Each year, Marquette University High School (MUHS) seniors volunteer at
Goodwill’s Day Services
as part of the school’s
Senior Shared Life program
. This year, two young men helped at the
Waukesha Adult Center (WAC)
and one young man helped at the
Community Opportunities Club (COC) South
. Although the Goodwill participants and staff received a great deal of help and happiness from the three students, it was the men themselves who feel that they were rewarded even more.
Jack Sheffield of Cedarburg and Jake Klenz of Muskego, both volunteered at Goodwill’s WAC. Jack also works at the
Goodwill Store & Donation Center
in Grafton and that was the reason why he chose Goodwill for his Shared Life assignment. “The Shared Life program usually has opportunities in nursing homes, schools, and places with underprivileged children. Because I knew about the [Goodwill] day centers, I asked to work there,” said Jack. “Probably the biggest thing I learned was how welcoming everyone was to me, a stranger. The participants are really friendly to everyone they meet. They are so neat.” Jack’s highlight of each day was reading the newspaper to the participants. Jack’s future plans include studying at UW-Madison for a degree in law, eventually becoming an attorney.
Jake Klenz was intrigued by the ability of participants to communicate so well – nonverbally. He learned how to connect with them using gestures, expressions and other signs. “I was fascinated by their ability to adapt and be creative in their communication. They were perfectly fine figuring out how to tell me things,” he said. “They have a lot to say and aren’t going to let obstacles stop them from saying it. I was really impressed with them.” After graduation from MUHS, Jake plans to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland to study Chemical Engineering. After four years of college, he will have five years of service to complete for the Navy. His favorite memory of his time at Goodwill was making the Mardi Gras masks. “The creativity of it all was amazing. There was glitter everywhere; ribbons were hanging off of the masks; feathers were flying through the air. And all the participants were so happy having all that fun!”
John Wallace, an Eagle Scout from Milwaukee, had a very positive experience at COC South. Through his scouting, he had previously worked with people with special needs and found it quite rewarding. In fact, John knew one of the participants at COC South from the LeFeber Northwoods Camp last year, where John was a counselor and the participant was a camper!
John’s future plans include entering the Navy Reserve and studying IT. In 2018, he wants to attend UW-Platteville and major in Mechanical Engineering. One of the surprising things he learned from working at Goodwill is that we have many services at
Naval Station Great Lakes
, where he will undergo basic training. He was thrilled to find out that Goodwill issues uniforms, sorts mail, and handles food service in the galleys. “That will be a cool continuation of my Goodwill connection,” he said.
When asked about his favorite memories of his Shared Life experience at Goodwill, John reminisced, “Al’s and Marvin’s personalities remind me so much of my grandfather. They joke around just like him and love playing games – especially cards – just like my grandfather.” The biggest thing he learned from COC South: “We’re all pretty much the same. Each of us has certain abilities and every one of us has different disabilities, if you stop and think about it. We’re not really that different from one another.”