"I am the story behind the store"

JustinMeet Justin

Justin’s wife of 33 years passed away unexpectedly. He was having a difficult time handling her death and started drinking to ease his pain. He hadn’t worked for several years and was trying to live off his supplemental security income and was barely surviving. Justin knew that he needed to make some changes in his life, so he started by moving from Mt. Vernon, Ohio to Marion, Ohio.

After moving, Justin was given some information about Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) Job Development Program and that’s when things started to change for him. OOD referred him to the Crawford-Marion Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board (ADAMH) who recommended that he go through the program with Goodwill.

Brian Penrod, Director of Program Monitoring and Contract Compliance at ADAMH Board, stated, “I recommended Goodwill because it was the best fit for what Justin wanted to accomplish. He had not worked in a few years and needed a helping hand to give him the confidence that he could work. Goodwill is very good at providing wrap around supports and developing relationships. They are there to help individuals find a job, learn the job, and then continue to help the person be successfully employed.”

Justin was facing several barriers, a lapse in employment, transportation and finding a position that would allow him to work just a few hours each week. After completing an assessment that helped determine his strengths, Sherry, Goodwill Employment Specialist, and Justin determined that a position in the janitorial field would be a good fit. Sherry helped Justin search for available positions, create a resume, complete applications, and prepare for interviews.

Justin was hired at Cummins Facility Services. Through OOD Justin was able to get a bus pass to get to his job site and Cummins was able to work with Justin’s schedule. His supervisor, Jessica, stated, “Justin has been a welcome addition to our team. He is friendly and has built a great reputation with his client. We appreciate Justin being so reliable and dedicated to getting the job done right. He communicates well, and I hope that he works for Cummins for a long time!”

Now that Justin is employed and is receiving a paycheck along with his SSI check he can make payments on his wife’s funeral. His goal is to purchase an electric three-wheeled bicycle so that he can transport himself to and from work. And his long-term goal is to become more independent.

Justin is getting ahead by staying focused, thinking ahead by being open to new ideas and looking ahead by being committed to achieving self-sufficiency through the power of work.

KatelynnMeet Katelynn

Katelynn came to Goodwill through our partnership with Ohio Means Jobs – Morrow County. She is a participant in the Morrow County E.D.G.E. Program.

This innovative program helps low-income young adults (ages 14-24) build career paths, find employment, and break the cycle of poverty. Service strategies, provided by Goodwill, prepare youth for employment and/or post-secondary education through strong linkages between academic and occupational learning. Youth funds, provided by Ohio Means Jobs – Morrow County, are targeted at young people who are both in and out of school, to assist them in their career and educational development.

Services available include: paid/unpaid work experience, tutoring, career coaching, counseling, mentoring, leadership development, driver license attainment, help with budgeting, preparing for college and or work, credential training, transportation, child care, uniforms and work related tools.

In just under a year of joining the program, with a lot of hard work, financial and services support, Katelynn was able to thrive. She graduated high school on the honor roll, attained various certifications through Tri-Rivers’ Construction Program, and landed a job in the plumbing and construction field.

Katelynn has applied for an apprenticeship that includes union membership and post-secondary education. In addition to school and work, she is also on the Junior Fair Board and uses that platform for networking and community service.

Katelynn is already succeeding, and she is on a path to excel. Katelynn is Goodwill Strong.


TaylorMeet Taylor

The Ohio Department of Health awarded Marion Goodwill a grant to aid homeless youth & homeless pregnant youth aged 14-24 in the Marion County area. The goal of the program is to help those without a support system obtain self-sustainability and a sense of community belonging.

Taylor was 3-months pregnant and evicted from her apartment when she enrolled in the program. She had no friends or family that she could stay with and the local homeless shelter was full. Taylor was left with the only option she had for emergency housing – her car.

While she was able to find a job working 40 hours per week, she was barely making enough money to afford a room at the least expensive motel in town. She had very little money left for food after paying for her room each week. Then COVID entered the picture. Taylor had to quarantine at the motel for 10 days and could not go to work. She was only days away from sleeping in her car again. The Goodwill Youth Advocate was able to help Taylor secure housing through a collaboration with a local landlord.

The Advocate worked with Taylor to develop a budget with financial goals, assisted Taylor in applying for medical and food assistance, referred her to Community Action to receive utility assistance, and ensured that Taylor was enrolled in local WIC programming and receiving regular prenatal healthcare from an OBGYN.

