Goodwill helps those with disabilities find work

Jul. 4—Independence Day seems the perfect time to talk about an organization that's been fostering independence since the 1930s. Since that time, Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley has been empowering individuals to achieve independence and improve their quality of life. The organization's mission is to make it possible for all people to live, learn, work, and play with full inclusion in the life of the community.

We're all familiar with Goodwill Stores and the Goodwill Auto Auction. Eighty-seven percent of every revenue dollar received by those donation centers goes directly into funding programs that support the community through programming that empowers people with disabilities and other disadvantages. The money pays for outreach programs and services that offer "a hand up, not a handout" to individuals in our community.

Employment Services are geared to each individual and may include certification programs, career counseling and job readiness programs. Among outreach programs are mental health services, vision services, adult day programs for individuals with developmental disabilities, a free car seat safety program, senior services, Main Street Recovery Center, and a medical equipment loan program.

These programs are supported by donations to the 32 Goodwill Stores located in 23 counties and the Goodwill Auto Auction. "Not only do we rely on the community to donate gently-used items, household goods, and vehicles to support our programs, but we have diverted millions of pounds of materials from landfills," says Matt Arntz, vice president of retail and facilities. "Goodwill could never do it without the support of our community shopping and donating in our retail stores and supporting our online auctions."

Priscilla, a participant in one of the Goodwill Easterseals employment programs, would like others to know that there is help so others can overcome their own barriers. "The staff never judged me and are always so polite and helpful," she relates. "I never feel out of place. Their kindness in the classes made me feel a lot more comfortable. If it wasn't for the caseworkers and instructors, I probably would not have found a job. Who knows where I would be right now?"

Our Make a Difference readers often ask where they can donate medical equipment that's still in good condition. "We accept most non-motorized medical equipment," says Cindy Carusone, the organization's donations manager.

Did you know that Goodwill Easterseals lends assistive-living medical equipment free of charge to anyone in need? That includes wheelchairs, commodes, walkers, crutches and more. For medical equipment loans, call 937-937-528-6357. Limited home delivery is now available.

Here's what they can use — Clothing — Shoes — Electronics — Toys — Medical equipment — Jewelry — Books — Furniture — Dishes — Linens — Household Items — Small working appliances — Computers and computer accessories — Cars, RVs, trucks, camping trailers, fleet vehicles, farm equipment, motor bikes, industrial equipment

The hours for Goodwill Stores and Donation Centers are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. A list of stores and donation centers can be found on the organization's website at

Other ways to help

Goodwill Easterseals engages with hundreds of volunteers who work to enhance the agency's mission and vision. Opportunities are available for individuals and groups: conducting mock interviews for job seekers, reading for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through the Radio Reading Service, and providing clerical support for various departments. GESMV also customizes opportunities for business and organizations interested in team-building activities.

If you or your group is interested in learning more about ways you can become involved, submit the form on or contact the volunteer services manager at 937-528-6371.

You can also make cash donations that would help support the mission by funding much needed services to the community. For more information on donating financial gifts, visit


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group's mission.