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Support Goodwill on Public Service Day

June 23, 2015
Source: United Nations

Source: United Nations

Each year on June 23, individuals and organizations worldwide celebrate Public Service Day. Established by the United Nations in 2003, the day was designated to “celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community.” This year, the United Nations Public Service Forum, Day & Awards will be held June 23-26 in Medellin, Colombia. Public Service Day intends to highlight the contribution of public service in the development process, recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

At Goodwill, we encourage public service in many forms. From donating and volunteering, to recycling and shopping, there are many ways to serve in our community. Supporting Goodwill is easy and beneficial not only to our clients and the environment, but to you as well. For example, donating items you no longer need takes them off your hands and keeps waste out of landfills, giving pieces a second life. By shopping at Goodwill, you help fund our job training and employment services to prepare for and begin meaningful careers for jobseekers in our region. By working and volunteering at Goodwill, you play a firsthand role in our mission of changing lives through the power of work.

On this Public Service Day, commit to performing one of the following ways to support Goodwill below. When we come together to serve, our community is stronger, more connected and a better place for everyone.


CLAY End-of-Year Celebration

June 16, 2015

DSC_0033 EDITED CROPPEDSchool’s out! For many of our youth, that means summer employment or graduation celebrations. Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s Career Leadership Academy for Youth (CLAY) program hosted its 4th Annual End-of-Year Celebration on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. The event was themed by the students as “A Night of the Stars: A Blue Carpet Event” – an ode to Goodwill’s signature blue color.

The End-of-Year Celebration honored 15 high school and college graduates enrolled in the program, which works with youth who face various life challenges. Of the 14 high school graduates, 12 students are confirmed advancing to post-secondary education at universities such as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Winston-Salem State University and North Carolina A&T State University. This year, the program boasts a 100% promotion or graduation rate for all 87 students enrolled, freshmen to seniors in high school and college, advancing to the next level of education.

DSC_0006 EDITEDPiloted in 2011, the CLAY program also celebrates this year its first college graduate – Shontel Wall who graduates on the Dean’s List from Central Piedmont Community College with an Associate’s degree. Wall is currently enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte pursuing her Bachelor of Social Work degree.

CLAY is a long-term program equipped to work with high school and college students ages 14-21 representing 24 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, charter schools and colleges who face various life challenges. These challenges may include academic or financial barriers, pregnant or parenting teens, first generation high school or college graduates, legal involvement, or unavailable parents often due to incarceration or death. Of its enrollment, 91% of students live in poverty, with 62% living at the lowest income quartile and 53% living in the West Charlotte corridor. The average GPA upon enrollment in the program is a 2.56, with the majority of colleges requiring a minimum 2.6 GPA for acceptance, a task that CLAY aims to boost once the student begins participation.

“The person you see before you today is not the same person I was two years ago,” said Demarcus Oglesby, Harding University High School graduating senior and CLAY participant heading to Winston-Salem State University in the fall with three scholarships. “I became more social. I began helping in any way I could. I tried to be the best, most active CLAY member I could be, and that has made me a better person.”

Demarcus Oglesby (1)The goal of the CLAY program is to quality youth for jobs in a competitive global economy. The program provides academic coaching and tutoring three times a week, as well as personal meetings with a Goodwill vocational specialist at least once per month to develop a goal plan and navigate the many obstacles that teens may encounter in day-to-day life. Youth in the program attend horizon broadening trips, similar to field trips, and this year embarked on college visits to three major state universities. The program hosts guest speaker presentations and quarterly family nights to equip parents with tools in financial aid, tax preparation for dependents, summer employment opportunities, and advice on understanding teens and parenting skills to promote academic achievement.

DSC_0024 EDITED CROPPED“Seniors, you are coming to the finish line of high school but the starting line for the rest of your life,” said Kwain Bryant, Manager of Youth Services at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “The road will be tough and there will be some dark nights, but stars shine brightest in the dark.”

Youth and parents interested in enrolling in the CLAY program may learn more here. Enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year begins in July, with collective meetings beginning upon the start of the school year in August. For more information about Goodwill and its programs and services, visit

Goodwill’s Cornerstone Celebration 2015

June 12, 2015

IMG_6494 EDITEDThe role of workforce development in the greater Charlotte region took center stage at the Cornerstone Celebration, presented by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the Charlotte Convention Center. The annual event, emceed by NBC Charlotte longtime weather anchor Larry Sprinkle, honored Goodwill’s mission of “Changing Lives Through the Power of Work,” and spotlighted our organization’s 50th Anniversary in the region.

The luncheon also recognized the accomplishments of three former Goodwill clients who are pursuing careers in human services, design and pharmacy.


The Good Work! Awards are presented to individuals who have received or are currently receiving services, and have overcome significant barriers, achieved and maintained employment, and more.

