Brandon - Goodwill Graduate

Brandon Success Story

Weber Advertising and Marketing in Lancaster is one of the hundreds of companies who have hired a “Goodwill graduate.” 

This ad agency hired Brandon, who utilized Goodwill’s Mission Services, to help with a variety of projects like developing and checking grocery store circulars. Brandon enjoys his job and being part of this creative crew.

Jim Weber, the president of Weber Advertising and Marketing, said, “Because of Goodwill, we were able to get a great employee like Brandon, who brightens up our office and is productive in helping us achieve our goals.”

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Cheryl - Gaining Confidence and Sense of Self-Worth

Cheryl Success StoryCheryl is one of 1,307 members of The Clubhouse of Lehigh County. Located in Allentown, this Goodwill program offers persons with mental illness a safe and healing environment and a place to explore their personal and career potentials.

Through the Clubhouse, Cheryl was given the opportunity to gain work experience in a supportive environment at the Goodwill Store and Donation Center in Allentown. Store Manager Ryan Huth commented, “We strive to offer a team environment. We want everyone to feel comfortable so if anyone needs anything, they will ask.”

Cheryl has been thriving at this location. She’s become friends with co-workers and some of the regular shoppers. The Director of the Clubhouse Stephanie Visi said, “Cheryl has gained confidence and sense of self-worth from working at the store. It’s a good fit because she loves the retail environment.”

When Cheryl isn’t working, she’s taking art classes at the Baum School of Art. She has an artistic side and buys stencils to makes cards and letterhead. Cheryl, who is young at heart, has a passion for Mustangs, collecting Snoopy items and going to Dorney Park with her son.


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Lavena - Taking Charge of Her Life

Lavena Shifflett, shinning example of the Goodwill mission.

Lavena Shifflett is a shining example of the Goodwill mission.

Lavena took charge of her life. She participated in a Goodwill assessment program so she could gain a better understanding of her abilities, goals, and interests.

Lavena noted, "I needed help with direction." At the same time, she completed her GED. She said, "Somebody gave me a chance and I kept going. People at Goodwill gave me guidance."

After her assessment, she began in a Goodwill paid training program. She immediately showed people that she was a hard worker and overall, she wanted to do a good job.

Because of Lavena's accomplishments and work ethic, she graduated from the training program and was hired as a Goodwill employee. She works for a Goodwill Custodial Crew at the PA Veterinary Laboratory Building and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

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Matthew's Journey

"Matthew loves having a job. He’s become independent and proactive."

Matthew Success StoryYou may not know him by name, but odds are you’ve already seen his face. Matthew’s smile, charm and positive attitude earned him a spot on many of Goodwill’s billboards around central Pennsylvania. For those who know him, his designation as one of the faces of Goodwill is a position well-deserved.Donate to Goodwill

Matthew was born in Pennsylvania and the youngest of five children. When he was seven years old, he moved with his family to Sarasota, Florida. There, his older sister enrolled him in a children’s program at what is now Community Haven, an educational facility that focuses on teaching life skills to people with disabilities. Matthew thrived in a structured environment that provided him with a stable schedule. He learned to read and write. He also became heavily involved with the Boy Scouts and Special Olympics (something he continues to do to this very day). 

As his parents became older and Matthew was in his 40s, his family moved back to Pennsylvania. Matthew’s sister, Ella, and her husband became his legal guardians and took over his care. Before arriving in Pennsylvania, Ella and her husband did some research to find the best place for Matthew to be happy and productive. They contacted Goodwill and Matthew was quickly accepted into a paid training program. Kathy Erney, his vocational counselor, said, “He has always enjoyed custodial work and is dedicated. He never misses a day unless it’s absolutely necessary and his motivation to succeed has helped him overcome challenging behaviors. He is cooperative with staff and, since he is so detail-oriented, the quality of his work is excellent. He has a positive relationship with his family and feels that earning a paycheck is important to being a contributing member of his household.”

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Mary - Navigating Life

Mary Navigating LifeFor most people, walking from a stone surface to grass is no big deal. But for Mary, that could be like trying to step over the Grand Canyon. Mary, who has autism, has limited communication skills and severe sensory issues. She has difficulty handling loud noises, depth perception, changes in routine and terrain. A change in the ground's incline, surface or color presents a huge challenge.

With the help of Goodwill Keystone Area's Community Skills Program, Mary is moving toward overcoming some of those obstacles.

The program helps those with significant disabilities care for their personal needs, such as eating, dressing and hygiene. It focuses on basic housekeeping skills such as wiping tables, dusting and vacuuming and emphasizes how to plan and prepare simple food items. Among other benefits, the program develops work skills and habits necessary for success.

Mary started in a Goodwill vocational program in 2005 shortly after graduating from high school. At the time, she was having trouble navigating her environment, described program manager Bonnie Mock. It was decided about a year ago that she would come to the Community Skills Program to work on her sensory issues. She also spends a lot of time working on communication - talking to her peers and going out in the community and talking with others.

"It's amazing the challenges she has everyday and how hard she works everyday," Mock said. "When she first came to us, just going out to the van and getting in the van was a huge obstacle - just to be able to step into a van. She now does that without a problem."

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