Taylor was recently invited to speak to the Center for the Study of Social Policy, regarding homeless youth and the programming she has received. Taylor is a prime example of what a person can accomplish with a strong desire to succeed and the backing of a support team. Taylor is Goodwill Strong.


MelissaMeet Melissa

The Senior Community Employment Service Program (SCSEP) is designed to help seniors find work, develop new skills, and build their financial security by taking advantage of the on-the-job training program. Through SCSEP, Goodwill matches eligible individuals age 55 and older with nonprofits or public agencies to obtain work experience in a professional work environment. SCSEP is
a national employment and training program funded by the U.S. Department
of Labor and awarded to Marion Goodwill through a grant.

Prior to enrolling in the SCSEP program, Melissa was working a part-time job in the food service industry. She was living with her mother who had suffered several strokes in a short period of time. Melissa left her job to care for her mother at home. Her mother eventually had to go to a nursing home and then passed away. Melissa had no income to support herself and nowhere to live.

Our SCSEP manager worked one-on-one with Melissa. They did an evaluation to determine her skill set and career interests. Melissa’s on-the-job training is in the contract services department at Goodwill, putting together parts and literature packets. This training allows her to sit, due to her disability, and work with her hands. It’s work she can do well.

Through the Goodwill Housing Program, we were able to place Melissa in an apartment. The apartment is handicap accessible. Tenants’ income in this three-unit building are screened to meet eligibility of below 50% medium income.

The SCSEP program has helped Melissa build work experience, confidence and maintain economic
security and well-being. Melissa is Goodwill Strong.

Meet BretMeet Bret

Bret was diagnosed with a learning disability between the ages of five and six. He also was labeled with ADHA, ODD, OCD and
borderline Autistic. Upon entering school, Bret was tested and qualified for an IEP. Throughout his school years, Bret received
wonderful help and resources from his teachers and the school staff who truly cared about him and his learning experience.

Each year his family saw dramatic changes in his behavior and ability to learn.

Bret graduated from high school and deferred his diploma so he could further his education with the VISIONS program at Tri-Rivers Career Center. This program helped him understand the processes and responsibilities of having a job.

Bret started his journey with Goodwill as a participant in our Summer Youth Work Experience Program, through Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities, where he helped at the Boys & Girls Club. This is a five-week long program that helps youth gain work skills, improve their communication skills and their ability to work with others. Through this program, participants develop a work history and gain on the job experience. It is a step in the process to prepare youth for long-term employment and independence.

After finishing the program, Bret selected Goodwill as his vendor of choice for our Job Development Program. Bret worked one-on-one with Sherry, an Employment Specialist, to develop a customized employment plan. With Sherry’s guidance, Bret completed an application, interviewed and secured a position as a Courtesy Clerk at Kroger, where he has been employed for one year. He is so proud of getting a job and his smile lights up his whole face.

Bret is a prime example of what a person can accomplish with a strong desire to grow, learn and work. With the backing of an amazing support team, Bret has been able to reach his goal of having a job and working in the community.


Meet EmmaMeet Emma

Emma came to Goodwill through our partnership with Ohio Means Jobs – Crawford County. She is a participant in the Crawford County Youth Program.

This innovative program helps low-income young adults (ages 14-24) build career paths, find employment and break the cycle of poverty. Goodwill offers a wide range of services specifically tailored to each individual. Services available include tutoring, training, counseling and leadership activities.

Emma, a student at Wynford High School, is a member of the National FFA Organization. She has completed many projects including: fundraising, woodworking, community service, nature & animal projects, and competed in a soil contest. After high school, Emma plans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Upon completion of her service, she would then like to attend the Police Academy.

Eventually she would like to pursue her Master’s Degree to become a Substance Abuse Counselor.
Through the Youth Program, Emma was placed at Mayor Jeff Reser’s Office in Bucyrus as an office assistant. Some of her job duties include: answering the phone, making copies, working with visitors, and guiding community members. The Crawford Youth Program created a Youth Council this year and Emma was nominated and accepted the position of President.

Emma is gaining valuable work experience and strengthening her leadership skills through the Youth Program. These skills and experiences will help her on her journey toward her ambitious future career plans.

Our goal is to empower youth to become contributing members of their community; one way we can accomplish this is through The
Power of Work.

