From Employment Services to a Fitness and Technology Center, the Generous Nonprofit Organization Welcomes All
Written By: Raphael Madrid
Photographed By/Photos Provided By: Goodwill of Orange County
When you step into Goodwill, it might not seem like a special place, but behind the scenes, it presents a special meaning to many people. We may not always see it and it may not directly affect us, but since 1924 the Goodwill of Orange County has continued to provide vital guidance and services to thousands of people in need. Through a host of nonprofit programs and facilities driven by the public’s donations, Goodwill of OC helps empower and change lives for the better.
Goodwill of Orange County
The Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) is a place that provides services and solutions for people of all ages who have challenges communicating at school, home or work. ATEC is imperative in helping individuals and their families lead better lives by utilizing different technological materials to improve their everyday functionality and independence. Through ATEC, people like Beckett, a five-year-old diagnosed with an intellectual disability, was provided a program called “Proloquo2go” to improve his communication skills at home, school and in daily life. In addition, he and his family were trained by knowledgeable staff on the program and continued to aid in its implementation through practice.
Goodwill of OC’s Employment Services are various programs and services designed to educate and provide individuals the opportunity to join the workforce. Services like “Supported Employment” help participants with the search for employment opportunities and provide training from an Employment Training Specialist to coach and support them. Through the education and support of Goodwill of OC’s employment services, individuals like Lester, a former janitor-turned-mailroom clerk at the Laguna Niguel IRS Office, can be put into a position to succeed and lead a better life. Every day, he is able to perform all his duties with a smile and has become an integral part of his team.
The Rogers A. Severson Fitness and Technology Center is a state of the art facility uniquely designed for individuals living with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities. While this 12,000 square-foot center is a resource for people that need physical therapy and assistive technology to help guide them toward an independent life, it also serves as a supportive community for people living with similar circumstances. Ryan, a 25-year-old that became paraplegic from a terrible car accident, has used the center and its resources to live a more active life, post- accident. “My trainer is phenomenal. He is constantly pushing my limits… The Fitness and Technology Center is much more than just a gym,” says Ryan.
Goodwill of OC provides services like Independent Living Skills (ILS) and DEAFinitely Professional Interpreting (DPI) for the deaf or hard-of hearing. These tools provide much-needed assistance to those with hearing disabilities and address the barriers they may face in the workplace and everyday life. These resources are tailored to improve independence and reduce barriers that face them such as employment, communication, basic math and reading.
The Tierney Center for Veteran Services is run by veterans, welcoming all former servicemen and their families and guiding them through a host of assistive programs. The center has a vital network of resources that help United States Air Force veteran, Ildefonzo, prepare his skill set and confidence to land a promising career path in engineering with a global leader in the water industry.
Remember that age-old saying: “One man’s trash may be another one’s treasure.” Donating goods that no longer serve a purpose to you not only allows you to make space for new things—it also provides an opportunity for someone else to give those goods love. In addition, it provides something even more priceless to someone who needs it. Ninety-two cents of every dollar spent at Goodwill stores go toward vital programs; any support provided to Goodwill of OC continues to aid in their efforts to meet the goals of increasing choices for individuals facing barriers to employment.
Goodwill of Orange County
410 N Fairview St
Santa Ana, CA 92703