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Posts from 2017

3 DIY Holiday Gifts Made from Thrifted Knitwear

By Julia Marchand
Courtesy of Goodwill Industries International

Talk about thrifty gifts — I’ve got three ideas for you today that will turn out tons of cozy holiday presents for just about anyone on your list! As an entrepreneurial leader, environmental pioneer and social innovator in the “reduce, reuse, repurpose” practice, Goodwill® is all about keeping things out of the landfill. So, we love to see shoppers work on projects like the ones we’ll share today which showcase a few of the many possible outcomes of repurposed knitwear. If you need to make a little bit go a long way this holiday season, this is the post for you …


Image via

Those who celebrate Christmas know that the stocking is an important piece of decor and tradition. Every season we hang our stockings by the chimney with care, so at some point it will be time for new ones. That’s where these stunningly simple drop cloth and sweater stockings from Taryn Whiteaker come into play. With such inexpensive supplies, she must have been able to stitch up this whole set for only a matter of dollars. Even if you can’t think of anyone who needs a new stocking, wouldn’t this be a beautiful substitute for a front door wreath if it were stuffed with greenery? Or, in a smaller size, the perfect topper for a gift? Or a napkin and silverware holder on a Christmas table setting? Just think about the people on your shopping list this year and how this project could work for them.

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For a slightly more neutral holiday gift, we have these sweater ornaments shared by Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc. (Toledo) on their Goodwill Christmas Pinterest board. They would look incredible on a green Christmas tree, but could also bring whimsy to a less Christmas-y display. I can see them piled high in a large hurricane jar for a wintery centerpiece or scattered across a frosty-looking entryway table display to mimic snowballs. They still have a snug holiday feel to them without appearing over-the-top Christmas-y. I bet in one weekend afternoon you could whip out a bunch of these! Just cover up any thrifted ornament and secure in place with glue. If you’re worried that your sweater will unravel when cut, you can draw the pieces you’ll need on the sweater first then use a zig-zag stitch all around those markings before you slice into it. This should keep the weave together so you can get its placement just right on the ornament before the glue sets.

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And here’s one last way to repurpose an old sweater: mug cozies! Even someone who doesn’t celebrate any holidays (but still made it on your to-gift list) would be able to use one of these. You could knit your own from thrifted yarn like the cozies in this picture shared by Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin, Inc. (Madison) on their All Things Holiday Pinterest board. Or, you could use more sweater scraps to make them. If your knit isn’t felted, employ that same zig-zag stitch trick and fold ribbon or bias tape around the edges to further secure it. You could even add buttons to accommodate different-sized mugs if you feel like getting fancy!

So, basically, it IS possible for you to create custom gifts for everyone on your list even just from a knitted sweater or scarf! While you’re at it, any leftover threads of yarn could become tassels for the stockings. Let your imagination run wild and feel great that because your gifts are crafted from second-hand supplies, they’re making a positive impact on the Earth this holiday season.

Julia Marchand is a home decor/DIY blogger at LITTLEroost. From her little roost in rural New England, fueled by coffee and fresh air, Julia blogs for Goodwill Industries International creating sustainable DIY, home decor, and fashion content from thrifted finds.

Goodwill Tulsa #GivingTuesday Campaign
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Many people in our community feel locked out of the work environment because of the challenges they face. With your help, we can give them the keys to better career opportunities. On Giving Tuesday, November 28, help us raise $3,000 to make sure 150 of your neighbors get to experience Career Readiness Training. This training provides skills that will allow them to overcome obstacles to employment.




Click to Donate to Campaign

Show Your Support! Post your @Unselfie to encourage others to give! Tag us, @goodwilltulsa, and use @GivingTuesday and/or #TurnYourTuesday.  

Financial Coaching Program fits Goodwill
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa
Catherine Pate, AFC, talks about her work as a financial coach at the program introduction at Goodwill Industries of Tulsa on Thursday.
Working partnerships and program integration were the key themes as Goodwill Industries of Tulsa introduced its Financial Coaching Program at an event Thursday, August 31.

