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Making the Most of Your Summer
Goodwill Industries International

By Julia Marchand
Courtesy of Goodwill Industries International

How do you know when you’re doing summer right? Simple. When you’re spending as much time outside every day as possible and saving money on your summertime essentials. If you live in a place that celebrates all four seasons, there’s just something so special about the summer. We shiver through winter dreaming of sunlit afternoons lounging on the lawn, so we owe it to ourselves to take full advantage of these radiant days.

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Here at Goodwill®, we would love to help you make the most of your summer. Let’s start with attire, shall we? For some women, summer means dressing in less to keep cool, but feeling uncomfortable doing so. Don’t feel discouraged, ladies! It isn’t just you. The truth is that most women have some insecurities once their summer skin starts to show. But every body type has a flattering fit; it’s finding it that can be the challenge. Happily, Goodwill Industries of Michiana (South Bend, IN) has done the work for you – at least where shorts are concerned. Check out their recent post on finding the best shorts for your body type, and embrace those summertime vibes!
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Now that you’ve pinned down a summer clothing solution and you’re feeling a little more comfortable, let’s head outside! Of course, hitting the beach, hiking and biking are all viable options for August activities, but let’s not underestimate the relaxing qualities of gardening in your own backyard! Goodwill Industries of Akron (OH) nailed it with this post that shares four ways to repurpose thrifted items into planters. Our favorite is the bundt-pan-turned-floral-centerpiece. The umbrella post goes right through the center of the pan to hold it in place – Brilliant! 
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But why step inside after the sun goes down? You don’t have to if you follow this DIY tutorial from With a quick trip to your local Goodwill and a hardware store, you can put together a dreamy solar-powered table lamp like this and enjoy summer breezes well into the night.
Photo: Other by Indianapolis Furniture & Accessories Upholstery Club’s Shelly Leer. Image from

While you’re browsing your local Goodwill in search of the perfect shorts, planters or lamps, keep in mind that it is just one of 164 independent, community-based Goodwill agencies in the United States and Canada that provide employment training, job placement services and other community-based services to 9.8 million people annually. Your purchases are making that mission possible! Enjoy saving money and making the most of your summer. We still have more than a month to go!


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.

TulsaWORKS keys on accessibility to courses
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa; TulsaWORKS Career Academy

The mission at Goodwill TulsaWORKS Career Academy is to help people gain job skills and earn recognized certifications in order to improve their employability or to advance in their career.

This year, TulsaWORKS has implemented major changes to ensure that it is more accessible to the underemployed as well as the unemployed. Here is what is new in 2019.

More Evening Classes

A typical class day begins at 8:30 a.m. at 2800 Southwest Boulevard. However, the Workplace Computer Skills and Computer Support Tech Training courses have an evening option, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Both are 6-week courses. Workplace Computer Skils is designed for individuals pursuing careers that require computer usage (which is most jobs these days). Computer Support Tech Training teaches computer troubleshooting and repair skills, and prepares participants for the CompTIA A+ Certification exam.

The monthly Continuing Education Unit Seminars for Unarmed Private Security are now on Wednesday evenings that coincide with TulsaWORKS' Phase I and Phase II Unarmed Private Security courses. The Wednesday sessions are 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. except for the June and July seminars, which will be offsite at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office training facility on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This change enables our security employers to engage at the same time with every security class offered at Goodwill TulsaWORKS. The courses and CEU seminars are designed for people looking to earn or maintain their Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) license. 

“The TulsaWORKS Career Academy training opportunities were meeting the demand for unemployed participants,” said Parrish McDaris, TulsaWORKS coordinator. “We realized that many more people would benefit, especially those underemployed, if we made our training an option in the evenings as well as during the day and on the weekends.”

Weekday Options Expand

The Forklift/Material Handling seminar has a new session, Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The current Saturday session, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., remains an option. Both sessions are held monthly. The seminar teaches the safe operation of a forklift through hands-on practice in the learning space at Goodwill's Edgar J. Helms Center.

Lab time is now offered for every digital class Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and has already proven useful for many TulsaWORKS participants.

“We want everyone to have equal access to the opportunity and the resources to rise above their current circumstances, and have the career they may have thought was no longer possible," McDaris said.

Goodwill DIY: 3 Ways to Update Thrifted Baskets
Goodwill Industries International

By Julia Marchand
courtesy of Goodwill Industries International 

Quick quiz — what screams summer, makes organizing a cinch in any place at all (even on the go!), and is waiting for you at your local Goodwill? Thrifted baskets!

