Thanks to our local friend & artist Macklemore, Goodwill is known as a great place to find secondhand clothes that are unique and vintage.
In the words of Macklemore, “Imma’ wear your grandpa’s style, imma’ wear your grandpa’s style”.
I have always known Goodwill as a place to take all the stuff I can’t sell at my garage sale… A few times a year I clean out my closets and garage and take several big black garbage bags in, mostly wanting to de-clutter and get a tax write off.
Well, this past week I was invited to visit the Goodwill “Milgard Work Opportunity Center” in Tacoma, Washington, and was absolutely floored by the number of programs that Goodwill has in place to give back to the local community. Talk about a company that loves and lives their mission! Talking to the staff members there, there was an overwhelming sense of a community of people dedicated to doing the right thing and giving back… really an excellent display of humanity!
Goodwill uses their thrift store revenues and community support to fund their training campuses which provide career skills, job training, miscellaneous education, and job placement. Their tag line, “Jobs Change Lives” was in full-swing at the Goodwill Milgard Work Center, I had the chance to check out these cool life-changing programs while there:
- Free math center (that’s right, FREE math tutoring to the community)
- GED classroom to help people continue their education
- Barista school helping people learn basic job skills
- Their FREE tax center (my favorite) where they assist hundreds of people annually who either normally would not file, or do not have the finances to hire a tax professional to help them maximize their returns – they average over $1 million dollars$ in return dollars annually!
- Their YOUTH BUILD center where people attend free class to learn hands-on construction skills… this facility was amazing!
- Their online shopping center (yes, you can shop Goodwill online these days!) that teaches valuable E-Commerce Skills
- Their Culinary Arts Skills Training center (we actually ate there and it was lovely!) that provides 6-week courses on-site in their restaurant
The delicious spread of food put on for us by the culinary team in training at the Goodwill Milgard Work Center. Even my daughter’s kid’s meal was fancy!
A look inside their Youth Build Room, learning while watching a student practice drywall work.
Their free tax center brought to life by a partnership with Key Bank. Key Bank was there that day and surprised Goodwill with a $30,000 donation towards the tax center!
The Goodwills in this region alone provide free workplace training to 9,800 people annually, and successfully places about 2,800 of them into jobs thanks to their partnership with over 1,300 partnering companies. If all this doesn’t inspire you to give back to Goodwill, I don’t know what will! 🙂
The extra cool thing about Goodwill is that giving back to them can be as easy as one of two things…
- Donate your cool unwanted stuff and they will put it to good use at one of their stores, or
- Shop their super cool stores!
A few more “Did you know” questions come into play here…
Did you know that you can shop Goodwill online? YEP! https://www.shopgoodwill.com/, bookmark it! This is part of the E-Commerce training I was talking about. As they sort items, some of the most unique are taken to a secret storage and posted for sale on their website. This allows the truly cool stuff to find a home for someone who is super interested in the find, instead of sitting on a shelf getting dusty.
Also, did you know that here in Washington State, Goodwill has a SPECIAL SEASONAL Halloween/Costume store… it actually is the biggest in the nation! Similar to the online store, some of the really cool finds that would work really well as a costume are sent here… a Cosplayers dream!
During the Halloween season you will find it full of creative costume supplies of all kinds, and after Halloween it transforms into a Winter Wonderland!
For the second part of the tour, we were invited down to this Halloween store just outside of Tacoma to experience all that they have to offer… we picked out some awesome costumes for myself, my daughter AND my husband! Plus, Goodwill had some employee cosplayers on-site who gave us a cool presentation on how to put together super unique costumes by thrifting and re-purposing items. I picked out a beautiful Elsa dress for myself (I think it originated as a prom dress but was PERFECT for Elsa), and a little Anna one for my daughter… and to my dismay she was not impressed… she wanted to be SPOOKY! We found the cutest little ghost dress, and a makeup artist who was on-site volunteered to add some spooky makeup to her face. In case it is not apparent from the pictures, my daughter LOVED it and was even playing into the look! What a funny, scary little two-year-old.
My daughter in her makeup as a ‘spooky ghost’, then later playing with the girls dressed up in Cosplay. The Lieutenant Hops costume was her favorite!
If there is anything you take away from this post, I hope it is either some knowledge of the amazing programs your Goodwill donations benefit, or the fact that they have this awesome Halloween and Cosplay location for you to shop!
14918 Pacific Ave S, Parkland, WA 98444