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Davidson Co. Judge Visits Area Goodwill Store To Praise Probationer

After Years of  Trouble with the Law, Man Achieves Sobriety, Lands Job

 

Darnell Whitworth had faced Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Steve R. Dozier half a dozen times over the years, but never like this. He was nervous, fidgeting with his uniform as he stood looking at the judge.

“We wanted to come up and congratulate you,” Dozier said as Whitworth’s face lit up. “You’re doing a good job.”

The two men shook hands as they stood in the center aisle of the Goodwill store on Nashville Pike in Gallatin Friday, and Dozier gave Whitworth a gift card for groceries. The judge said it was the first time in his 17 years on the bench he had ever gone outside the courtroom to honor a probationer for good progress.

“We probably, as a court, don’t take enough time to recognize the good in people,” he said. “That’s why we came out here.”

For at least two decades, Whitworth struggled with alcohol addiction, having been in and out of court and jail for a variety of usually minor offenses. Things got worse seven years ago after his daughter, whom he calls “my princess,” was born with Down’s Syndrome.

“I started drinking to hide all the pain and emotions I was going through,” he recalls.

He had trouble finding places to live. He missed meetings with his probation officer. He was running out of chances, and people who cared about him feared he might end up in prison.

But that didn’t happen. Instead, on Friday, Whitworth was the man of the hour.

Besides the judge, his case officer with Davidson County Community Corrections, his case manager and site manager with Buffalo Valley Inc. addiction treatment center, his Goodwill Career Solutions counselor and his Goodwill store supervisors were on hand to praise him.

“I’m actually living a good life now, and I appreciate you all for everything, especially the big guy over here,” Whitworth said, referring to the judge. “At first, I thought he was short because he was sitting behind the bench. I never stood this close to him.”

Whitworth wore the blue Goodwill smock he dons to sweep and clean the Gallatin store. It was the 40-year-old’s last day as a paid trainee in a custodial position with Goodwill Career Solutions. Having enthusiastically completed his training and passed his drug test and other hurdles, his supervisors welcomed him as a permanent employee.

“You look terrible in orange, you know that?” the judge asked Whitworth, referring to the standard orange inmate attire at the Davidson County Jail. “You look better in blue.”

Whitworth also wore a coin on a chain around his neck, a token he received in December after completing a 60-day alcohol treatment program at Buffalo Valley Inc. in Castilian Springs. The Nashville native now lives in Buffalo Valley’s transitional housing in Gallatin and attends four Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week. He will remain there through September.

“Every day I get up and thank God for giving me a chance to get up clean and sober, and then I thank God for all the people who had a hand in it,” Whitworth said.

There was even more to celebrate. Not long after Whitworth entered the alcohol treatment program, he visited the Zion Upper Room Apostolic Faith Church in Gallatin with Buffalo Valley Site Manager Douglas Fuqua, who who attends church there. Whitworth recognized the pastor and suddenly realized he was standing in the church where he’d been baptized 15 years earlier.

Whitworth, who has extensive knowledge of the Bible, now attends services regularly and hopes to receive his minister’s license to preach at the church soon.

Dozier said he appreciates organizations that are willing to hire people with a criminal record.

“It’s a risk that Goodwill takes, but it’s something they need to be  proud of as well, helping not only Darnell but helping the community keep him out of trouble,” he said.

Many of those present for the judge’s visit to Goodwill, including Whitworth, shed tears as he talked about his road to recovery, his rediscovery of his faith and how his mother and his four children can now be proud of him.

“Yes, I did something — I accomplished something,” he said. “I get to just live a life, a chance I didn’t get to do when I was drinking and not caring.”

When the judge admonished him to keep working and stay on the right path,

Whitworth responded, “I’ve worked too hard to go back.”

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at  www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231.

 

 

 

 

FirstBank Conducts Goodwill Donation Drive

Sixteen Branches Gather Gently Used Clothes, Household Items from Customers and Employees

Sixteen FirstBank branches around middle and west Tennessee are conducting a donation drive for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee to benefit its mission of providing employment and training opportunities for people struggling to find a job.

The drive will last throughout the month of March. Bank employees, customers and the community are encouraged to participate by bringing their donations of gently used clothing, shoes, housewares and other goods into the bank, where clearly marked bins will be set up to receive them.

