Four Goodwill Programs You Need to Know About

The first thing that often comes to mind when most people hear “Goodwill” is hidden treasures and steals on pre-owned clothing and furniture – all for a good cause, of course. But the organization is more than just a retailer, offering programs that help youth, veterans, and people who are homeless or disabled connect with jobs and live independently.

“These services are the best-kept secrets,” said Liz Confiliano, director of public relations at Goodwill.

Ninety-three cents of every dollar Goodwill makes goes toward such programs, the four main ones being Goodwill Works, Vet Worthy, E-Squared and S.T.A.R.S.

“Just being able to tie together what someone donates to Goodwill, when someone shops at Goodwill, when someone attends an event like Project Goodwill or our golf tournament in the fall, all of that money goes to fund this,” Confiliano said. “That’s why we do what we do.” 

Here’s a breakdown of each program.

Goodwill Works Goodwill Works is a program that focuses on connecting the homeless with employment. Partnering with organizations like the Presbyterian Night Shelter and Union Gospel Mission, Goodwill helps with resume building, cover-letter writing, job searching and interview skills.

Vet Worthy Similar to Goodwill Works, Vet Worthy is for veterans and their families. The program has served more than 400 people to date, helping not only with the job search, but also offering resources like mental health counseling, food and housing assistance, and legal aid.

E-Squared E-Squared, or E2, focuses on young people between ages 16-24 who are out of school and in need of work. Participants get the opportunity to study for a GED on-site at Goodwill’s Campus Drive location, as well as work half a day at Goodwill’s store, dock or internal department.

S.T.A.R.S. S.T.A.R.S., which stands for Skills Training Achieves Results, helps those with disabilities learn basic skills to help them gain independence. Participants take part in four different classes: Apartment, which teaches skills like cooking and laundry; Music and Fitness, which has students express themselves through music and movement; Art and Drama, where students participate in plays, puppet shows, and creative projects; and S.T.A.R.S. Lounge, where they participate in leisure activities like video games, movies and board games.
Another part of the S.T.A.R.S. program is the GreenWorks Learning Center, a greenhouse that opened in May, thanks to a $45,000 grant from Hoblitzelle Foundation. Through GreenWorks, S.T.A.R.S. students participate in horticulture therapy and learn how to grow plants.