What I Have Learned at Goodwill This Year

My life has really changed in the past year. I graduated from college, moved back to Knoxville, and got a full-time position here at Goodwill through AmeriCorps. Because I have gone from a full time student to working full time, I have learned a lot and had a lot of new experiences. As this year is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on the many lessons working at Goodwill has taught me and made some resolutions for the New Year.

What Goodwill Does

I have been shopping at Goodwill my whole life. Like everyone, I love finding a good deal. I vaguely knew that Goodwill did more than just sell clothes, but it wasn’t until I accepted this position and came to work here that I understood just how much more Goodwill does. They offer a wide range of job training programs including a Certified Nurse Assistant program, the Careers in Retail Initiative, a Driver’s Ed program, and so many more. I feel like I learn about something new that Goodwill does every day. If you’d like to read a story I did about one of our clients, click here.

Our first class of Careers in Retail graduates. Careers in Retail offers free management training for people who want to grow their careers to move out of entry-level jobs.

Our first class of Careers in Retail graduates. Careers in Retail offers free management training for people who want to grow their careers to move out of entry-level jobs.

How Important Donations Are

Similarly to learning what Goodwill does, I have learned how important donations are to the organization. The majority of the funding for Goodwill's vocational services comes directly from sales in stores. Not only it is good for the environment to donate your gently used items for reuse, it is good for your community. If you donate in Knoxville, your donations and the proceeds from selling them stay right here in East Tennessee to help people with barriers to employment in our area. I have made it my personal goal in 2016 to donate all the clothes in my closet that I no longer wear. I'm planning to follow the One Year Rule, which says that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you should donate it.

Listening

There is a difference between hearing someone and listening to them. I have been interviewing people for various blog posts and the Goodwill Show on Community Television, and it has really shown me that I need to work on listening to what people are saying instead of worrying about what I want to say. This can be tricky when interviewing, but I know that it will make my interviews stronger. Everyone that I have talked to at Goodwill has a unique story and perspective and I know that if I take the time, I could learn so much from each and every person that I meet. In 2016 I would like to work on listening to all the stories around me. If you’d like to watch an interview that I did with one of our Careers in Retail participants, click here.

Telling

One thing that I have enjoyed learning is how to share the mission of Goodwill. I like being on the Marketing Team because I get to see all of the amazing things that Goodwill does and share that knowledge with the public. I get to share stories in many of the ways I have already mentioned, but in the past several weeks we have been hosting Donation Appreciation Days to thank donors for supporting our mission. It has been great to get out of the office and talk to people face-to-face about what Goodwill does. Check out our final Donation Appreciation Day today (December 28) from 4-6pm at our Pleasant Ridge Goodwill!

Alyssa at a Donation Appreciation Day at our store in Sevierville. 

Alyssa at a Donation Appreciation Day at our store in Sevierville. 

I am really looking forward to 2016 and the second half of my AmeriCorps year. I have learned a lot so far, and I am excited to see what the coming months hold. 


About Alyssa Watson

Alyssa is an AmeriCorps member serving at Goodwill Industries Knoxville in the Marketing Department. She is excited about her time off for the holidays and having time to do some crafting.