From burly laundry baskets to breezy woven seagrass, these permanently picnic-ready decor pieces will feel right at home in every room of your home and even out on adventures! Today we’ll highlight three quick and easy ways you can customize thrifted baskets for looks and functionality.

To add trendy tassels you’ll need:

  • A basket
  • Yarn
  • A small book or something else that makes just the right size tassels
  • Tapestry needle (Optional — can be helpful if the basket’s weave is tight)


Step 1: Wrap the yarn around the book (or whatever you found) until it looks thick enough. I went around 18 times. Slide the loops off of the book and cut along one end.


Step 2: With the yarn still folded in half, place a new length of yarn through the center of it. Then, lay that on top of another horizontal string. Double knot the horizontal piece of yarn around the tassel. You can wrap this around as many times as you want before tucking the ends inside the tassel if you want to (I kept it simple with mine).


Step 3: Repeat steps one and two until you have enough tassels.


Step 4: With the knots you just made placed against the basket, thread the top strings of the tassels through the basket and double knot them in place around the weave. If your basket’s weave is too tight for you to do this with just your fingers, use a tapestry needle to get through the narrow nooks. Do this, evenly spaced, all the way across the top of the basket.


Next up, I loved the unique shape of this square basket that I spotted while out thrifting, but I knew that adding some handles would make it easier to carry while full. While I was at it, I figured I’d just slap on a chalkboard label, too, so I could stick it up high on a shelf if I wanted to and I’d still know what was inside.


To add handles and a label you’ll need:

  • A basket
  • Faux-leather belt
  • Tough string
  • Tapestry needle
  • Paint mixing stick (or similarly thin wood)
  • Saw to cut the paint mixing stick
  • Power drill with a small bit (I used 1/8” bit)
  • Small paint brush
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Scrap wood
  • Chalk marker
  • Sandpaper


Step 1: Cut your thin wood to the right size for your label. I used a saw to slice a 3.25” long section of the paint mixing stick. After that, drill two small holes toward either end of the label. Sand all sides well then wipe off the dust. Paint with chalkboard paint according to the container’s instructions and let dry.


Step 2: Measure two lengths of the belt to make the handles. Mine are each 6” long. Use the actual holes in the belt or add your own holes by hammering them in with scrap wood behind the belt.


Step 3: Thread a length of string through the needle, position the handles and label (after it’s completely dry) wherever you’d like them, and thread them through the basket’s weave to be secured with a knot on the inside. Try to stitch the needle between the weave of the basket if possible so you aren’t poking holes into the straw/wood itself.


This last one is easy as pie and just as charming. I found this basket a couple of months ago and I love its size and shape so much. However, I noticed that since I keep it in a little nook in my bedroom, it tends to look pretty dark and shadowy over there. I was looking for a way to brighten this piece up and a fresh strip of white paint definitely helped!


To get that paint-dipped look you’ll need:

  • A basket
  • Paint (I used spray paint, but you don’t have to)
  • Paint brush if necessary
  • Painter’s tape
  • Newspaper


Step 1: Tape off the section you want to paint making sure to cover everything you don’t want to be painted. Remember that paint (especially spray paint) can seep through the basket’s weave so you may want to fill the basket with paper on the inside, too. Press the tape firmly into place so nothing can sneak through!


Step 2: In a well-ventilated area, paint the bottom with spray paint or by hand with a brush. Make sure you follow the directions on your paint to make sure you’re doing it safely.


Each of these is just a quick afternoon project that adds personality to one of the most versatile items on Goodwill shelves. Pile ’em high with picnic supplies, replace your beach bag with something boho, or get a grip on your indoor organization. You could even use your thrifted basket to tote donations in on your next thrift store trip! Goodwill is where your stuff goes to work and any baskets you buy there are sure to carry more than their fair share of the workload. Have fun making them your own!


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.


Spring Career Fair returns at Goodwill
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Goodwill believes bringing together job seekers and employers is an important part of our mission.

Employers need help finding available job candidates. Job seekers need information about available job openings. Goodwill responds to those needs by hosting hiring events at our Goodwill Job Connection locations, and career fairs at the Goodwill Edgar J. Helms Center.

