Stories of Success, Determination Celebrated at Nashville Impact Luncheon
(Middle Tenn.) — A man who lost his possessions but realized a dream in the wake of the 2010 flood. A woman who hurdled cultural and language barriers to launch a career. These are just a few of the stories of tenacity and achievement celebrated by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee at its Impact Luncheon awards ceremony Friday.
Eleven employees and Goodwill Career Solutions clients, three employer partners and a community partner were recognized at the event at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville
In his opening remarks, Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas announced that Goodwill’s 28 Career Solutions centers have already surpassed their 2014 goals of providing employment assistance to more than 20,000 people and finding jobs for 6,000. So far this year, nearly 25,000 people have been served and more than 7,700 of those landed jobs.
Then, keynote speakers H.K. Derryberry and Jim Bradford shared the inspiring story of Derryberry’s life, his achievements despite tremendous odds and their friendship. Derryberry, who was delivered premature after a car crash killed his mother, is blind and suffers from cerebral palsy. Nonetheless, he has gone on to accomplish many things, such as riding a horse, driving a boat, snow-skiing and becoming a motivational speaker. Bradford, a businessman who became Derryberry’s mentor, has joined him for more than 50 speaking engagements.
MEET THIS YEAR’S AWARD WINNERS
This award is named in honor of two women who were loyal supporters of Goodwill, Madaleine LaVoi and Elsine Katz. The award is given to a Career Solutions client who has made outstanding progress in their program at Goodwill.
Joey Cripps loves his job at the Dollar Tree store in Shelbyville. He enjoys stocking the shelves, unloading trucks and even taking out the trash. He loves greeting customers and getting to know his fellow employees.
Joey’s boundless enthusiasm is one part of the recipe that helped him find the job he loves. But Joey also seriously embraced the concept that “getting a job is a job.” When Joey, who has a learning disability, came to Career Solutions in July of 2013, he had never been employed before.
He entered Goodwill’s Transitional Employment Services Program and was placed in a paid training program. When the program ended, he continued to come to the Shelbvyille Career Solutions Center every Monday for help with his resume, job-seeking skills and in completing online applications.
He interviewed for jobs several times without success, but he persevered and even encouraged and assisted other Goodwill clients. As he did, Joey went from being very shy to very confident. After nearly a year of hard work, Joey landed the position at Dollar Tree. Since then, he has convinced his store manager to increase his hours. Joey’s example shows what hard work and determination can do.
This award is given to a Career Solutions client who has succeeded beyond all expectations in their new job.
“Thank you for calling Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. My name is Terrell, how can I help you?”
Callers to Goodwill’s Nashville headquarters might be interested to know that professional, friendly voice belongs to someone who has only been on the job for five months.
Considering how quickly Terrell Jones types on his computer keyboard and provides the needed information or connection, they might be even more impressed to learn that the Call Center position is the first job the 29-year-old has ever held. But they would be surprised, indeed, to learn that Terrell Jones, the efficient and knowledgeable phone operator, cannot see his keyboard or his computer because he has been blind from birth.
While talking to callers, Jones uses special software to scroll through over 900 pages of information that are read aloud to him through his headset. It took six weeks of intense training to become the first visually impaired client to work in Goodwill’s Call Center, but Jones’ hard work and determination have paid off for him and paved the way for others. He credits Goodwill Career Solutions for answering his call for help and connecting him with fulfilling employment.
Graduates of the Year
The recipients of this award have achieved great success since enrolling in Goodwill Career Solutions.
Terry Key lost everything in the Nashville flood of 2010. Three years later, he signed up for job training at Goodwill in hopes of starting over. The instructor encouraged Terry to follow his dream. Terry founded the Edgehill Bike Club, a nonprofit that mentors children and has given away over 400 refurbished bicycles.
When Marcia Brown came to Career Solutions late in 2013, she feared her age would keep her from getting a job.But the former stay-at-home mom tackled Goodwill’s job readiness classes and joined the Beyond Jobs program for women. In April, she was hired as a retail assistant at Goodwill’s Mt. View store, where she remains an outstanding employee. She has since bought her first car.
Over 15 years, Myrel Despot lost several jobs to closures, acquisitions and layoffs. The last time left her unemployed for three years. At Career Solutions in Murfreesboro, she completed digital literacy classes and online job search training. After expressing an interest in working for Goodwill, she was hired at the Murfreesboro store on Memorial Boulevard. in less than a year, she has been promoted twice and is now assistant manager.
Dallas Hamilton’s hopes for a military career were cut short by a physical ailment. After three civilian jobs in a year, he was struggling to find the right fit. He had some experience in food service, and after some counseling at Career Solutions, he attended a job fair at which Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen was hiring. He aced the interview and has been a valued employee at the Popeyes in Clarksville for more than a year.
A skilled handyman, William Hearn was nonetheless having trouble finding an employer who would give him a chance because of some troubles in his past. He came to Career Solutions in Mt. Juliet in May. With coaching from his career counselor, William became more comfortable talking to employers. He attended two more job fairs and met a recruiter from HotelPro, who hired him as an exterior cleaner. He remains employed there and says Goodwill helped restore his self-respect.
Eve Jones moved to the U.S. from Thailand in 2011, armed with a business administration degree and international sales experience. But after taking a few years off to raise a family, she found language and cultural barriers were keeping her from finding work. At the Shelbyville Career Solutions Center she got help with her interview and search techniques. To earn a current work history and work references, Eve participated in a situational assessment at the Goodwill store. She performed so well, she was hired as office administrator.
Amgad Moawd brought his wife and three children to the U.S. from Egypt last summer. Despite having a degree in Egyptology, he was hampered in his job search by the language barrier. He sought help from Career Soutions and completed job readiness, digital literacy and online job search training. Thanks to that help, he obtained a maintenance job at the Saint Cecilia Motherhouse.
Brenda Pett was ready to get back into the workforce but, despite being a registered nurse, she was unsure how to begin in the current market. A married, stay-at-home mom who had been out of the workforce for 20 years, she came into the Murfreesboro Career Solutions Center for help. There she completed training programs including digital literacy, resume writing and online job search. With her refreshed skills and a little coaching, she was ready for interviews. She now works as an RN case manager for St. Clair’s Senior Center.
Youth Graduate of the Year Stefanie Toups was an early participant in Goodwill’s Summer Work and Training for Retail Associate Certification programs. She also participated in the Youth-Building Program, which helped her land an internship and eventually a permanent position with Crossroads Campus, a non-profit agency that connects people with pets through innovative community programs.
Community Partner Award
The Shalom Zone, an organization that works to promote peace and improve life for citizens in Gallatin’s Clearview Community, has worked with Goodwill for more than 10 years to achieve its mission. As Goodwill clients have found assistance with child care, mental health and other services from Shalom Zone, that agency has sent its clients to Goodwill for assistance and training. This year alone 30 Shalom Zone clients got help from Goodwill Career Solutions, and nine were placed in jobs.
Employer Partner Awards
Several businesses were also recognized at the luncheon for their enthusiastic support of Goodwill’s mission. Speedway, Lowe’s and Waffle House, were honored for contributing to the success of Career Solutions through their employment practices and hiring of clients.
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 2013, Goodwill served 17,498 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 5,615 people in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, please visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.