Sam Stockman

    Sam Stockman

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    New Horizons Through Education

    [fa icon="calendar'] Jun 20, 2024 3:01:18 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in The Excel Center, Education, mental health, refugee, Goodwill Education

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    After the loss of her husband, Bunmi Oloke, along with her two young sons, made the decision to leave their homeland of Nigeria and seek asylum in the United States in December 2018. Overwhelmed by grief and grappling with the weight of her new reality, Bunmi found herself confronting not only the challenges of adapting to a foreign land but also the formidable task of preserving her mental well-being.

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    Empowering Older Americans through Employment

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 17, 2024 1:23:00 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Retail, Mission Awareness

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    In recognition of Older Americans Month, we spoke with Patricia Culp about her journey with Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana. Patricia embarked on her journey with Goodwill in 2015, starting as a cashier at the Lafayette retail store. This occurred during a challenging period in her personal life; she had recently lost her father and assumed the role of caretaker for her mother, who was battling dementia.

    As her mother's condition progressed, Patricia transitioned to full-time caregiving, leading to her departure from her job at Goodwill. Following her mother's passing, Patricia found herself grappling with grief.

    "I didn’t know what to do with myself. I got depressed, and I felt like an orphan," Patricia said.

    Soon, Patricia found that she had more time on her hands than what she knew what to do with. Seeking a new sense of purpose, Patricia rejoined the Goodwill retail team at the same Lafayette location in September of 2022.

    "I was nervous, but I started to feel better as soon as I started," Patricia said.

    Thriving in her role on the sales floor, Patricia quickly established herself as a valued member of the retail team. Over time, she honed her skills across various departments, from cashier to textiles, wares, and books, positioning herself for future leadership opportunities.

    In April 2024, Patricia achieved a significant milestone in her career when she accepted the role of Team Lead at the Lafayette retail location. She aspires to emulate the leadership she has received from her mentors within the organization. Looking ahead, Patricia envisions a long-term commitment to Goodwill, expressing gratitude for the supportive environment it provides.

    "They are the kindest, nonjudgmental people I have ever met. I have so much more confidence in myself and others because of them," Patricia said.

    Are you or someone you know seeking employment? Check out current opportunities on our website. 

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    Raising Awareness of Mental Health in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 14, 2024 9:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in ClickGoodwill, Retail, mental health, Mission Awareness

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    As we enter the month of May, Goodwill wants to take a moment to highlight the significance of Mental Health Awareness Month and why it’s important to us.

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    Goodwill Attends MAVPAK's Annual Pallet Games Competition

    [fa icon="calendar'] May 13, 2024 10:18:17 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Foundation, ClickGoodwill, Retail, eCommerce

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    Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana made its second appearance at MAVPAK’s annual Pallet Games competition on Wednesday, April 24. MAVPAK, a packaging company founded in 2015, offers packaging, warehousing, and equipment solutions to its customers. The company supplies all of the packaging materials and additional support to Goodwill’s eCommerce division. 

    "Through my faith, I decided that I should take my gifts and create a company that acts as a shining light," said John Goo, the founder and president of MAVPAK.

    John first encountered the idea of these games as a volunteer during a similar event in Louisville, Kentucky. Inspired, he developed his own version, which became known as the Pallet Games.

    "I love to celebrate the hourly workforce and logistics industry. This is the one big thing we can do to give back and have fun for no other reason than to celebrate," John said.

    The competition brings together a collection of MAVPAK’s customers for a day of fun, games, and teamwork. It aims to unite the warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing communities to build culture and inspire teamwork. Each team consists of 10 to 20 players that participate in games that require skill sets found in warehouse environments, such as packing delicate materials, navigating obstacles with a pallet jack, and so much more. 

    Teams are encouraged to dress up and show out. Each team is encouraged to decorate their own pallet and is welcomed to the games on a red carpet with an official introduction from MAVPAK’s team complete with music, cheers, and spirit. During down time, players can partake in a series of mini games throughout the warehouse to keep the fun going at all times. 

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    A Path to Financial Empowerment at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 19, 2024 10:30:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Retail, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, Financial Literacy

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    Embracing Second Chances After Incarceration

    [fa icon="calendar'] Apr 5, 2024 3:30:00 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Criminal History, Retail, Former Addiction, Mission Awareness, Mission Coaches, DEI

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    "My life is completely different now. I have resources, mobility and a support system. I finally have meaning," said Loretta "Lori" Fairfield, a Team Lead 2 at Goodwill.

    Lori's life prior to joining Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana was marked by trauma and adversity. She experienced the loss of multiple family members, while her parents battled alcohol addiction. Later in life, Lori herself grappled with addiction, leading to her incarceration in 1997.

    After spending over 25 years in the criminal justice system, Lori reached a turning point where she was determined to transform her life. Achieving seven months of sobriety, Lori entered house arrest with the intention of reentering the workforce. However, she encountered barriers securing employment due to her previous incarceration. At the suggestion of her caseworker, Lori embraced the opportunity to work for Goodwill and joined the Goodwill retail store in Lebanon as a wares producer in November 2021.