Goodwill has partnered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to provide free financial coaching services to families in the Tulsa area. Goodwill of Tulsa is one of 60 organizations chosen to host a professional financial coach. Catherine Pate, AFC®, FFC candidate, has been headquartered at Goodwill since mid-June.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Pate said. She also appreciates the collaboration with the Tulsa Area United Way, which initiated the application to be a host site.  

Neil Sunley explains the benefit
to individuals of integrating services
at the Financial Coaching Program Introduction on Thursday. Sunley is
deputy program manager at Armed
Forces Services Corporation.
People having access to multiple services in the same place was a plus in the Tulsa application, said Neil Sunley, Deputy Project Manager of Armed Forces Service Corp. The company oversees the CFPB program, including selecting sites. At Goodwill, people coming in for financial coaching can easily connect with Goodwill’s career training programs as well as resources through United Way partner agencies.

“Integrating is the key part,” Sunley said. “That is where the magic happens.”

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas are believed to be the only two Goodwills selected for the program. Cindy Longacre, director of Community Initiatives at Tulsa Area United Way, saw the opportunity to apply in April. She strongly believed Tulsa would be a great candidate.

On Thursday, Longacre shared findings from a recent financial coaching study: Financial counseling services even helped people with low incomes and disproportionately high housing costs to reduce debt, increase savings, obtain credit and improve credit scores.

“Now, who doesn’t want to be a part of that?” she said.

Pate described herself as the navigator for individuals as they follow their road map to their financial goals, values and dreams.

“I’m the voice that keeps people on track,” she said.

Sabrina Ware, director of Goodwill TulsaWORKS Career Academy and Goodwill Job Connection, believed the CFPB program fits naturally into Goodwill’s mission to help people overcome barriers.

“And not being able to take charge of your finances can be a barrier,” Ware said.

 Ware reiterated the financial coaching with Pate was free of charge and available to anyone.  

“Refer, refer, refer,” Longacre told the audience. “We want to keep her busy.”

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa Selected to Host Financial Coach
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2017

Update: 8/1/17
Goodwill will introduce this financial coaching service to the community on August 31, 2017 from 9 to 10 a.m. at their Training Center at 2800 Southwest Boulevard, Tulsa, OK.  

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa Selected to Host Financial Coach

Tulsa, Oklahoma – Goodwill Industries of Tulsa announced today that it has been selected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to participate in the federal agency’s Financial Coaching Initiative. As part of this initiative, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa will host a full-time financial coach at its Training Center on Southwest Boulevard in Tulsa to work with its employees, program participants, and others to help them with their financial goals.

“We are very excited to have been selected to host a Financial Coach,” said David Oliver, President of Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. “We look forward to helping many people reach their goals.”

Millions of consumers are economically vulnerable, including the 48.7 million people living below the poverty line, and the more than 67.5 million who are financially underserved. These consumers are the most likely to lack access to traditional financial services, which may include products that are more appropriate to their needs and less costly. In-person, individualized and trustworthy guidance can help these consumers make good financial decisions and reach their financial goals.

The CFPB Financial Coaching Initiative provides financial coaching services at critical points in consumers’ lives as they move along the path to financial stability. The program helps both veterans as they transition from active duty status, as well as, economically vulnerable consumers seeking other services from social services and other providers.

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, a Tulsa Area United Way Partner Agency, is one of sixty diverse partner organizations from around the country that have been selected to host professional financial coaches. The sites include 20 nonprofits. All of the nonprofit organizations selected to host financial coaches for economically vulnerable consumers also provide services that complement financial coaching such as job training and education, social and housing services.

Financial Coaching at Goodwill will extend services offered to the public, including free income tax preparation in partnership with Tulsa Area United Way, free job search assistance at Goodwill’s Job Connection locations, and Goodwill’s extensive employment and training programs.

The financial coaches hired for the program have experience working with the populations they will service, are accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education and are trained in financial coaching techniques.

More information on the CFPB’s Financial Coaching Initiative is available here:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is the nation’s first federal agency whose sole focus is protecting consumers in the financial marketplace. Using its multiple authorities, including regulation, supervision, enforcement, market research, financial education, and the authority to deal directly with consumer complaints, the CFPB is working to restore trust in consumer financial products and services.

