matter, that everybody shares the burdens of poverty, and that no community is stronger than its weakest link.

What the audacity of hope has done is to give us permission to say that our work matters. It gives us a sense of pride to sit before an individual, look them in the eye and invite them to join us on our journey to family sustaining employment. When we can touch the head, heart and pocketbook of an individual, we have earned their loyalty and trust. What an honor. It is also a tremendous responsibility.

We have been blessed by so many individuals, foundations and corporations that see the value in our vision for family sustaining employment; who trust us with their financial investments and have confidence that we will be good stewards.

Over the past 24 months, we set a goal to raise $8 million from the community. We have asked people to believe in our vision and they have responded. We are close to the finish line. Individuals, corporations and foundations have invested $6.9 million dollars in the hope and promise of the Goodwill Opportunity Campus. We have $1.1 million remaining before we can claim victory. The audacity of hope will get us there.

For those of you who have made contributions to the campaign, THANK YOU. For those who have not been asked to make a contribution, consider this an invitation to support Goodwill’s bold vision. If you would like to make a contribution to the capital campaign, please contact LaRita.Barber@goodwillsp.org. Contributions are tax deductible. If you want to leave a legacy or honor a family member, we have special recognition opportunities for your consideration.

To learn more about the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, visit www.goodwillsp.org or www.goodwillopportunitycampus.org.

Goodwill’s One-Week-Only Pop-Up Concept Store “GW”

December 8, 2015

IMG_3761Did you have a chance to check out our one-week-only pop-up concept store at the EpiCentre last week named “GW”? From Monday, November 30th – Sunday, December 6th, GW was located on Level 2 of the EpiCentre in uptown Charlotte, just in time for holiday shopping, in partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners…and it was unlike any Goodwill you’ve ever seen in the greater Charlotte region before.

GW featured chic, on-trend designer and brand name apparel, jewelry, accessories, shoes and home décor, with high quality items at affordable Goodwill prices, including Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Prada, Coach and more. Prices in the store ranged from $1.99 to $29.99.

GW also offered a tacky Christmas sweater section, free candy bar, gaming zone with video games from our electronics store, The GRID: Powered by Goodwill, and even a “Hipster Santa” who made stops during his busy holiday schedule to take photos with shoppers.

As always, proceeds from purchases at GW and all Goodwill retail stores fund job training and employment services free of charge for individuals in our community overcoming barriers to employment such as lack of skills, experience or education and criminal backgrounds.

Thank you to everyone who helped make GW at the EpiCentre a huge success last week. Thanks to your support and excitement over the store, you’ve got us #WerkinOvertime on the next big plans, so stay tuned!

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Success Story: Adeline

November 16, 2015

DSC_0251 (3)For someone moving to the United States for a chance at a better life, navigating the process of finding a job can be difficult and intimidating. Obstacles to finding employment can include language barriers, limited resources and lack of skills and experience needed to find suitable employment.

When Adeline moved to the U.S. from West Africa in 2004 for an opportunity to pursue the American Dream, she found herself in this exact situation. She did not speak a word of English, had never been employed, had never used a computer, and did not know anyone.

In her first few years in the U.S., Adeline gave birth to two children. Financially unstable and with no family nearby, she made the difficult decision to move her two young sons back to West Africa to live with her mother while she stayed in the U.S. to try to make a life for herself. Though this decision was the most difficult one Adeline ever had to make, it proved to be her driving force.

“Leaving my kids and wanting to give them a better life was my motivation,” she said. “It made my fears seem so small.”

In 2008, a friend told Adeline about Goodwill. She came to Goodwill’s Career Development Center on Freedom Drive and enrolled in the hospitality & tourism occupational skills training course. During the seven-week course, Adeline gained an understanding of the hospitality and tourism industry, learned basic computer skills, built her resume, learned valuable job-search skills, and gained confidence through interview preparation.