    During her tenure at Goodwill, Lori made significant progress in her personal and professional life. She established a more structured routine with her grandson, pursued her education and actively participated in various forms of outpatient therapy. Through therapy, Lori addressed the trauma she had experienced and worked on managing her severe social anxiety.

    Lori tackled financial challenges and set goals for advancing her career with her Goodwill Mission Coach, a life and career coach. Mission Coaches are available to all Goodwill employees and students. As she gained new skills and responsibilities, Lori was promoted to the role of Team Lead within her first year at Goodwill. Lori's peers recognized her progress, success and dedication to her role, resulting in another promotion to Team Lead 2 within a few months.

    "I love my job, the people and the diversity,” said Lori. “I enjoy helping people."

    Since joining Goodwill, Lori has achieved numerous milestones with the support of her team. Drawing on her life experiences, she finds common ground with others facing adversity and aspires to guide and support her peers as a strong leader.

    "I wouldn't be here without them. They stuck by me and supported me through my legal barriers, educational barriers and the dramatic things in my life. I have a career now!"

    Are you looking to start a career at Goodwill? Check out our website for current job openings!

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    Shattering Stereotypes: Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workplace

    [fa icon="calendar'] Mar 19, 2024 11:00:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, ClickGoodwill, Retail, Mission Awareness, DEI

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    The Resilient Spirit: Nicole’s Story of Triumph

    [fa icon="calendar'] Mar 15, 2024 1:00:00 PM / by Sam Stockman posted in The Excel Center, Education, Southern Indiana, Goodwill Education

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    Goodwill's Chief Diversity Officer Discusses the Great Migration

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 16, 2024 11:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Leadership Spotlight, Strategic Plan, DEI, Black History Month

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    Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana continues its celebration of Black History Month by spotlighting African American leaders across the organization. Ivan P. Cropper, Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief Diversity Officer at Goodwill, sees February as a pivotal time to set the tone for the rest of the year – an opportunity to reflect on the influence of African Americans and those who paved the way for future generations.

    "Black history is American history, and although we emphasize it in February, it’s no less important throughout the year," Ivan said.

    Black History Month provides a space to recognize Black people’s contributions to America’s successes, which have had an enduring impact. Ivan recalls being influenced by figures such as Jesse Jackson running for president in the 1980s and being drawn to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From Spike Lee’s thought-provoking films to Oprah Winfrey’s journey from actor to executive producer in "The Color Purple," Ivan acknowledges the challenges these individuals faced to achieve success.

    Ivan's family history is intertwined with the Great Migration – a period of time between 1910 and 1970 when African Americans left the Jim Crow south behind in pursuit of opportunities up north. His mother, father and grandmother left Virginia and North Carolina in the 60s and 70s, with his grandmother selling her established corner store to join her son in Connecticut, where Ivan was later raised.

    In response to the events surrounding George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana looked inward to determine its role in fostering a better and more equitable world. The organization appointed Ivan as Chief Diversity Officer, entrusting him to lead the effort in championing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout the organization. Under Ivan's guidance, Goodwill incorporated DEI into its strategic plan, encouraging all departments to develop their own equity work plans that complement the organization's plans.

    "Being the Chief Diversity Officer is understanding the broad spectrum of where people find themselves,” Ivan said. “It's about ensuring that programs and learning opportunities are in place to meet people where they are and allow them to continue their education within that space."

    Ivan remains committed to collaborating daily with people from all walks of life. Similar to his parents and grandparents who sought to create opportunities for their futures, Ivan strives to create opportunities for the individuals we employ, educate and serve at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.

    "People of color have been on this continent for centuries, making contributions to American life,” Ivan noted. “I genuinely appreciate the people we work with day-to-day and what they bring to the table. Their open hearts and minds for people of all walks of life are evident every day. I’m happy to be a part of it."

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    Love Rekindled: Find Second-Chance Jewelry at Goodwill

    [fa icon="calendar'] Feb 14, 2024 10:15:00 AM / by Sam Stockman posted in Employment, Valentines Day, ClickGoodwill, Retail

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    A 1.83 carat Cartier diamond platinum ring sold at Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana

    The tradition of giving jewelry to loved ones dates back centuries. According to the American Gemology Institute, women in ancient Rome received rings made of ivory, iron and bone. Between the 14th and 15th centuries, naturally forming diamonds were cut and polished into what is known as point diamonds, the precursor to our modern round brilliant cut diamond. Engagement rings were introduced in America in the early 1900s. In 1948, De Beers, one of the world's leading diamond companies, launched its "Diamonds are Forever" campaign, marking a pivotal moment in the history of jewelry.

    Thousands of pieces of jewelry are donated to Goodwill each year, giving these stunning accessories new life, and providing their owners with new opportunities to create memories. When jewelry is donated to Goodwill, it’s first sorted into categories and styles. A quality control member inspects and identifies the pieces, and specific brands will be submitted to a third party to ensure the piece is authentic. A precious metal analyzer is also utilized to help identify the elemental makeup of specific pieces, ensuring the listing is as accurate as possible. 

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