Meet KraigMeet Kraig

Before coming to Goodwill, Kraig made some poor decisions that put him in the position of having to start over. Kraig was referred to Goodwill and was enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

The SCSEP program is an on-the-job training and employment program designed to help those 55 and older update their job skills, build work experience and confidence, and gain economic security and well-being.

Our Senior Employment Program Manager, Mary, worked one-on-one with Kraig. They did an evaluation to determine his skill set and career interests. They worked on job search techniques and effective interview skills. Kraig received his on-the-job training at one of Goodwill’s retail stores, typically working 20 hours per week. Through the SCSEP program, we were able to provide Kraig with
supportive services of clothing and food. Mary and Kraig also developed a housing and transportation plan.

After completing his training, Kraig was offered a position at our Mt. Gilead Goodwill Store. He is currently working in our donation center as a Donation Attendant. Some of his job duties include: assisting donors with their donations, providing receipts to donors, organizing the donations as they are brought in, processing the merchandise, keeping the area neat, clean and organized and
maintaining accurate donation records.

Kraig was able to overcome the obstacles he faced and redefine his purpose. We hold true to our mission by recognizing ability, convinced that people often just need a chance to show what they can do. When people are able to work and support themselves, they experience a sense of purpose and dignity.

Meet Tiffany

Tiffany came to Goodwill through our partnership with OhioMeansJobs. She is a participant in the Morrow County Youth Program.

This program helps youth (ages 14-24) prepare for and find meaningful employment. Before coming to Goodwill for services, the youth complete a comprehensive assessment with OhioMeansJobs – Morrow County.  The assessment evaluates skills, interests, strengths and assists with career exploration.  Depending on needs, the participants have access to work experience, tutoring, training, supportive services, counseling and leadership activities.

Through the program, Tiffany was placed at the Mt. Gilead Public Library. During the summer session of the program, she was able to take the lead in the library’s Summer Reading Program and help Morrow County youth explore the library and gain a love for reading. 

She was also able to take a driver’s education class through the program and get her driver’s license, which eliminated a barrier to employment.

Tiffany is gaining valuable work experience through her placement at the library that will contribute to her future career plans of becoming an elementary school teacher.


Meet Jeremy

Jeremy has been successfully employed at Goodwill for approximately a year and a half. Prior to his employment with Goodwill, Jeremy worked with Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities- Community Employment Department. They assisted individuals with developmental disabilities find fully integrated and long-term employment. With their help, Jeremy was able to interview and secure a position at the Goodwill Distribution Center located in Marion.

As a baler, Jeremy is responsible for ensuring only appropriate items go in the baler, making sure the baler is filled to the appropriate level and making sure he is following safe and efficient procedures.

Over the past year, Jeremy’s skill set has allowed him to assist with other jobs in the distribution center.  He helps the truck drivers with their routes and pickups, he has worked with our maintenance team on several painting projects and this past winter he helped with snow removal at several of our locations.

Recently Jeremy completed forklift training and received his certificate and license, which has sparked his interest in obtaining his driver license.  

Along with Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities vision, we want our employees to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. Jeremy has found his place at Goodwill. His positive attitude and contagious smile have spread throughout the distribution center.


Meet Maggie

Maggie started her journey with Goodwill in our Workforce Development Program.  This program helps individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment explore possible careers, prepare for the job market, and find appropriate employment opportunities within their community. Maggie came to Goodwill through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.

Maggie participated in a community-based assessment with the Workforce Development team.  This assessment enabled Sherry, an Employment Specialist, to develop a customized employment plan for Maggie. Additionally, Maggie was able to receive firsthand work experience at one of Goodwill’s retail stores.

Through this process, Maggie gained the confidence she needed to become employed. She completed an application, interviewed and secured a position at Kroger. At first, she worked fifteen hours per week as a bagger and a courtesy clerk. When a position with more hours and responsibility became available, she applied, interviewed and received the promotion. She has been employed at Kroger for three years. Occasionally Maggie works in the floral department, where she is learning new skills.

Maggie is very proud of all the new friends she has made through her job at Kroger.  She was asked to be a maid of honor at a co-worker’s wedding and was able to purchase her dress and shoes with the money she had earned. She also purchased a car, giving her the independence she was striving for. 

