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Goodwill Mission Stories

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Sandrae is a smart, hardworking young woman who felt hopeless going from job to job with no real sense of satisfaction.

Even with a college education and a bright future, she struggled to find employment that offered stability and a path to building a career. Her work life deeply affected every other aspect of her life as she felt she wasn’t living up to her own expectations.

“I didn’t get this feeling that this was a job I could retire in. I lost hope, and that’s when I found Goodwill,” she said.

At Goodwill’s Workforce Connection Center (WCC), Sandrae found essential resources, as well as, guidance and support. In times of frustration, she could always count on staff member Dionna to be there for her with a listening ear. With Dionna’s encouragement, Sandrae was persistent; attending onsite events, updating her resume at resume workshops and researching how to use her skills. Her persistence and hard work paid off – after attending an onsite hiring event with a government agency, she accepted a job as a Recruiting Assistant.

Sandrae shared she is loving her new job. It offers security, flexibility and utilizes her passion for working with people when she attends events around the community. In fact, she returned to the WCC just a month after being hired where she helped with on onsite recruiting event! Now focused on the future, Sandrae sees this job as a stepping stone toward other goals – becoming a homeowner, starting a family and growing in her career.

Stories like Sandrae’s are made possible because of you! Goodwill’s Workforce Connection Centers are funded through your purchases and donations at our Goodwill Store & Donation Centers. Thank you for helping people find meaningful work that leads to stable and successful futures!


Carlos R. - Mission Connect

Watching the journey of our participants through Goodwill’s programs is something we are so fortunate to be a part of. 

For just over a year, Carlos has utilized Job Development services through Goodwill’s Supported Employment Services that is funded by the State of Wisconsin’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Individuals in our Supported Employment Services work closely with Goodwill staff, receiving long-term job coaching support to help them develop their skills through work. From the start, staff could tell that Carlos was very interested in getting a job in the community. 

In April of 2019, Carlos also began attending Goodwill’s Community Opportunities Club-North. There, staff reinforced the skills he was gaining through Supported Employment by helping him prepare for potential employment opportunities through a Job Preparation class. This class reviewed interview skills, practiced mock interviews, taught about dressing for success and allowed practice of hands-on tasks often found in the workplace. Carlos worked closely with his Job Developer to find a good fit – a Temporary Work Experience (TWE) was offered with a local theater in August 2019. His hard work and new skills were hard to miss; before his TWE was even complete, Carlos was offered a permanent position with the theater! Today, he is excelling at his job and through his Supported Employment team, he continues to learn and further grow his job skills. Carlos continues to talk about how much the Job Preparation class, and the support of his supervisors helped him secure this new position. We are so very proud of him.

Carlos’ Supported Employment Services were funded through the State of Wisconsin-Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Other funding sources can include Family Care, Community Care, I-Care, Care WI, IRIS, High Schools or Private Pay. Supported Employment Services are offered in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Contact Goodwill’s Intake Coordinator at (855) 455-1110 to make a referral or for more information.


Molly Picture

Meet Molly - a fun, active and social young woman who attends Goodwill’s Waukesha Day Services program. Summer is always busy for Molly and Goodwill proogram members, as their days are filled with outdoor activities like Garden Club, sailboat excursions on Lake Michigan and trips to the Milwaukee County Zoo (one of Molly’s favorites!)

long with Molly, 30 other participants come to the Waukesha site each week to learn, enjoy group 024_editedactivities, and practice their communication skills, as they socialize with others. In addition to fun outdoor outings, favorite activities include indoor bowling, movie Fridays and creating rhythms and songs in music therapy sessions.

Supporting adults with disabilities to enjoy active and fulfilling lives is the mission of Goodwill’s Day Services programs, which includes encouraging independence. A key part of the program is advocating participant choice in their day-to-day experiences.

“I see participants thrive when they are able to make decisions when given choices of activities or outings they want to participate in. They give input during participant council meetings I hold,” says Case Manager, Tina J.

Involving participants in creating the monthly activities calendar is one of the ways individuals are empowered to communicate and share their interests with the group. The variety of options allows participants to experience new things out in the greater community, while still enjoying longtime favorite activities. These opportunities and group experiences foster growth in learning and independence in the lives of each participant, including Molly.

“In Molly’s time here, I’ve witnessed her make new friends, choose the activities she wants to participate in, increase her communication and learn how to constructively work through emotions when feeling frustrated or mad. I’m very proud to work in this program at this center,” shares Tina.

