Who says that disability brings to end a person’s dreams of living a normal life? Whoever thinks such will not any more after coming to know about Goodwill’s Work Services Program and its achievements. Goodwill shows the way to people with disabilities to live a dignified self- dependent life just like any other healthy person.
Goodwill’s work services program is an opportunity for people with disabilities to be able to earn a living. The program helps enrolled people to overcome their difficulties and use their skills to earn money and become independent. The program also gives an opportunity to these people to work in Goodwill Industries to get a first-hand experience of contributing as a workforce.
The aim of this program is for its participants, people with physical disabilities, to be able to make a living by putting into use the various skills they have or by learning some new ones. Goodwill’s employees teach the participants the basics of working in a professional workplace and make them ready to take up various skill-based jobs in the community.
Once they are ready most of the participants are employed in Goodwill’s retail store. This, for many, is the first experience of a real job. Here they get to know how life is in a workplace. By interacting with customers the participants learn new skills that help them in their future jobs. Many participants are also employed in clerical or production sectors.
Gina Proctor, 54, is a participant who benefited greatly from the program. She has been a part of the program for the past 10 years, the direct result of which is that she now has a full time job as a clerical assistant in Goodwill Industries.
Before she joined the program Gina had lost all hopes of ever working and contributing to the community. Goodwill showed her the way through its program and now she is a proud member of the Goodwill team, doing work related to human resources. Thanks to the program her disability no more hinders her wish for a normal life.
The program is funded through donations made to Goodwill. Goodwill receives donations in the form of clothes, household items and shoes. These donations are sold to the Goodwill Industries’ branch in Wisconsin, which then funds the program activities taking place in thirty five counties.
Other than donations many events are held annually by Goodwill to raise money for these programs. Various agencies, private as well as government, refer people with disabilities to gain from the benefits of this program. Currently about seventy people are involved in the program.
This job of helping people with disabilities is not easy, and many participants tend to leave it midway. The rest, like Gina, stay till the end and reap its benefits. The program isn't all inclusive though, and the participants have to help themselves too, like Gina did by enrolling in computer classes. As a result she is now able to do data entry work as a part of her job.
Goodwill’s shows the way for people to overcome their disabilities and live a normal life. Adopting their methods or even improving on them is of great help. Though the program still has a long way to go, the signs are good. There is no reason why this noble task cannot help people reap its benefits.