Recipients of the 2015 Cornerstone Celebration GoodWork! Awards:

  • Cassandra Rolle: a client of GoodWork Staffing, a division of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. Cassandra is currently employed as a patient administrative assistant at the Mecklenburg County Health Department.
  • Rohan Brown: a graduate of Goodwill’s construction skills training program and client of GoodWork Staffing. Rohan is currently employed as a digitizer at Anita Goodesign. You can read Rohan’s success story here.
  • Nadia Patterson: a GED graduate through Goodwill’s Gaston County Job Connection who graduated from Kaplan College. Nadia is currently employed as a pharmacy technician at Walmart Pharmacy.

“I moved here from Baltimore, M.D. with my two children in 2011. I didn’t have a real plan. And let me tell you that’s scary, particularly for a parent,” said Cassandra Rolle, a formerly homeless single mother and client of Goodwill. “After trying to make a better life for myself on my own, I realized I needed some help, and this was when I learned of Goodwill.”


“I came to Goodwill two years ago to get assistance receiving my GED. Since that time, I got my GED and graduated with honors as a registered medical assistant from Kaplan College, with your help and guidance,” said Nadia Patterson.


“I would like to thank my construction teacher at Goodwill who I worked with, his name is Kevin Elder, and he taught with me one valuable lesson that I take with me on a daily basis and it’s called ‘Measure twice, cut once,'” said Rohan Brown. “He always taught me this because you never know where that mistake may lead you, so I apply that to my job today because measuring twice, cutting once really saves me and the company a lot. So for that, I say thank you.”


Another highlight of the event was the announcement of the Leon Levine Opportunity Center, the facility on the new Goodwill Opportunity Campus, a 160,000 square foot campus on 18-acres of land located off of Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte, currently under construction and slated to open in 2016. With a generous contribution from The Leon Levine Foundation, the facility will provide a comprehensive collection of resources and opportunities for job training, job placement and job creation for individuals facing multiple barriers to employment.


“I’m impressed with Goodwill’s strong leadership and track record of putting people to work…My hope is that the Leon Levine Opportunity Center will be a place where hardworking people can find paths to a job, as well as access to other services that will help them take care of themselves and their families,” said Leon Levine, founder and chairman emeritus of Family Dollar Stores, Inc.

Making the Goodwill Opportunity Campus a reality requires an investment of $20 million. Goodwill committed $12 million of its own funds, and in 2013 embarked on a capital campaign to raise $8 million from the community. To date, $5.2 million has been raised, including a $1.2 million grant challenge from The Leon Levine Foundation, with only $2.8 million left to reach the goal.


“I congratulate Goodwill on this campaign’s success today, and hope you will join me in helping them achieve the rest,” said Levine.

Thank you to our sponsors, donors, guests, board members, speakers, team members and clients for a beautiful Cornerstone Celebration this year to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. Special thanks to Leon and Sandra Levine for their generosity and investment in the work of Goodwill. We remain committed now more than ever to our mission and vision that all people in our region have the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential through family sustaining employment.

View more photos from the 2015 Cornerstone Celebration on our event website here.

How to Create a Keepsake Frame for a Wedding Invitation

June 10, 2015

It’s officially wedding season, and you could easily preserve your wedding invitation by buying a boring frame and calling it a day—or you can make it a creative endeavor that’ll mean more to you in the long run. If thrifting and crafting is your thing, then consider applying your skills to your wedding invite.

Photo 1

First, decide on what size frame you’re looking for. The minimum size for this project was 5×7 inches, since that’s the size of the invite I’m working with.

Don’t you love imagining where something else has been? I sure do, so that’s why I hit up Goodwill for most of my home decor and crafting ventures. The frames collecting dust at a thrift store could have had some interesting former lives—maybe they’ve even held a wedding photo or two in their day. So what better way to give a sentimental old frame new life than to fill it with new memories of your own?

Personally, I love collecting old metal frames like this one that I found at Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina here in Charleston, S.C.

Photo 2

The wedding invite is for a friend’s wedding this summer, and creating a keepsake frame for the happy couple is the perfect gift. The invite is already a work of art, with a watercolor illustration of the actual lovebirds in the city where they met and still live: NYC.

The frame I chose for the wedding invitation is a 5×7, but a bigger frame would have been okay too, since you could use pretty paper as a backdrop. Sometimes the rustic, chipped look is perfect. But for this project, I wanted to add splashes of color that match the invitation. If you choose to do the same, you really don’t need anything more than a cheap, tiny tube of paint and a paintbrush.

Now, add a brush of color here and there, remembering all the while that there are zero rules. Painting the whole frame blue would have given this frame an entirely different look, and what I really wanted to accomplish was a little more subtle. I love how the accent color brings out the blues in the invitation.

Grab some glue stick and adhere the invite to the background, and you’re ready to frame it!