On Tuesday, April 23, we will host our Spring Career Fair from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dozens of actively hiring employers are expected. The career fair is free to attend for job seekers. You can browse at your own pace and visit with employers in the fields of your interests without feeling pressured to stop at every booth.

However, networking is another valuable aspect of career fairs. So, taking just a little time to visit with employers and get their contact information could pay off down the road. If you are uneasy with this step, read this article from The Balance Careers for tips.

Sunny Martinez, COO and publisher of The Job Guide, had a booth at the Goodwill career fair this past October. She enjoyed being a resource for the attendees, taking the time to listen and direct them.

“I like to help,” she said, “I send people to places they might be interested in and encourage them to try ones they’re not used to hearing about.”

Eric, who lives in Tulsa, also attended the career fair in October. He said he had been out of the workforce since 2005, and so it had been a long time since he had got out to talk with employers. Eric spoke with at least 10 employers in a little over an hour at the career fair.

“I liked being able to speak with a person,” Eric said. “There were a ton of good jobs over there.”


  • Job seekers can use the regularly updated list of participating employers on our website or Facebook to research those they might want to visit with during the career fair.
  • The Job Guide is a bi-weekly employment publication with distribution in northwest Arkansas, southwest Missouri and the Tulsa Metro area. Learn more about this resource at
  • Visit a Goodwill Job Connection near you to prepare for the career fair. You can get copies of your updated resume and research companies on our public computers. No appointment necessary, however, we recommend to come at least a week before the career fair. Location information

TulsaWORKS Class Spotlight: Google IT Support Professional Certification
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa; TulsaWORKS Career Academy

Although the students share common goals, they have different motivations for taking the Google IT Support Professional Certification course at Goodwill TulsaWORKS Career Academy.

TulsaWORKS offers a suite of digital training courses that prepare participants for different aspects of the IT industry, from computer basics to recognized certifications. Google IT Support Professional Certification is an 8- to 12- month course that provides intense training on entry-level IT skills. Participants learn through self-paced virtual training at home and weekly onsite class work at TulsaWORKS with instructor Montana Nanney.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate is a plus for anyone looking for a career in the industry. However, talking with some of the students at a recent class revealed each one has his or her own motivation for mastering the IT arts.

Instructor Montana Nanney (second from right) with students in the Google IT Support Professional Certification class at TulsaWORKS.

Ricky has a job with the IT Help Desk for San Diego County. He says he had the confidence to apply for the post because of the skills he learned in the IT track at TulsaWORKS. Now in the Google IT Support Professional class, Ricky can keep striving and get better in his career field.

"You learn a lot, you grow." Ricky said, taking a pause from an exercise in password management. "(The class) is going to make you grow and get you to where you want to go."

Vungh wants to enter the IT support industry for a very practical reason: It pays well.

Vungh has been out of work for five months and he missed the enrollment period for IT Fundamentals. However, Montana was able to get him enrolled in the Google IT Support Professional class while Vungh waited so he could keep his skills sharp. Now he is taking both classes. He said he does a majority of the class work at home, but enjoys the onsite lab time.

Vungh has his eyes on more IT training with the goal of eventually working as a junior network administrator.

"I like where it's leading me now," Vungh said.

Lorna, a retired nurse, is in her second career as a small business owner. Lorna is also a nontraditional student: She turns 60 this summer. Grateful for the opportunity to "still learn," Lorna has a better command of Excel after taking the Workplace Computer Skills class at TulsaWORKS. With the Google IT Support Professional classwork, Lorna sees herself becoming more proficient in topics such as networks, encryption, website construction, and hardware connectivity.

"Every business owner needs to know these things," Lorna said. "It's the life and death of your business."

Lorna believes Goodwill is providing a great service for small-business owners: "They are teaching you how to be the CEO and CFO of your company."

"One quality that runs through here is that it's real instruction," Lorna said. "There are very qualified people here."

Lorna is on the verge of launching the full vision for her small business. She understands the magnitude of the undertaking and she wants to be prepared.

"My business. That's why I'm taking all of this," Lorna said.

Denise was encouraged to enroll in Google IT Professional Support training after she breezed through the IT Fundamentals class at TulsaWORKS. She needed less than two weeks of the six allotted to finish the first module of Google IT Professional Support. Even though Denise has past experience working with ATMs in the 1980s, she is a little surprised that Google IT Professional Support is coming so easily.

Her class experiences have rekindled Denise's interest in computer technology.