For more information on the CFPB visit:


Financial Coaching Program Introduction, August 31

FYI: Veterans invited to mentor picnic
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa; Veterans Treatment Court

The Veterans Treatment Court Mentor Corps is inviting veterans and their families to a picnic Saturday at the Partners for Heroes Overlook on Lake Skiatook. The purpose is to celebrate the mentor-mentee relationship and to encourage all veterans to engage in mentor and peer support programs. 

The event is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Transportation is available if needed. Shuttles will leave the Coffee Bunker at 10 a.m. and return at approximately 3:45 p.m.

If interested, call (918) 588-8409 to register. You can click on the flier below to download a full size version.


FYI: Tulsans can properly dispose of medications April 29

Via the City of Tulsa


Updated 4/28/17:

The event has been cancelled due to inclement weather. A new date has yet to be finalized.


A prescription drug take-back event is scheduled for citizens to properly dispose of unwanted medications and prescription drugs on Sat., April 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three locations in Tulsa:

  • 71st and Sheridan — Reasor's parking lot, 7114 S. Sheridan Rd 
  • 41st and Yale  Reasor's parking lot, 4909 E. 41st
  • 21st and 129 M.e.t. Recycling Center parking lot, 12466 E. 21st

Prescription drug overdoses kill more Tulsans, ages 25 to 64, than cars. The largest groups of users are 18-to-25 year-olds. A recent Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment study shows that 16.45 percent of Tulsa County youth are obtaining prescription drugs from home.

Citizens are urged to properly dispose of medications and not flush medications down toilets. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove chemicals found in many medications and these chemicals could discharge into streams if medications aren’t disposed of properly.

The prescription drug take-back event is being conducted by the City of Tulsa Water & Sewer Department, Tulsa Police Department, the Coalition Against Prescription and Substance Abuse of Tulsa (CAPSAT), Tulsa County Medical Society, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the DEA.

Citizens can also take unwanted prescription drugs to one of the three Tulsa Police Division headquarters and to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office any time of the year. Locations and hours include:

  • Tulsa Police Gilcrease Division, 3436 N. Delaware Ave., 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Tulsa Police Mingo Valley Division, 10122 E. 11th St., 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Tulsa Police Riverside Division, 7515 S. Riverside Drive, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Tulsa County Sheriff, 303 W. 1st St., 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Event page on Facebook 



Goodwill good for the environment and good for people
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa


By Nancy Webster
Director of Community Relations, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Every year, people clean out their closets and homes to start fresh for the spring season. This Earth Day, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa is encouraging people to live more sustainable lifestyles and help people in their local communities find jobs. In addition, people can shop Goodwill stores and save while collectively diverting thousands of pounds of items from landfills impacting environmental sustainability. By shopping at and donating to Goodwill, you can help people find employment, and build their work skills.

Goodwill’s donation-resale model extends the life of clothing and other goods, and earns revenue for Goodwill job training programs, employment placement services and other important social services, such as GED classes, financial education, support services and more. Donating to Goodwill is a simple way to begin living more sustainably.

“Revenue raised through the sale of donated goods creates employment opportunities and important social services to help transform someone’s life. This is all done through the simple act of cleaning out a closet,” said Nancy Webster, Director of Community Relations at Goodwill Industries of Tulsa. “Making a commitment to reduce, reuse and repurpose this Earth Day is as simple as heading to the nearest Goodwill store or donation center.”

Every donation to your local Goodwill provides on-site classroom training, access to computers for job search assistance, employment placement job training and other community-based services such as career counseling, and résumé preparation for anyone facing challenges to finding employment. Last year, more than 1,200 people connected with jobs or earned employment using Goodwill Industries of Tulsa’s career services programs.

Goodwill Industries of Tulsa provides work opportunities, job training and support training for people with disabilities and other employment barriers.

This article first ran in the Tulsa World as a Letter to the Editor on Sunday, April 16, 2017.   

Helpline open regarding OkJobMatch breach
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

A toll-free helpline is open for Oklahoma JobMatch users who have concerns related to the recent security breach. 