Photo 3

Whether you’re framing a wedding invitation for yourself or for a friend, going the DIY route will make it all the more meaningful and enjoyable in the end!

Kelly Rae Smith, a crafts and DIY expert based in Charleston, S.C., writes for Kelly incorporates her crafts ideas in a variety of useful ways, including the frames for wedding invitations she describes in this article. To view more wedding planning ideas, you can visit the Shutterfly website.

Success Story: Rohan Update

June 8, 2015

Rohan with Michael Elder, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

Remember Rohan, a Goodwill client success story from last year who went from donating plasma for extra cash to a valued embroidery art digitizer at Anita Goodesign with full benefits? You can read Rohan’s story here. Rohan was recently awarded one of three GoodWork! Awards at our annual Cornerstone Celebration on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at the Charlotte Convention Center. Rohan continues to thrive at Anita Goodesign as one of only four digitizers in the company, including the CEO, and he even recently welcomed a newborn baby boy, Rohan, Jr.

Watch Rohan’s journey here:

For more information about Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont and its programs and services, visit

Honoring Service Members on Memorial Day

May 22, 2015

Goodwill Staff & Military VeteranOn the last Monday in May every year, the summer season rolls in following an important United States holiday: Memorial Day. All across the country, individuals take the day off and children are pardoned from school to honor and remember the millions of American soldiers who sacrifice so much to defend the lives of civilians. Memorial Day is one collective, patriotic effort to say “thank you” to our heroes who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Goodwill offers services for veterans to successfully reenter the workforce and provide for themselves and their families. Since World War I, Goodwill has worked to meet employment needs of service members and as a collective international organization has provided services to more than 100,000 veterans and military family members. These services include employment and occupational skills training, as well as career and transitional resources to help veterans locate positions as civilians and build careers once their military service ends.

While we enjoy time spent with family and friends this Memorial Day, remember to thank and recognize those who have fallen for our freedom. Consider how you can serve those who are currently struggling to find employment. Donate to a Goodwill near you this Memorial Day to help fund job training and employment services for veterans and their families in our community.

For more information about Goodwill’s programs and services in the Southern Piedmont region of North and South Carolina, visit

Shelve It: Transform an Old Drawer into a Wall Display

May 12, 2015

If you’re an avid thrift store digger like me, chances are you’ve come across a few odds and ends that seem useless at first glance. But if you’re feeling creative, you can envision the potential of anything — even a discarded old drawer.


In a recent visit to a local thrift store, I came across a few drawers and decided to transform one into a quirky wall shelf. What was once a boring cast-off would soon become a conversation starter! Here’s how I did it.

This was a pretty beat-up, dusty drawer, so I started out by cleaning it well with a rag, soap and water. Even after cleaning, it was still a dirty shade of white. I knew then this job would require a lot of paint to spruce it up.

Next, I gathered a few materials, including spray paint, scissors, Modge Podge and a foam brush. I also decided to line the inside of the drawer with sheet music, but you can use anything, like book pages, stationery paper, wall paper or gift wrap.


Then I began the process of spray-painting the drawer a pretty mint green color. Don’t forget to flip it over after it’s had time to dry, and paint the other side, careful to touch up any weird spots.


Next, I placed the sheet music inside to get a good idea of how much I needed to trim off the side in order to fit perfectly in the drawer. Oh, and the sheet music came from the thrift store, too, and it has come in super handy with all kinds of crafts and charming creations.


This is the step where the almighty Modge Podge comes in (seriously, what would we do without it?) Here, I used it to affix the pretty papers to the bottom of the shelf. This will be the backdrop for the soon-to-be shelf.

Finding a lovely knob was important to me, since otherwise it might not be immediately obvious that this was once a drawer, which is the beauty of the project, right? I found this one at a local hardware store. Once the glue dried, I easily affixed the knob with the help of a screwdriver. This is the moment when this vision really began to come together, and I got excited.


The only thing left was to find a spot to display what had become much more than a drawer or even a shelf — it was now wall art!


I decided on a spot in my home office, so I can look up at my cheerful little masterpiece all day long. I filled it with trinkets like a teacup filled with fresh flowers, a cute Elvis clock, and an old photo of my mom, sister, and I on the beach. There’s also a framed notecard that belonged to my grandmother; she saved a mother’s day note from a flower bouquet my father sent her back in the 1960s. He was in Memphis, so I thought that tied in well with the Elvis clock!


I also happened to have a sheet music rose from another day of crafting, so I affixed it to the top to bring the piece together even more. I think it’s the perfect final touch. What do you think?


What kinds of trinkets would you fill your drawer shelf with?

Kelly Rae Smith is a crafts and home décor expert based in Charleston, S.C. who writes for To view a large selection of wall art displays similar to the one Kelly writes about in this article, you can visit the company website.


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