"Montana helps a lot; he encourages you," she said. "He says ‘you know more than you think.' He makes it see not quite so complicated."

Denise's goal is to work on a company's internal tech support team. She takes the Computer Support Tech Training/A+ class during the day and appreciates that she can work on her Google IT Support Professional coursework either at home, or at the library, or at Goodwill.

"I tell everyone about Goodwill," she said about the class offerings, "I tell strangers about it."

Visiting with VITA volunteers
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa


While the winds were howling outside on Saturday morning, inside Goodwill’s doors over 50 tax returns were processed for our community members.

Goodwill is one of five host sites for Tulsa Area United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). This service is designed to serve families with free income tax return preparation by IRS trained and certified volunteers.

This was Keryn’s first year as an IRS-certified tax preparer and she reports the challenges and rewards of a hard working day. “Assisting someone with their tax return is a big responsibility,” she said. “You want to ensure every box is checked and all entries are accurate.” But the reward is even bigger for Keryn. “It is my personal mission to take my personal time to serve the community,” she said.

 A volunteer works with a client at Goodwill’s Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site.

Volunteers like Keryn make days like today possible. Another hero with no cape is Robin, the Goodwill VITA Site Coordinator. He assists those whose returns are rejected. “If the IRS has a question upon submission, I assist the individuals to ensure their return is accepted,” Robin said.

He has served as a VITA volunteer for years and has now earned a leadership role that comes as no surprise once speaking with him. Robin’s outlook is simple – “I like numbers,” he said. “So I enjoy helping others who may not like numbers as much as I do.”

Robin encourages the community members to stop by the Goodwill VITA site this season. “It’s a free service,” he said. “And you are in good hands with experienced volunteers who are here to help!”

Tax preparation starts at 9 a.m., but doors open at Goodwill at 8 a.m. Plan to get here early this Saturday to ensure you land one of the 50 spots available.


  • For more information on eligibility requirements, visit Tulsa Area United Way VITA information
  • Or for free tax assistance outside the Tulsa area, visit this online form or call 2-1-1.

Librarians stretch book budget at Goodwill
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Melodie Sivadon Reader and Kristin Haddock are longtime friends who love shopping at Goodwill for themselves -- and for work.

Last month, they came to the Goodwill Southwest Boulevard Store to buy books for the Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library, where they are librarians.

“We enjoy shopping at Goodwill, as they have a great selection of gently-used and new books at a great price,” said Melodie, Children & Young Adult librarian. “Low prices help stretch our book purchasing budget, which means we may purchase more books. This, in turn, makes both our patrons and librarians very happy."

The two librarians recognize the dual benefit of their Goodwill trips. The library restocks its collection with more books, and the purchases support Goodwill’s work in the community. Goodwill provides job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities or other disadvantages.

The librarians’ book budget was $1,500. Kristin, assistant librarian at Sapulpa Public Library, had brought a 10-page shopping list.

“I was able to check off a lot,” she said.

They filled several tote bins with easy readers for kids, chapter reading level books, and young adult books, both fiction and non-fiction. For adult books, their selections ran the gamut of romance, Christian fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery with varied fiction thrown in.

A Goodwill trip really pays off when they are able to find a missing book in a series that a library patron has been eager to read. The librarians keep their eyes open for manga and graphic novels, which are also popular among patrons. They will sometimes pick up DVDs and videos.

Just as it is for other thrift shoppers, the joy is finding unexpected gems. For Melodie and Kristin, those can be recent releases in nearly new condition, large print editions and Westerns.

“We have so much fun,” Melodie said of the Goodwill shopping trips.

The librarians said they do have to shop other bookstores, primarily for the latest releases. They also thoroughly appreciate the donated books they receive. However, they are trying to meet circulation demands for inside and outside the library (such as nursing homes). So, in the face of tightening budgets and cutbacks, they have to make the book budget go further.

For similar reasons, teachers, homeschoolers and many other educators use Goodwill as a resource for classroom materials. Our “Book Nooks” are neat and well organized so that shoppers can easily find what they need. We can offer a great variety of book genres and authors because of the generosity of our donors. We ship approximately 17,800 books a week to our 11 stores. Each and every one of those is needed to keep our book sections well-stocked. 

With no more room in the trunks of the librarians’ cars, but plenty of space left in their spending budget, a return trip was definitely in order. “We look forward to returning to Goodwill to complete the final purchases for our PO in the next few weeks,” Melodie said.

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