by Kayla Mulliniks
Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth stays true to founder Edgar J. Helms’ philosophy: “Giving a hand up, not a hand out.”
Spanning far beyond the typical thrift store, Goodwill branches out to help people with disadvantages or disabilities to obtain the skills they need to become independent. The North Texas Institute, a proprietary school for the work force, currently offers steps to obtaining a GED and certifications in professional truck driving, communication connectivity, nurse aid training (CNA) and medical office assistants. They are expecting to add a physical therapy certification within the next year.
Kevin Williams, director of North Texas Institute of Goodwill Fort Worth, commends their program, as it graduates 70 percent of its students within a four to six month span, depending on the individual. “We’re breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for individuals who might not have the option of living an independent life,” said Williams. Beyond this, Goodwill also provides job placement services, temporary employment services for surrounding businesses, as well as in-house hiring for their students.
“We always say that we’re in the business of changing lives,” said President and CEO David Cox. Appointed this past March, Cox has always been involved in non-profit organizations.
One of these success stories is Jerri McCade. “When I came to Goodwill, I was a broken person, my life had taken a sharp left turn; it was scary to check the box saying I am an ex-felon,” McCade says.“Goodwill gave me hope, a second chance.” Starting by unloading trucks, McCade took the opportunity, and with hard work and dedication eventually became the assistant manager of transportation. “Without Goodwill, I don’t know where I’d be.” She strives to live up to Goodwill’s philosophy. “There comes a time in your life when you realize you just can’t keep living a selfish life; that lifestyle is unacceptable to me now.” McCade’s daughter is her greatest motivation.
Goodwill takes donations and turns them into so much more Cox explains, “We are so much more than a retail store, we turn donations into jobs. It helps individuals and the community as a whole, and I love that.”