America’s Job Link Alliance (AJLA) Response Center is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by calling (844) 469-3939. Job seekers can call for information on the security incident and to determine their eligibility for credit monitoring.

OKJobMatch is part of America’s JobLink, the multi-state system that AJLA manages. On March 21, AJLA-Technical Support confirmed that a third-party exploited a vulnerability in the America’s JobLink application code in order to see names, Social Security numbers and dates of births of job seekers in up to 10 states including Oklahoma. For more details on the incident, follow the links below.

Free Income tax services through Goodwill, partners
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Tax time is here. And many taxpayers can have their returns prepared free of charge!

VITA Program

Volunteers with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will be at 2800 Southwest Boulevard to prepare income tax returns Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. from February 4 to April 15. Prior year returns and amended returns can also be prepared beginning March 18.

Tulsa Area United Way facilitates the VITA program locally. Individuals and families with household
income up to $54,000 are eligible. The other VITA site locations, scheduled to open in February, are:

East Side Christian Church
1438 S. Indianapolis Avenue
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tulsa Dream Center
200 W. 46th St. North
Mondays and Thursdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges
815 S. Utica
Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.

8145 E. 17th Street
Tuesdays, 9 a.m-3 p.m. Spanish is spoken here.

You can call 2-1-1 Helpline for other sites and hours in Tulsa. If you are outside Tulsa,

Online with MyFreeTaxes

If you are comfortable working on computers and earn up to $64,000, you can prepare your own taxes online at no cost at


Sponsored by United Way, with support from H&R Block®, MyFreeTaxes is a free, safe and easy way for anyone with household income up to $64,000 to file state and federal taxes. And it’s optimized for mobile devices so filers can enter data into their secure account anytime and anywhere.

Assistance is available through online chat or the helpline, 1-855-My-Tx-Help
(1-855-698-9435). Save the money that you’d spend on tax software or going to a paid preparer. Check it out here

Important note on EITC, ACT credits

Beginning this year, a new law requires the IRS to hold your Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child
Tax Credit refund until February 15. The IRS must hold the entire refund not just the credit portion.

You don’t need to wait, however, to file your tax return. AND going to a paid preparer will NOT make
your refund come faster. VITA volunteers and MyFreeTaxes can check if you are eligible to claim
these valuable credits. For instance, the EITC helps workers keep more of what they earn to pay for things
such as childcare, groceries, and car repairs to get to work. Learn more here.

Happy tax season!

Five Fabulous DIY Calendar Ideas
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

You went to write a note in your desk calendar, saw Dec. 31 staring back at you, and then realized January had somehow still sneaked up on you. (Haven’t we all been there?)

Take the sting out of not having the foresight to order a 2017 calendar by making your own. Here are five fun ideas we found for your work desk and the home. You can buy ready-made pieces for your project. The real fun, however, is figuring out what you can find to upcycle or repurpose at the thrift shop.

1. Julia Marchand of Jeeze, Julia!, and a featured blogger for Goodwill Industries International, tried to help us before the holidays. She was going for speed with her idea, and so she used a nice photo stand as a base for a custom photo desk calendar. See it at The Goodwill Blog

 courtesy photo


2. This clever idea by Leila turned paint samples into a bright, colorful and chic calendar. See it at chicism

 courtesy photo


3. We saw many variants of this desktop calendar with hanging pages using a shadow box and cup hooks. This version by Southern Living shows how to make it shine with some glitter and craft paper. (Video from the Southern Living YouTube channel)



4. “Simple & Chic” is the perfect way to describe this desktop calendar. To make it, PBunnieP used a steady hand and nice lined notepad paper. You can often find notepads on the wares shelves at Goodwill. (Video from the PBunnieP YouTube channel)



5. Chalkboard calendars are cool. Even cooler when you can make one from a repurposed mirror like this by Elizabeth of Within the Grove. It helps you stay organized while adding some pizazz to your home décor. See it at Within the Grove

 courtesy photo


Now you can say you have an excuse for being late with your 2017 calendar. What kinds of DIY calendar projects have you tried? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

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2800 Southwest Boulevard, Tulsa OK 74107