Goodwill’s Day Services programs are made possible because of your purchases and donations at our Goodwill Store & Donation Centers. Thank you for your continued support of our mission!



Luis e-cycle 2

Goodwill launched EmpowerOne in 2017, with a goal to provide a network of services that would allow individuals with disabilities to follow their own path to employment in the community. The program offers a range of services individuals can choose from to fit their goals including soft skill building, on-the-job training, and connection to community employment opportunities. Luis’s story is one that exemplifies this journey.

Luis first joined Goodwill Day Services in 2011 after graduating from high school. When EmpowerOne launched its foundational skill building track, he was among the first small group of individuals who transitioned into the program. Luis had expressed the desire to have a job in the community but was not fully equipped with the skills he needed to be successful. EmpowerOne provided Luis with opportunities to explore different vocations and develop a variety of work and independent living skills such as cooking and money management, as well as soft skills including problem-solving and building self-esteem.

Luis TB (1)

Luis learned and practiced a wide variety of job skills – from food preparation and gardening, to grocery clerking and laundry care. Aside from what he learned in training, Luis also spent time in the community volunteering and practicing skills such as table service, stocking shelves and cleaning. Luis has completed two on-the-job training rotations and is finishing up his final training in general office work. Through these experiences, he is learning new employment skills and is one step closer to achieving his goal of having a job in the community.

“Luis’s strengths and skills have matured as he has developed new confidence in himself,” shared Stephanie, an EmpowerOne instructor. “His goals became clearer through job exploration and his communication skills improved. Aside from his positivity, friendly disposition and great sense of humor, Luis demonstrates many character traits which will make him an excellent employee and natural leader.  Any employer ought to be thrilled to have this young man on their team!”

Click here to learn more about Goodwill's EmpowerOne programs.



Steven Morimoto served in the military for six years as a combat medic. However, like many Veterans, Steven found it very challenging to transition to civilian life. Then he found Goodwill.


As a lead technician at Goodwill E-Cycle, Steven overcame issues with anxiety and PTSD and found opportunities to grow within the company, including completing the Donald Driver Mentorship program.

Today, Steven looks forward to coming to work every day, because Goodwill feels like family to him.

Watch the video below for more.


Dane-Then-1Daane Hoffman enlisted in January of 1999. Before getting orders to Naval Station 32nd Street in San Diego, he completed his basic training and Radioman A-school at Naval Station Great Lakes. Now 20 years later, Daane has returned to the base, but this time as an employee of Goodwill.

Called by a sense of duty and an interest in international travel, he would follow in his father's footsteps and several other family members before him, joining the Navy. Daane was deployed aboard the USS Tarawa LHA-1 and was part of the recovery team for the attacked USS Cole. He then served on the USNS Niagara Falls T-AFS3, which provided ongoing supply support of the fleets in the Persian Gulf amidst Operation Enduring Freedom. His last deployment was with the USS Boxer LHD-4 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Working in the Communications Division, he worked to establish and maintain Network Communications internal to the ship, shore and command wide on Unclassified, Classified and Secret Networks. However, that is only part of what he did.

“When you are in the Navy you are expected to pitch in and help. I might be configuring systems one minute, the next I am standing watch protecting the ship or called to contain a fire below deck and then hauling deliveries like cigarettes and food aboard the ship. That’s just how thing worked,” Daane explained.

The experience taught him soft skills like accountability and self-pride, but it’s the connections he made that he values the most.

“I met a lot of people I would never have otherwise encountered. People from the Bronx to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains become your shipmates. Some people join for a job and training, some for college, some to escape bad environments like gangs or broken families. You are immersed in a cultural environment that cannot be matched anywhere. Regardless why, we all were there to serve our Country. The experience gave me a deeper understanding of people in general,” Daane said. After 5 years of active duty and three years with the Naval Reserves, Daane completed his service. He would continue his IT career as a civilian, which would eventually lead him to Goodwill and a chance to return to where his military career began.


“I just left a huge corporation that was purely profit driven. When the position at Goodwill sprang up in my search, it immediately caught my interest and I applied. During the interview process, I learned a bit more about Goodwill, what it does on and off the base and had a genuine connection with the people interviewing. It just felt right to accept the position when offered,” he recalled.

For over 20 years, Goodwill has provided food service, laundry, administrative and logistic services at Naval Station Great Lakes. In terms of numbers, this means we serve an average of 8.9 million meals, handle 2.1 million pieces of mail and issue 2.6 million uniform pieces to Sailors and Recruits each year.