Adeline WCNC Video Screenshot (4)Towards the end of the skills training program, Adeline and her classmates attended a job fair at a nearby hotel. From that job fair, Adeline was hired to work at the Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel. In fact, she was unable to attend her graduation ceremony because it was her first day at her new job.

Seven years later, Adeline is still employed with the Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel. She has worked her way up from bussing tables to being a full-time server, lead trainer and bartender for the hotel’s restaurant and banquet halls. Since being hired, Adeline has learned how to establish credit, bought a car, bought her own house, and in 2011, she moved her two sons and her mother back to the U.S. to live with her.

Adeline is proud of her accomplishments and grateful to Goodwill for giving her the opportunity for a better life.

“I do not even have the words to describe what I feel inside,” Adeline said. “Goodwill was a great help and the stepping stone I needed to get a good job and still be doing what I’m doing today. I’m very grateful, to Goodwill and to God.”

Adeline’s advice for anyone facing a difficult situation?

“It’s okay when things get hard and you don’t know what to do. You just have to be courageous and look at the positives that can come from everything. You can do anything – it’s going to take some work, a lot of work, but you just have to be courageous and look at the positives.”

Want to hear more about Adeline’s courageous, emotional journey to family sustaining employment? Watch her recent success story with NBC Charlotte’s Sonja Gantt as part of the annual “Make a Difference Day” here.

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DIY Teen Bedroom Decor for Under $10

November 13, 2015

Teen Decor Board 15Guest post by Dee Fleury – @ReNewedByDeezign on Instagram.

After meeting the very sweet daughter of one of my co-workers, I automatically thought to myself, “She’s such a sweet girl, I must make her something.” That’s how it works for me, I like you…I make you something!

So off to Goodwill I went for inspiration. I had no idea what I wanted to make, but a good 15-20 minutes in the store is usually all it takes to run into a project waiting to happen.

I almost always go straight to the frames section because there’s never a shortage of good, quality frames with art people no longer care for. What they don’t realize is although the artwork itself may no longer be desirable, the oftentimes custom-made frame they’ve discarded is money going down the drain. Have you seen the price of custom framing?

I challenge you to take that next family portrait to a framing center and get a framing quote, then go to your local Goodwill and find a gorgeous frame in the size you need, ignore that 1970’s velvet picture inside, and locate the price. I guarantee you’ll run straight to the counter like I do and never pay for custom framing again!

But I digress…back to my shopping trip.

A quick glance led me to a discarded 24 in. x 36 in. framed canvas priced at just $4.99, which normally retails at $24.99 at other stores – a whopping $20.00 savings right there.

Immediately I knew I wanted to make a memo board for her, but the artwork painted on the canvas would not work. I’d now need some fabric, so off to the household linens section I went in Goodwill. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found exactly one yard of pink velour fabric hanging up with the table linens priced at just $4.99.

I’m on a roll now, so I check out the miscellaneous shelves that hold all kinds of treasures and sure enough, I came across some spools of ribbon and found a soft lavender color for $.99. So now I have my board, fabric and a ribbon for the memo board project and I’m sure I have plenty of options for embellishments in my craft stuff at home, so I check out and go home excited to get started.

Here’s How I Made It:

Lay your fabric out on a flat surface and place your canvas on top, making sure the fabric is distributed evenly around the frame on all sides.

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Fold the fabric evenly over the top side of the frame.

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Staple the fabric to top side of the frame using a staple gun.

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Pull the fabric nice and tight, and staple the remaining sides, folding the fabric as you would gift wrapping at the corners.

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Trim away any excess fabric with fabric shears or scissors you have that are sharp enough for cutting fabric, making sure the blades are clean first so as not to soil the fabric. Then smooth the fabric out. Now your board is ready for embellishments.

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Next I added the ribbon. I cut four even strips of the lavender ribbon that I will lay in a crisscross pattern on my board. Before attaching them, I lay them out to make sure I have it placed exactly where I want it.

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After you have the ribbon where you want it, wrap the ribbon around to the back of the frame and secure with a dot sized amount of hot glue.

