Murray Goodwill Store Celebrates Third Anniversary
By Saundra Stroope | firstname.lastname@example.org
Midvale - The Goodwill store in Murray will celebrate its third anniversary on March 13. The sales from the store support local community programs including the Easter Seals-Goodwill Peer Connections program, Wiggly Worm Sensory Processing Class, PLAY Project (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) and employment services to enable low-income and disabled individuals to learn skills that allow them to successfully enter the workforce.
The Peer Connections program was started in Utah and was recently recognized as Goodwill Industries International’s Volunteer Program of the Year for 2015. Peer Connections is designed to help students ages 16-22 with significant social communication issues, such as high-functioning autism, enhance their communication and relationship skills. They do this by matching participants with a volunteer teen mentor and providing regular opportunities for social interaction during a structured community service, work or career exploration activity.
“[It’s] an opportunity for students to practice social communication skills they need to work. It’s one thing to find a job, but if they don’t know how to respond to a supervisor, handle a tough customer or respond to other challenging work situations, it won’t last long,” Janet Wade, senior director of family support and transition services, said.
Assignments focus on specific goals for each weekly meeting and have been held at the Goodwill store, the Leonardo Museum, the aquarium and the museums at Thanksgiving Point. Wade said the program served 65 families on the Wasatch Front last year. As a result of the program’s success, they are expanding services to St. George, Utah and Billings, Montana.
The Wiggly Worm and PLAY Project programs also serve Murray families. Wiggly Worm is a program specifically for parents and children in preschool through age 6. It offers parents easy and effective strategies they can use at home to make their child’s world a more sensory-friendly and peaceful place. The PLAY Project is a nationally recognized program that provides in-home training and support for families of children age 14 months to 8 years with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Chelle Fried, community relations officer for Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain, said Goodwill strives to generate money from every item donated. Items that simply don’t sell in the store or don’t meet quality standards for the store are recycled and sometimes routed to other countries, like Africa, where people are living in extreme poverty.
Fried said that “there are parasites in Africa that can kill people” by entering the bare foot, and “some [people] don’t even have shoes.” The old shoes that an average American might throw away can improve and help save the lives of others. They strive to do everything possible to make good use of every item received.
Store manager Julie Bateman said the items that sell easily in the store are those that have a good household use from Tupperware, to candle holders, to picture frames and other decorative knickknacks. She said Halloween is “our Christmas” season and the largest time of the year for sales.
Rather than buying an expensive off-the-shelf costume, they encourage community members to be creative and craft a unique Halloween outfit from clothing and accessories donated. She wants people who make donations to feel as though Goodwill is finding a positive use for their past treasures.
The Murray store was the second to open in Utah. Since its opening Easter Seals-Goodwill has added a third store location in Layton. Utah has contributed approximately 17 million pounds of donations to Easter Seals-Goodwill. Donations are received directly from community members and through ongoing partnerships with other community nonprofit organizations, like the Road Home where they pick up excess donations on a weekly basis.
In April, Easter Seals-Goodwill will host a pop-up store at the Hometown Living Expo in Sandy, and those who follow the Facebook page (Facebook.com/SLCGoodwill) should be on the lookout for special one-day-only 50-percent -off coupons appearing throughout the month.
To volunteer as a teen mentor for Peer Connections or learn more about the Easter Seals-Goodwill programs serving Murray families, contact Janet Wade at 801-633-2091.
To make a donation to the Goodwill store, visit the store at 6042 State Street in Murray during open hours, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. or Sunday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. You will be greeted by a staff member to help unload your donation and give you a tax receipt.