S2E5: May the Good Be With You

Note: What’s Good, Goodwill? is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors.

(Music fades in)

(Music fades out) 

Alicia: It’s gonna be May.

Michelle: It’s going to be what?

Alicia: It’s going to be May.

Happy May! Happy it’s spring, is May spring or summer? When do we get in to summer?

Michelle:  It’s officially spring.

Alicia: Ah! I’m learning.

Michelle: Yeah, I think it was the end of March. Maybe March 20th.

Alicia: Well, it is just March and April. Just feel like it’s still winter, so I’m over it and I’m ready for summer, so I’m okay skipping Spring like we skipped Fall last year.

Michelle: Alright

Alicia: Apparently, so

(Collective sigh)

Michelle: That’s the sound of May.

(Alicia laughs)

Michelle: It is springtime in the inland northwest.

Alicia: Finally,

Michelle: I’m ready. I’ve packed all the winter clothing away and a couple of garbage bags of donations.

Alicia: I usually have a closet reserved for layers and thicker clothing, and I’m really happy to be shedding all of that. Yeah, And part of me will, like, donate stuff that I’m like, Oh, I’m not going to wear that next year. And the next year happens. I’m like, oh, man, where that sweater goes,

Michelle: I always see the hanger technique,

Alicia: The hanger technique?

Michelle: So you put the clothing that you want to keep on hangers and you’re supposed to put the hangers in a particular direction. And then if at the end of the year, it never changed directions, like you didn’t take it out and wear it, you’re supposed to donate it the next year.

Alicia: That’s so genius. I’m going to start doing that because I just I spend way too long going through everything and holding it up and sometimes trying it on. May is a very special time for us here at Goodwill.

Michelle: Why is that Alicia?

Alicia: Well, here at Goodwill, the first week of May is Goodwill Week. What is that? It’s a week of goodwill held. So every year during the first full week of May, goodwill organizations across the United States and Canada,

Michelle: Our Canadian neighbors

Alicia: Come together to celebrate the power of work. And our founder, Edgar J. Holmes Philosophy of a hand up, not a handout. This celebration is known as Goodwill Industries.

Michelle: What is our mission here at Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest?

Alicia: Together we create opportunities that change lives and strengthen communities.

Michelle: So, what does that mean?

Alicia: Well, we’re changing lives and we’re also strengthening communities.

Michelle: How are we changing our lives, though?

Alicia: We’re changing lives actually, it’s our donors and our shoppers who are really helping change lives and strengthen communities.

Michelle: Not only do we help with housing, with housing and essential needs programs, with rapid rehousing for veterans, not only do we have a career and resource center, but I think we also have something new that we just launched.

Alicia: Yes. So Google.org and Goodwill have teamed up to provide scholarships to popular certificate programs that you can take online. Some of these programs are like Google I.T. Support Professional certificate.

So that is just learning the foundations of I.T. There’s automation with Python certificate, please don’t ask me what that is, but it sounds really fun. There’s the Google Project Management certificate, UX Design Certificate. Also, I honestly just don’t know exactly what they are, but on our website we have descriptions and there are video snippets of the breakdown of these courses and what you’ll be learning in them.

What’s really cool though is that having these certificates, first of all, are really got on a resume. I know I did it once and I didn’t know what I was doing and I was like, Sure, I’ll get a certificate and voila, now I’m in marketing and it’s so much fun.

Michelle: I think I saw a marketing certification on there?

Alicia: Yes, actually there is digital marketing. It’s Google digital marketing and e-commerce certificate. So this one will give you the skills for an entry level job in digital marketing. So if you are wanting to test the waters and see if that is a career path that you want to take, but you’re not quite sure this will kind of get your feet wet, I guess.

Michelle: Did I hear mention of a scholarship?

Alicia: Yes. So the scholarships are available to qualified applicants, so you will have to contact them to see if you qualify. You can call 5098384246. Or you can email digital skills@giin.org and they will get you all set up and see how they can get you an auto scholarship.

Michelle: As always, if that was too much information and you maybe don’t remember that phone number, look in our good bit section, we will have all the details on our website. If there’s only one website you ever need to know, it’s Discovergoodwill.org. Your local goodwill of Eastern Washington in North Idaho is Discovergoodwill.org

Alicia: What is it?

Michelle: One more time discover goodwill dot org Uncle Archie. So, with all of that information, what does that really mean?

Alicia: It means our mission goes far beyond our retail stores and donation centers. The support of the communities we live and work in is critical to our mission. When you donate and shop at Goodwill, you’re helping your neighbor receive training and support.

They need to find jobs, advance their careers, support and help with their finances. So if you shop in our stores or donate your items, you have helped 4800 people in eastern Washington and North Idaho get back on their feet.

