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Goodwill TulsWORKS Success Story: Meet Keonna
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

 

Keonna, 33, knows what she needs to do to be successful at her job as a Goodwill donation attendant.

The 17th and Yale Avenue attended donation center in Tulsa, where Keonna has worked for nine years, is a busy site. They can serve up to 100 people a day, Keonna said, so she has to be on point  and on time.

Getting to work by 9 a.m. (10 a.m. on Saturdays) could be a challenge as Keonna does not have a car and has to use public transportation. No problem. Keonna has figured out her commute, which now involves two bus trips and a short walk to the site. She has to allow for a good two and a half hours to make sure she is on time. She knows the Tulsa Transit system so well that she can map out a trip itinerary for others off the top of her head.

Keonna has met the transportation challenge head on. She approaches her disability in the same way. Keonna believes that her diagnosis does not define her. She carries herself such that you probably would not even notice a disability.

“She’s a leader,” said Goodwill Job Share Program Manager Rhonda Hall. If something needs to be done, Keonna will do it. And if a change is needed to make things run smoother at the donation center, Keonna will look to implement it. She demonstrates great customer service to her co-workers, who look to her for encouragement and her job knowledge.

Keonna’s dedication has been evident since she came to Goodwill out of high school in 2004. She was a contract service worker at the former Goodwill East Campus in Tulsa, where she did packaging and light-assembly work for companies. Her supervisor believed she could handle more challenging work (“I was fast at it!” Keonna added), so Keonna applied for and got the donation attendant position.

Rhonda helped Keonna overcome her shyness on the job and to learn to keep her spirits up at work.

“Just because you had a bad day you can’t take it out on the customers,” Keonna said.

Even when there are multiple cars waiting to unload and many full carts to sort, she said she does not let it overwhelm her. The work is fun and it keeps her busy. Job coach Jeanette and her coworkers feel like “family.” She enjoys interacting with donors, meeting new people and seeing the interesting things they bring.

“Are you sure you don’t want a tax receipt, this is pretty nice stuff?” Keonna often asks.

Having a good job also helps Keonna maintain order in her personal life. And she sees her personal growth from someone who could be “a handful” to a mature young woman who can be serious about work and still find joy in it.

At work and at home, Keonna keeps herself busy. She takes walks in her spare time; she has a goal of 8,000 steps per day, around 3,000 of which she gets during her commute to work, another benefit of the job.

Sometimes, when she gets home after a day of work, it can still be hard to shut it down, Keonna admitted.

“I want an extra day,” she said with a laugh.



Make Tax Time, Savings Time
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

Believe it or not, you can actually save money during this tax season!

The deadline to file federal returns is Monday, April 15. Goodwill will be one of four local sites providing free income tax preparation as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. Tulsa Area United Way coordinates this IRS program locally through VITA sites where volunteers prepare federal and state income tax returns at no charge. Returns are filed electronically, also for no fee. Taxpayers with household income of $55,000 or less are eligible. Goodwill’s VITA site will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until we reach capacity) at 2800 Southwest Boulevard.

If you expect to receive a refund this year, make a vow to save some of it now. America Saves will help you stick to your commitment with free supports like motivational emails and savings tips. Learn more and register on the America Saves website.

You could even win a nice prize for committing to save. The SaveYourRefund campaign, a partnership between America Saves and Commonwealth, will give away 100 prizes of $100 throughout tax season and award two grand prizes of $10,000 each through a photo and caption contest in which tax filers share their motivation for saving. Our VITA volunteers can help file your return, set up your savings, and put together your contest entry. The winners from last year and their stories are on the SaveYourRefund campaign website

As you begin preparing to file your taxes this year, start thinking about building up that rainy day fund as well.

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Goodwill TulsWORKS Success Story: Meet Christine
Goodwill Industries of Tulsa

 

Christine shares how her confidence has boosted since attending courses at Goodwill TulsaWORKS Career Academy.

Currently living at Charles Page Family Village with her daughters, Christine has the opportunity to pursue job training and certifications that lead to better paying jobs and financial freedom. She is ready for a change and challenge, professionally. Christine is motivated to take the necessary steps toward her big goals! She encourages anyone who’s experienced a major life change, and has a chance to reinvent themselves, to come to Goodwill TulsaWORKS Career Academy.



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