“FirstBank is very involved in our communities and always take the opportunity to give back when we can,” said Jordan Waldron, FirstBank’s vice president of marketing and public relations, explaining why the bank chose to hold a Goodwill donation drive. “Our goal is to fill as many bins as we can. We know that every little bit helps and makes a difference.”

Participating branches can be found at:

  • 126 Highway 641 North and 21 N. Forest Ave. in Camden
  • 2202 Fairview Blvd. in Fairview
  • 1927 Wilson Parkway in Fayetteville
  • 510 Columbia Ave. Suite 106 in Franklin
  • 855 Conference Dr. Suite 100 in Goodlettesville
  • 28915 Broad St. in Hollow Rock
  • 15 University Parkway in Jackson
  • 4110 N. Mt. Juliet Road in Mt. Juliet
  • 615 Memorial Blvd. and 2670 New Salem Highway in Murfreesboro
  • 2121 Abbott Martin Road and 211 Commerce St. Suite 300 in Nashville
  • 450 Tennessee Ave. South in Parsons
  • 200 W. Main St. in Smithville
  • 417 S. Lowry St. in Smyrna

More information about the drive can be obtained by contacting Jordan Waldron, FirstBank’s vice president of marketing and public relations, at (615) 248-9761 or jwaldron@firstbankonline.com, and information about FirstBank is available at www.firstbankonline.com. More information about Goodwill corporate donation drives is available at giveit2goodwill.org/donate/donation-drives/ or call (800) 545-9231 to set up a drive today.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at  www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231.

About FirstBank
FirstBank is the third largest Tennessee-based bank, with 48 banking locations across Tennessee and Alabama and mortgage locations across the Southeast. The bank serves every major metropolitan market in the state and, with $2.4 billion in total assets, has the resources to provide a comprehensive variety of financial services and products. FirstBank follows a community-banking model which began when the charter was issued in 1906 as Farmers State Bank, in Scotts Hill, Tenn. As Tennessee’s premier community bank, FirstBank is committed to its role as a leader in the communities it serves. That commitment is reflected by the Ayers Foundation Scholars program, a scholarship fund established by FirstBank Chairman and sole shareholder James W. Ayers to advance higher education for young people in Tennessee.

 

 

Goodwill Stores Likely To Open, Many Other Facilities Closed By Winter Weather

Most Goodwill stores across middle and west Tennessee were open Thursday, although many other Goodwill facilities closed because of another round of snow and ice.

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee declared a bad weather day and encouraged all employees to make their safety the top priority. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the region which has seen snow and ice accumulations of 2-6 inches.

Some stores opened late, and a few remained closed. Goodwill’s 83 Donation Exchange Centers across the 48-county territory were closed. Ten of Goodwill’s 29 Career Solutions centers opened Thursday morning; the remainder were closed.

Phone numbers, hours and other information for individual Goodwill stores, Career Solutions Centers and Donation Express Centers can be found on our website, giveit2goodwill.org.

 

Wedding Dress Sale Under Way at Rivergate Goodwill

Hundreds of beautiful wedding dresses and prom gowns will be sold at bargain prices at Nashville’s Rivergate  area Goodwill store from now until April 4.

The sale is being held in lieu of Goodwill’s annual Wedding Gala, which was put on hold this year but will return in 2016. The dresses can be found in a featured section at the front of the Rivergate store, located near Rivergate Mall at 2101 Gallatin Rd, Madison, TN.

“Our other stores will have a few gowns in stock, but we are trying to concentrate them at Rivergate so customers will find a wide selection in various sizes,” Goodwill’s Director of Retail Jeff Luther said. “We will be replenishing the stock daily as they are sold.”

Prices for wedding dresses will range from $19.99 up, depending on the quality and type of gown. Prom dresses will be priced as low as $9.99.

Shoppers have two more chances to buy them at extreme discounts: Saturday March 21, during a half-off clothing sale, and April 4, the next storewide half-off sale.

The Rivergate Goodwill store is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.

 

New Goodwill Store Planned in Bellevue

Former Toys “R” Us Space To Include Career Solutions Center

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee is expanding with a new store, Goodwill Career Solutions center and covered, drive-through Donation Express Center in the former Toys “R” Us location in Nashville’s Bellevue community.