Alicia: I think that deserves a bigger clap.

Michelle: I think it does to us. It’s more than a golf club.

(Yee-haw sound)

Alicia: And that’s it.

Michelle: So from everyone here at Goodwill Industries of the inland Northwest, we say thank you.

Alicia: Yes, thank you.

Michelle: As part of Goodwill Industries Week. A lot of Goodwill’s use this week to really help you learn about our mission and about our program, where your donations go, where your dollars go. Let’s talk about what happens with your donations. Alicia, what happened?

Alicia: We’re pretty transparent, you know, about where your dollars are and where your donations are going. You can help people get into housing or get essential needs for their housing, and that’s something that’s huge in our community. We want people to have the basic need that we all need, which is shelter. We need shelter.

So when you donate your items and they go through our store and people like me and you purchase them, those dollars go towards helping those people in our housing programs.


And that’s just one program that we offer. We have employment programs, so we help people find and discover career paths or jobs or just help them gain employment. And we also have our veteran program, our housing program for our veterans. So supportive services for veteran families. That is also, you know, to help with rapid rehousing and not just rapid rehousing, but transitioning into more permanent housing as well.

So you’re really helping a lot of people in our community.

Michelle: You’re helping a person like Kevin.

Alicia: Yes. Kevin is a participant within our Supportive Services for Veteran Families program, and he originally was living in a van that he purchased from a friend of his. And he knew the van didn’t run. He knew it didn’t work, but he needed shelter and he stayed in that van and he was in the middle of winter and he was having to bundle up in this man in like negative degree weather.

And he remembered some training that he got in the military, how to keep warm. But it still was not an ideal situation for him.

Michelle: Even imagine with the winters that we have.

Alicia:  Oh, it’s and it’s brutal. It’s brutal for sure. But not only that, he’s also an artist. And something that he that kept him going was continuing his art and so even though he was living in this van, was in the middle of winter, he still had his books and his colored pencils and everything.

And he continued to do, you know, he was passionate about it. So I had the privilege of getting to sit down with Kevin and listen to his story. And it’s interesting how he describes that. There’s a stereotype when you think of somebody who is houseless.

Michelle: We have a portion of Kevin’s video and so we’d like to play for you guys right now.

Alicia: Let’s take a listen.

Michelle:  Let’s take a listen.

Kevin: There’s no need to really feel shame about it. It’s people really hard sometimes. And, you know, if you’re going to get yourself back up, you know, sometimes you need help. You know, it’s the same thing as, you know, going out and, you know, looking for therapy and checking on yourself and that mental health. You need a team sometimes, you know, you can’t do everything by yourself.

So if you need a team to help lift you up, you know, I think goodwill is a good, good spotter to do that.

Michelle: You know, as a veteran myself, Kevin’s story really touches me like it’s part of why I love working at Goodwill, too. Not only do we focus on rapid rehousing for veterans, but we have housing and social needs programs. We have the Career Resource center, we have employment programs, but we also have a program that I don’t think we talk about a lot. We have our Payee services program as well.

Alicia: Yes, Payee services for those who might not know is a program that can help with your finances. So, say you might be somebody who’s getting government assistance such as Social Security or temporary assistance to needy families. That’s TANF tents. And you need to get help managing your monthly finances or finding a good budget that’ll work for you.

Our Representative P services can actually help with that, so they can help you manage and put your bills like your rent and your utilities first. And they can be that kind of mediator in between that I guess like a third party person that can pay those for you and have an issue out. Your remaining dollars after those essential bills are paid and, you know, kind of help you stay on track.

Michelle: Who better to talk about our P services programs and then to members of our team? Yes. So we set out with Michelle and Kayla and they are here. Let’s I guess also some of what they got to say. Well, let’s take another listen.

Michelle B: My name is Michelle and I’m the Payee program manager.

Kayla: My name is Kayla. I am Goodwill. We receive funds through Social Security DSH US wages. So, people that are working personal pensions, V.A. compensation, pensions. And then we do budget pay bills. We assess clients with housing and essential needs matters. We also disburse funds to clients or spend money throughout the month.

And the pay fees are also a third party between Social Security and the clients that we do. Any use and Social Security pay to work for the clients. My first piece of advice is sit down whenever you get your payments and go over budget with yourself. Always pay your rent and your utilities first and car payment, house payment, whatever you have.


Michelle B: Pay that first and then give yourself an allowance this week. Always ensure that your bills are paid before you play and never live beyond your means.

Michelle: Alicia

Alicia: Yes.

Michelle: What’s that sound?

(Spooky sound)

Alicia: A spooky time.

