By: Nancy Webster | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2018
Pictured left to right: Alex Morris, Graduate of the Year, Traci Daubert – Employee of the Year, Michelle Hartman, SJH Hospitality – Community Partner, Alex Morris – Achiever of the Year.
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa celebrated another year of accomplishments at their Annual Awards Luncheon which was held on May 9th, at the Southern Hills Marriott. Over 700 employees, clients, board members, community leaders and other business partners and friends of Goodwill joined in the celebration at the Southern Hills Marriott Hotel.
In keeping with tradition, special awards were revealed during the luncheon. Recipients of the Graduate of the Year, Achiever of the Year and Employee of the Year told how programs and employment services changed their lives. The Community Partner Award went to a business who has provided services and support and explained why doing so is “good business”.
The Achiever of the Year, Kevin Jefferson always wanted to be a computer engineer. He thought he was on the right track, but his dreams were derailed by a life-threatening car accident. He was out of work, forced to drop out of college. He learned that Goodwill’s TulsaWORKS Career Academy offered computer training classes so he enrolled in the Customer Support Tech Class. He developed real-life relevant IT skills and knowledge. Kevin completed the class in 2017, and soon took advantage of an opportunity to participate in a service learning internship program with a local organization, 501tech. 501tech refurbishes computer equipment and provides IT support services to Tulsa area nonprofits. This internship allowed Kevin to put his newly developed skillset to use with a sense of mission. After the internship, Kevin went to work fulltime with 501tech. He knows that he is where he belongs. He is happy and really loves what he does. “Goodwill’s training program changed my entire life,” says Kevin. “Everything I learned at Goodwill I apply in my daily life at work. Goodwill helped bring my dream back to life.”
For Graduate of the Year, Alex Morris, social interaction was difficult. As a high school student, he worked hard but was always very quiet and reserved. His family knew that in order for Alex to be successful post-graduation, he would need to better understand social relationships and how to relate to people. The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services referred Alex to a new program at Goodwill that had specialized transition training for high school students on the Autism Spectrum (ASD).
In Goodwill’s class Alex was exposed to a variety of teaching techniques designed to educate him on what is expected in the workplace. Alex and his classmates used video to role-play customer service scenarios and how to interact with co-workers and supervisors. Special mobile technology applications were utilized to help Alex communicate, interact socially, and cope with anxiety. Alex was able to practice his newly learned skills by performing paid work in Goodwill’s retail store.
Once Alex graduated from high school and Goodwill’s ASD program, he transitioned to Goodwill’s Supported Employment program. With the assistance of his employment consultant, Alex landed a job at Reasor’s as a courtesy clerk. Initially, Alex needed one-on-one support from his employment consultant to navigate the social realm of his job and to learn how to move from task to task. With assistance from his employment consultant and support from his supervisors and co-workers, Alex became a successful, independent member of the workforce. Alex learned to interact well with customers and developed relationships with his co-workers and supervisors. He has successfully maintained his Reasor’s job for five years - he enjoys his job and likes going to work. Because of his success in the workplace, Alex received the coveted “Governor’s Disability Award of Excellence” in 2017.
Employee of the Year, Tracy Daubert’s story began thirty-six years ago, when she was born with a chromosomal anomaly.. Her parents were told that if she lived she would have severe intellectual disabilities and delayed development. Undaunted by this diagnosis, Traci’s parents took her home and treated her just like her sisters. With physical, occupational and speech therapies and other supports, Traci flourished.
During Traci’s senior year at Union High School, she participated in Goodwill’s Transition Work Adjustment Program. After graduation in 2000, she came to work for Goodwill’s contract services, where she participated in collating, packaging and assembly work that Goodwill performs for local companies.
Five years later, Traci transitioned to Goodwill’s hospital enclaves, shredding confidential documents at SouthCrest Hospital, and later at OSU Medical Center. During that period, she developed social and work skills and learned how to function as a member of a team to accomplish tasks. When a new position as a member of a cleaning enclave at St. John Hospital in Broken Arrow became available, she accepted it. The job was a perfect fit for her. It challenged her to learn new work skills, while interacting with hospital personnel and members of the community. When that contract ended, she joined Goodwill’s cleaning enclave at OSU Medical Center where she continues to thrive today.
Despite what she has had to overcome, Traci always wears a smile. She is very active and loves the social aspect of her job, particularly the interaction with hospital staff. She feels comfortable and at home at work with her friends and staff, and is proud that she is part of the community. “Goodwill has been such a big part of Traci’s life,” says her mother. “She has been working with Goodwill for seventeen years, and if she could work every single day she would!”
As you have read, your donations are helping people in our community overcome considerable challenges to meet their goals. Your clothing and household items can be donated at your neighborhood Goodwill donation center.
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