You can now add your embellishments. I happen to have these gorgeous Christmas ornaments in my craft box that I got on sale at Target during their end-of-season clearance for $.70 each. Perfect for adding a little bling to my board, however you can use whatever you want to jazz up your board, just remember to think outside the box.

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I still wanted a little more bling, so I added some rhinestones that were in a package I found on a separate trip to Goodwill (but you can also find them for $.99 at Walmart). Goodwill has tons of options for this. You can check out their jewelry counter for cheap bling to use such as a vintage broach. The options are endless if you use your imagination.

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Here’s the finished product and the new board along with some other “ReNewed” and repurposed items she can use to accessorize her teen bedroom makeover.

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Tip: Jewelry boxes are almost always on the shelves at Goodwill, so make sure you look for them on your next trip and give it a makeover if you prefer a different finish.

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So get out there and spend some time in your local Goodwill store for some inspiration for your next inexpensive DIY project that even teens will love.

Dee Fleury is a Philadelphia native now living in the South and enjoying the inner “country girl” that was always there. She loves to hunt for treasures old and new, and incorporate her thrifted finds into her home décor. She blends a little bit of French country, farmhouse, vintage, glam and contemporary, all mingled nicely together. Dee is an aspiring small business owner with dreams of owning her own shop offering painted furniture and home décor featuring some of her found treasures.

Veteran’s Day Success Story: Bridget

November 11, 2015

Bridget 2 EditedFor someone who has left the workforce, re-entering the hiring arena and landing a new job can be difficult. Lapses in resumes and employment history can become a barrier when trying to find a job.

In early 2014, Bridget made the difficult decision to leave her job with the federal government in Fayetteville, N.C., to take care of her sick mother in Philadelphia, Pa. Upon her return to Charlotte, N.C., a few months later, re-entering the workforce proved to be a challenge.

Prior to her job with the federal government, Bridget worked for the Department of Employment Security Commission for 17 years. Here, she heard much about Goodwill and learned about its services and offerings. In late 2014, a longtime friend who had collaborated with Goodwill on several community projects recommended to Bridget that she visit Goodwill for help in re-entering the workforce.

Bridget took her friend’s advice and came to Goodwill’s Career Development Center in Charlotte. She met with Marie, Evaluation and Assessment Specialist, who conducted a personal interview with Bridget to better understand her needs. She then encouraged her to look at Goodwill’s internal job vacancies on the computer and apply to an open Internal Audit Services Manager position at Goodwill. Bridget applied for the position that day and was called in for an interview soon after. A few weeks later, Bridget was hired for the position.

Bridget served active duty in the Army from 1989 – 1994 and has been in the Army Reserves ever since. The day after Bridget accepted her job offer at Goodwill, she was called to serve her country overseas in Kuwait. This was Bridget’s first time being deployed overseas, and Shannon, Director of Corporate Compliance and Bridget’s supervisor at Goodwill, ensured Bridget that her job would be waiting for her upon her return.

Bridget served in Kuwait for 10 months as an Internal Control Officer with the 469th Theater Financial Management Support Center. Throughout Bridget’s deployment, Shannon sent her care packages that included books, magazines, holiday treats and even Goodwill promotional items to keep her spirits up. Bridget was thankful for the support that her Goodwill family showed her despite her being overseas.

“Shannon made me feel really good,” Bridget says. “Even though I wasn’t working for Goodwill yet, she wanted to check in with me. That meant a lot.”

Today, Bridget is back from serving overseas and working at Goodwill. She is thankful for the opportunity that Goodwill gave her when re-entering the workforce after taking care of her mother, and just as grateful that Goodwill supported her overseas deployment before assuming her current position.

“Everyone from my fellow veterans to my family and friends were amazed that Goodwill held my position for me for almost an entire year while I served,” Bridget says. “As a veteran, it’s a good feeling to know that my employer is behind me supporting my military duty and helping me re-enter the workforce. I feel happy, relaxed and refreshed to be here.”