Michelle: Happy Half-of-week!

Alicia: What is Half-o-ween?

Michelle: I’m here to tell you. And another segment of Michelle’s here to tell you. I’m here to tell you that we are halfway to the Halloween season.

Alicia: Oh, my gosh. I haven’t even thought about my costume.

Michelle: Well, this is our time. Let’s chat some a Halloween in half a week.

Alicia: And how can we celebrate half-of-ween? What’s the best way to celebrate? Can I start dressing up? All right,

Michelle: if you want to. If you want to start dressing up, if you know, if you need a reason to party, to shake off those like winter blues to really get into May, maybe you could have a mini little Halloween party if you’re into group costumes.

Now is an excellent time to start brainstorming on what you want to do. I love complicated costumes. I like If it’s Corey, I love the blood.

Alicia: I love blood.

Michelle: And this is an excellent opportunity to start gathering and finding and dreaming up your Halloween costumes.

Alicia: I think the more people that we get on board with this, the more common it will be.

And how great would it be if our lives in this big old world got to celebrate Halloween?

Michelle: Two Halloweens? What’s better than one Halloween to Halloween’s? And you only have to put half the effort into this Halloween? What if you only put half before the main follow it? So you were talking about how we can celebrate. So if you want to come up with half regular clothing, half a costume kind of to face.

Alicia: Oh my gosh, that would be amazing. We’re like regular on one side and like a Halloween on the other side, dark on the other side. I’m half a shark today. I’m half a shark. Or you could be a shark or a person getting eaten by a shark. That would still be half a week. That would be Halloween. Oh, I’ve had so many ideas. Now, this is going to be amazing.

Michelle: Alicia’s on a roll. She didn’t understand the segment in the beginning, but I feel like Alisha’s on it now. She’s getting into the gym.

Alicia: The caffeine slowly but surely running through the veins.

Michelle: So here at Goodwill, we are all about sustainability and we’re all about creating sustainable costumes.

Alicia: I love seeing handmade costumes or putting together costumes from thrift stores and stuff.

It’s so creative and it’s not the classic, like costumes you find in a bag or already prepackaged or something. Yeah, what?

Michelle: They’ve got the weird chemical smell and you only wear it once and then it sits in your closet.

Alicia: Let’s start thinking about other ways to create costumes. So, you know, with Goodwill, you’ve got a massive store full of everyday clothing that you can create a Halloween costume out of.

You can mix and match.

Michelle: You can have, you know, if you love that jacket and you can dream up a Halloween costume around that jacket, you can still keep wearing match and find an excuse to wear it.

Alicia: Yeah, Two more months.

Michelle: Yeah. Just, you know, it’s the cool thing about really when you come up with these, like, really creative costumes where you find those pair of pants and you’re like, I love these pants.

I loved wearing them for Halloween. What’s to stop? You just keep wearing them. I mean, it’s your thing. It’s. It’s sustainable shopping, It’s sustainable costumes. It’s something that can sit in your closet and then, you know, you can tear it apart again, rebuild it, use it for other things

Alicia: For a Christmas like company party or something. But yeah, you know that the shark

Michelle: The shark.

Alicia: Well, that shark costume. Michelle, do you have a costume that you’ve created or that you’ve thrift at all the pieces? Like do you have a favorite that you’ve ever made. Not to put you on the spot there.

Michelle: Totally. A Disney nerd that I did kind of like this old school Victorian Snow White

Alicia: Ooh

Michelle: Outfit that I put together. I got all the bits and bobs from Goodwill. I used tablecloths, I used blankets because, you know, you see a lot of expensive materials used as blankets and used as pillowcases and comforters. And you look at it and you’re like, all of that material, which normally will cost you a lot of money, but like a crafts and a crafts where it’s 5.99 at Goodwill and if you shop right on a discount because we have discount Mondays.

Alicia: Yeah.

Michelle: And or if you do the color of the week, the color of the week item is 50% off. So if you go into the store, I always tell people, if you need fabric, go straight back, straight to the left, straight to the right, wherever it is in your store, go hit the blanket section and it’s material that was popular or that could have been popular like 20, 30 years ago.

Alicia: Yeah.

Michelle: So like, if you’re looking to find now for historically accurate lace or you’re looking for like crochet work, we’ve got the doilies, we’ve got really, really we’ve got the tablecloths. I mean it’s crazy what you can find. Table runners. Table runners. Oh yeah, we have tons of table runners. Those that, that’s material. If you’re looking for a specific fabric hit the men’s section like men’s shirts.

Alicia: Yeah. Yeah.

Michelle: The bigger men give you way more material

Alicia: For like if you want to make a skirt.