The thoroughly remodeled, 35,091-square-foot building at 7663 U.S. Highway 70 South will open in early June. The facility is expected to create 45-50 new jobs.

“We’re excited to bring the full complement of Goodwill’s employment and training services to the Bellevue area and to increase our longstanding investment in the community,” said Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas. “Community residents will now be able to donate their gently used items, get help finding a job and enjoy a top-notch shopping experience at the reasonable prices Goodwill is known for, all in a single location.”

Goodwill first established a presence in the Bellevue Community in 1997 with a donations site. In December of 2006, Goodwill chose 247 Old Hickory Blvd. in Bellevue as the site of its first free-standing, drive-through Donations Express Center. There is another Donations Express Center at 8056 Highway 100 in the Shoppes on the Harpeth.

“The Bellevue Harpeth Chamber is excited for the opportunity that Goodwill has taken to fill the retail space formerly occupied by Toys-R-Us,” said Jad A. Duncan, president of the Bellevue Harpeth Chamber of Commerce. “Our excitement seems to match the sentiment of the Bellevue community as well.

“Goodwill is an excellent organization that truly embraces the spirit of our community by giving back to our citizens,” he added. “With two other locations in Bellevue, Goodwill expanding its footprint in the community makes perfect sense, and we look forward to years of partnering together.”

Goodwill Career Solutions offers free one-on-one job training and placement services to people who need help getting a job. In 2014, Goodwill assisted 28,159 people at its 29 Career Solutions centers in Middle and West Tennessee. Of those, 9,558 landed jobs. Goodwill offers these free services through the generosity of its donors and shoppers. The funds used to deliver Career Solutions services are generated through the sale of donated items.

The new Goodwill store and Career Solutions Center are a reflection of Goodwill’s commitment to the community and an outgrowth of Bellevue’s support over the years for Goodwill’s mission, Goodwill Vice President of Retail David Jenkins said.

“This is not your typical Goodwill,” he said. “Our average store sales floor is 17,000 square feet. Bellevue’s store will have a sales floor of 25,000 square feet, making it the second-largest in our 48-county area.”

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at  www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231.

Most Stores Open on Time as Winter Storms Stretch Into Third Day

All but one of Goodwill’s 34 stores opened on time Wednesday as snow fell in some parts of Middle and West Tennessee, keeping salt trucks and snowplows busy for a third consecutive day.

The store at 205A Indian Lake Boulevard in Hendersonville was without power at 7:30 a.m., along with other businesses in the area, forcing management to delay opening for customers until after the power was restored about 9:40 a.m.

Another arctic blast was forecast to deliver brutally cold temperatures — with wind chills as low as -15 degrees — overnight and through midday Thursday.

Only one of the 29 Goodwill Career Solutions centers —  780 Berry Road in Nashville — remained closed Wednesday. Though clients were being assisted at open centers, many of the job fairs that had been scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday were being postponed.

Some of Goodwill’s Donation Express Centers were closed Wednesday, although drive-through donation sites and those located at stores were open.

Hours at Goodwill facilities remaining open are subject to change according to the weather. Phone numbers, hours and other information for individual Goodwill stores, Career Solutions Centers and Donation Express Centers can be found on our website, giveit2goodwill.org.

Goodwill Stores Open as Ice Storm Extends into Second Day

Goodwill stores were open Tuesday as the effects of an ice storm extended into a second day across much of middle and west Tennessee, but many other Goodwill facilities remained closed for the safety of employees.

David Jenkins, vice president of retail for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, said district managers were working with the staff of each store to determine whether they could open for business.

“There’s a fine balance between wanting to serve the customer and serving the employees to keep them safe,” he said. “If a customer is willing to brave the weather to get up to our stores, the last thing we want is for them to find a locked door. If we can do anything to serve them and do it safely, we want to do it.”

Many roadways remained covered with a hazardous coating of ice, and further snow showers were possible Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Goodwill’s 29 Career Solutions Centers were mostly closed, and job fairs scheduled for Tuesday have been postponed. Of Goodwill’s 81 Donation Express Centers, only those at Goodwill stores remained open.

Hours at the stores and donations sites remaining open are subject to change according to the weather. Phone numbers, hours and other information for individual Goodwill stores, Career Solutions Centers and Donation Express Centers can be found on our website, giveit2goodwill.org.