“There’s a large comfort that comes over me, knowing that I am back here. Sure, I may have found a job in my field at some company, but it wouldn’t be the same. There’s a unique environment at NSGL that you aren’t going to find elsewhere as a veteran and it was a chance to give back. Working for a company that does so much good for the community is just an added bonus,” he explained.

Goodwill thanks Daane and other veterans for their service. If you are a Veteran, Reservist or member of the National Guard member looking for employment, we have your next mission! To apply, click this link to view our current openings.


Daniel, who works at the Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Westchester, IL, is not someone who shies away from a challenge.Daniel, who works at the Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Westchester, IL, is not someone who shies away from a challenge. Being born prematurely led to Daniel having some developmental challenges, including a speech impediment and learning disabilities, but that did not stop him from accomplishing more goals than most people could dream of. 

Special Chronicles

Ten years ago, Daniel felt there were people in the mainstream community who didn’t understand what individuals with disabilities were capable of. This inspired him to create Special Chronicles, a non-profit media platform that produces podcasts and news pieces that give respect and a voice to people with special needs. The podcast has listeners in over 80 countries, has been nominated for multiple media awards, and has helped to build understanding, acceptance and inclusion for those with special needs.

Journalist & Advocate

Daniel is a 2012 graduate of Roosevelt University Chicago, where he was presented with the Matthew Freeman Award for Social Justice in the Spring of 2012 for his work in promoting awareness of disabilities. He was also a recipient of the Headline Club’s prestigious Les Brownlee Scholarship for Journalism.

Athlete & Ambassador

Since becoming involved with Special Olympics at age 14, Daniel is now an accomplished swimmer as well as a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger with Special Olympics. This past March, he traveled to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games where he spoke at several events and hosted the Abu Dhabi Daily Show, a podcast on

Daniel is one of many people on the Goodwill team who have helped us grow and support inclusion and respect of those with disabilities in our 100-year history. We are honored to have him on our Goodwill team!

Ten years ago, Daniel felt there were people in the mainstream community who didn’t understand what individuals with disabilities were capable of. This inspired him to create Special Chronicles, a non-profit media platform that produces podcasts and news pieces that give respect and a voice to people with special needs.



Crystal was a young teen mother when she began working at Goodwill. Faced with the challenges of a baby to care for, her job attendance began to suffer. After talking with the Goodwill management team, Crystal focused on how to improve her situation and entered Goodwill's Career Path program. Now Crystal enjoys a healthy work-life balance and providing for her son. When you shop and donate to Goodwill the revenue from the sale of donated goods helps people like Crystal overcome barriers and gain independence.


For Ron, working at Goodwill is the best job he's ever had. He's seen first-hand how Goodwill saves lives. As a Director of Goodwill's Supply Chain, Ron oversees an operation of 75 people, and each person has a story to share. For some it's about transformation, for others it means overcoming hardships as well as gaining dignity and independence.





Barriers to employment can take many forms. For some, child care or transportation issues can make it difficult to find or keep a job. For others, it may be a language or literacy issue. Serving people with disadvantages is a part of the Goodwill mission, and Keishla is an example of what happens when barriers are broken.

While living in Puerto Rico, Keishla graduated with degrees in forensic science and chemistry but was unable to obtain meaningful employment and was struggling to support herself. Faced with fear and limited career options after graduation, Keishla was determined to move her life forward and made the difficult decision to leave her family in Puerto Rico and move to Wisconsin for a fresh start.


Keishla didn’t let her limited communication skills stop her from setting goals and believing in herself. Upon arriving in Wisconsin, she discovered Goodwill TalentBridge and was eager to fill out an application for employment and get to work. TalentBridge, Goodwill’s staffing and recruitment service, placed Keishla in a Material Handler position at Goodwill E-cycle, our electronics recycling and refurbishment operation. Never one to stop learning, Keishla trained on the forklift and was promoted to Lead Material Handler, where she helps to improve procedures for her and her coworkers at Goodwill. Keishla loves that she can be creative at her job while sharing new ideas in a collaborative workplace.

Keishla continues to broaden her horizons by taking English communication courses and has found unexpected help from her coworkers through tutoring and lunchtime conversations. Since coming to work at Goodwill E-cycle, Keishla has been able to achieve her dreams of a better life–her own apartment, buying a car and continuing her English education. She is thankful for Goodwill’s support. Keishla believes in herself and wants her peers to believe in themselves. As she often says, “it’s only a matter of knowing how to handle situations in your life. The sky is the limit!”

“Goodwill is like my second family.” – Keishla

Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440