Michelle; Yeah. Or a goldfish hoodie or, like,

Alicia: Oddly specific.

Michelle: I may or may not have made a goldfish partly out of stuff that we found at Goodwill.

Alicia: Another thing that I will say about shopping secondhand for Halloween and for Halloween and just in general, is older styles are making a comeback.

And so, I don’t know if you’ve noticed a lot of cool kids. Gen Z kids are bringing back the nineties style the early 2000 also the eighties and it’s expensive. Oh yeah, buy the new old stuff. So why buy the new old stuff when you can just buy the old stuff, the original, the O.G..

Michelle: So if you’re looking to clean out your closet, believe me, the items in your closet will be sold.

There is some kid that’s already dreaming up their Halloween costume. They want to be that 1990s retro hair quote. Because as a millennial, that makes me cringe. But those retro 1990s looks.

Alicia: I just want to be Avril Levine and her video Skeeter boy.  

Michelle: Also one last plug for May if you are a Star Wars fan.

Alicia: Oh yeah

Michelle: We’ve got you know,

Alicia: May the force be with you.

Michelle: If you’re looking for Star Wars T-shirts, if you’re missing that last piece for your Jedi costume, come to Goodwill. We have robes and robes and we have material and we have cloth.

Alicia: What else do we have?

Michelle: Robes.

Alicia: Robes. It’s interesting. I know somebody who actually thrift did and created a Han Solo outfit for May the fourth, and they used just a couple belts to do like a little holster.

And yeah, it looked amazing. It was so it was very well done.

Michelle: And if you’re looking for a little bit of the darker side with Revenge of the Sith, maybe you’re a little Sith.

Alicia: Oh

Michelle: We’ve got the boots, we’ve got the belts for like any Darth Maul or something.

Alicia: So, you know, whatever your genre

Michelle: We’ve seen babies grow once or twice in our stores.

Alicia: So yeah, which I’m surprised people donate, but I’m not mad about it at all.

Michelle: Every time we see him, you know, the little kid in me squeals and I have to go like, pick him up and make him do the stupidest things, like I’ll have him force lift things in the store. And people are like, What do you do?

And I’m like, I work here. And they’re like, Oh, cool.

Alicia: So basically what you’re saying is it sparks joy.

Michelle: It brings me joy. I’m glad it didn’t bring maybe somebody so much joy because then I see it on the shelf. It brings me joy.

Alicia: That’s good. I’m happy for you.

Michelle: Thanks.

Alicia: Don’t stop being you.

Michelle: Thanks. We are more than a thrift store. The amazing things that Goodwill does across the globe. But it’s every day.

Alicia: Every day, though. Not just “it’s going to be May.”

Michelle: Would you rather be thrifting every instead of being at work?

Alicia: Umm, yes. Sorry, boss.

Michelle: If you said yes and you live in eastern Washington or North Idaho, you would love goodwill. You love free swag, photo shoots, goodwill, and clothing, maybe get in on this podcast, and join our thrift squad.

Alicia: How do people join the thrift squad?

Michelle:  They can visit our website and they will find our handy dandy thrift squad application. You put in the application; we will do a little review. What’s our website again? Discovergoodwill.org.  

Alicia: Go ahead. I dare you join our squad. I dare you.

Also, I just want to mention because I can’t stop thinking about costumes now please send in just if you got any pictures.

I don’t care how old they are. They could be from 1997. Your pictures of really cool costumes you’ve made or put together and send it to MCC@giin.org.  

Were you inspired by Kevin’s story? Don’t forget to watch the entire video on our YouTube channel.

Michelle: I’d like to thank our guests today, Michelle and Kayla, for coming and talking to us about payee services.

Michelle: Yes. And if you’d like to learn more about our services and you need help managing your finances, you can get more information from our website.

Alicia: Where is that again?

Michelle: Discovergoodwill.org

Alicia: Discovergoodwill.org

Michelle: And if for some crazy reason you can’t remember anything that we talked about today, or you need help with resources about the Goodwill Accelerator program, visit our website.

Alicia: Or just replay this episode!

(Music fades out) 

Michelle Hey, if you’re hearing this message, you’ve listened to our new episode all the way to the end. And for that, thank you.

Alicia And don’t forget to keep up with what’s good by following us on Social Media, on Facebook, @INWGoodwill, Instagram @Goodwill_INW, Twitter @GoodwillINW, and TikTok @GoodwillINW.

(music fades)

Michelle: Alicia, I got a joke for you.

Alicia: What’s up?

Michelle: Do you want to hear two short jokes and a long joke?

Alicia: Yeah.

Michelle: Joke, Joke, Joke.


Alicia: Classic.

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