Sherry continues to provide guidance and support to Maggie in an effort to help her maintain and continue her success at Kroger.​

Meet Rollin

Rollin came to Goodwill through our Job Development Program. Our Job Development team works with individuals in finding jobs and equipping them with the appropriate tools to become independent.

Rollin has had a lifetime of heart problems that included multiple heart attacks as a young man and the subsequent placement of a pacemaker. Many employers were not willing to employ him due to his medical issues. After getting a job through the assistance of Goodwill, he had to undergo additional heart surgeries. After his cardiac rehabilitation and therapy, Rollin utilized the tools he learned in the Goodwill program to find employment on his own. He remains employed today.

When asked to describe his experience with Goodwill, Rollin stated that our organization is approachable, knowledgeable, and committed to treating individuals as valued members of the community.

Rollin was able to overcome obstacles and become independent in his job search by using the skills provided to him. Rollin believes, like Goodwill, in the power of work.

Meet Jordan

Jordan was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, but that does not stop him from getting where he wants to go. Jordan was introduced to Goodwill at the age of three when he attended our annual Wheel-a-Thon event. This event features a three-person wheelchair race. Jordan and his family are active participants and have won the race for the past ten plus years. They have helped raise thousands of dollars for this event.

Jordan has participated in several Goodwill programs. During the Summer Youth Program, he worked in the contracts division at Goodwill, where he learned skills needed for the world of work. He is currently working with our Workforce Development Office/Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Through referrals to the program, Goodwill facilitates customized employment plans for individuals with disabilities. Through job development, job coaching, and job retention we help participants, like Jordan, find and keep jobs.

This summer through our Strengthening Families Program, we were able to help Jordan purchase his first bicycle, a three-wheeled hand cycle. He worked with the organization Adaptive Sports Connection on getting properly fitted for his customized hand cycle. Goodwill was thrilled to be able to help Jordan with this purchase.

Jordan is currently a senior in high school. He loves boating, camping, video games and hanging out with his best friend. We have literally watched Jordan grow up over the past fourteen years and look forward to helping him navigate his future.


Meet Steve

Steve had been a successful swine farm manager for over twenty-five years, before making some poor decisions put him in the position of having to start over. In the fall of 2010, Steve was in need of a job, when a leader in the Marion community referred him to Goodwill. At Goodwill, Steve was enrolled in the Opportunity Plus Program, where participants with employment barriers are given a chance to gain valuable work experience, develop a work history and current employer reference.

Steve worked at a Goodwill facility and, because of his positive work experience, he secured a part-time position in April of 2011. During that summer, he accepted a full-time position at the Goodwill Warehouse-Distribution Center and soon after was made a shift supervisor. In 2012, Steve was promoted to Distribution Coordinator and held that position until 2017.

One of Steve’s favorite movies is The Rookie. One line is the movie hits home with him, “We do what we have to do till we do what we were meant to do.” Because of the choices Steve had made in the past, he thought working in the pork industry, his “what he was meant to do” job was not possible. Steve was wrong. His hard work, dedication and determination gave him the opportunity to work in the swine industry again.

Through the support of many people at Goodwill and in the community, Steve felt he had grown mentally and emotionally and was ready to move on to another organization and take on the responsibility of a new position. Steve reflects, “I have been so blessed and am grateful to everyone I worked with while at Goodwill.”

Steve did not give up on his dreams and is now where he is meant to be.


Meet Sean

Sean started his journey with Goodwill as a participant in our Workforce Development Program. Individuals with disabilities or other barriers to employment are referred to this program to explore possible careers, prepare for the job market, and find appropriate employment opportunities. Sean came to Goodwill through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.

Sean and his Goodwill job coach worked side by side on completing a job assessment, learning about his skills, likes and interests. Once assessed, Sean began the process of resume writing, application submissions, and follow up with his job coach.

Sean applied to one of our Goodwill retail stores and after the interview process, he was hired. With some additional support from his job coach, Sean has worked extremely hard for the past two years in his position. His customer service skills have improved greatly. He is able to help train new employees in his position, and has taken on additional responsibilities.

When asked about Goodwill Sean said, “It is very family oriented, friendly and everyone is very helpful. This is my first job. They are helping to teach me responsibility and helping me grow as an individual.”

The Workforce Development Program provides job coaching and support for participants in an effort to help them maintain and succeed in their employment.



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