 

 

Winter Storm Closes Many Goodwill Facilities

While most Goodwill stores were open Monday, most other Goodwill facilities across middle and west Tennessee closed for the protection of employees after an icy winter storm made roads treacherous.

Several Donation Express Centers on government property were already closed because of President’s Day, and many others closed because of the storm. Only those located at stores remained open after 1:30 p.m.

Goodwill’s Career Solutions centers were also closed across the 48-county territory, and the headquarters of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee in downtown Nashville shut down at lunchtime.
Hours at the stores and donations sites remaining open are subject to change according to the weather. Phone numbers, hours and other information for individual Goodwill stores, Career Solutions Centers and Donation Express Centers can be found on our website, giveit2goodwill.org.

Middle School’s Fashion Show To Feature Goodwill Apparel

Girls Learn to Feel Great About Themselves While Shopping on a Budget

Bella LeMieux snagged a silver top and feathery peach skirt for $9.  Kaitlynn Hibdon chose a grey sweater-dress, pink leggings and sparkly boots for $14. And Christina Brenner bought light-blue pants and a “really cute” purple blouse for $13.

They were among 36 girls from Lebanon’s Winfree Bryant Middle School who combed through the racks at the local Goodwill store Saturday, seeking runway-ready expressions of their unique style. The store opened an hour early for the group.

The students from grades 6-8 will show off their newly acquired apparel when the school presents its third annual Second-Hand Chic fashion show at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in the school auditorium. Preparation for the event, which will be open to the public, introduces the girls to wise shopping habits, showing them it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to find stylish clothes.

“It’s eye-opening for everybody,” Principal Becky Kegley said. “We have girls who go to expensive stores and never thought about shopping at Goodwill. They suddenly realize, ‘Wow. This is really cool. I can shop here and get just as good of an outfit.’”

But dressing sharp on a budget is just one of the lessons students learn, Kegley said.

“Middle school is a really hard time for girls. A lot of them have low self-esteem, so we give them a moment to shine,” she explained. “Also, it’s about supporting the girls and finding mentors to help them see their true value and worth.”

Participants in the show — 12 from each grade — were hand-picked from a group of about 300 interested girls represent a wide range of backgrounds and resources, Kegley said. Each of the participants shopped with a teacher or parent to help them select their outfits.

Saturday’s purchases were made mostly with funds donated by educators at Winfree Bryant Middle School.

Supporting Goodwill, which provides training and employment opportunities for people in Wilson County and across Middle Tennessee, makes the experience even better, Kegley said. Her students agreed.

“It makes me feel really good, because I feel like I’m giving somebody a job,” said eighth-grader Christina Brenner.

On the day of the show, a local beauty salon will provide free makeup and hair styling, and restaurants will provide dinner and intermission treats. Then, the girls will head out under the lights, accompanied by music, to model their outfits.

“Any time we can get the message across that they are beautiful, that they have true worth, and that we love them, we have accomplished great things,” Kegley said.

SECOND-HAND CHIC FASHION SHOW

When: Thursday, Feb. 19

6 p.m.

Where: Winfree Bryant Middle School auditorium

1213 Leeville Pike

Lebanon, TN

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. In 2014, Goodwill served 28,159 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 9.558 people in jobs. More information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers can be obtained online at  www.giveit2goodwill.org or by calling 1-800-545-9231.

 

Goodwill Surpasses 2014 Job Assistance, Placement Goals

 

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee far exceeded its mission goals for 2014, providing free employment services and job training to 28,159 people and helping 9,558 land jobs.

Goodwill’s goals for last year were to assist 20,000 people and to place 6,000 in jobs. Those benchmarks were met in September. The organization, which serves 48 Tennessee counties, hopes to assist 30,000 people and place 10,000 in jobs in 2015.

Goodwill sells donated clothing and household goods in its stores to fund its mission of providing employment and training opportunities to people with disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs. Nearly 90 percent of Goodwill’s clients who find jobs are placed with other employers.

There are 1,500 employers who actively hire people who receive services from Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. Goodwill’s 29 Career Solutions centers host an average of 100 job fairs per month for those employer partners.

The centers also provide a wide range of training, from job readiness and computer literacy to retail, hospitality and logistics programs. Many Goodwill clients also receive more advanced training and certificates in areas such as health care, security and forklift operation.

About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, please visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.