The Pride of A Job Well Done


Teresa enjoys a joke from her co-worker.

by Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Teresa’s dad taught her about the value of a strong work ethic, and she takes his lessons to heart every day in her job at Goodwill. Being able to go to work each day makes her proud.

“My dad taught me to get a job, and have fun,” Teresa said.

Teresa has worked at Goodwill since 1991, spending many of those years under the wing of work supervisor Bonnie Slattery. She worked for Bonnie years ago on Goodwill’s large textile sorting belt, which has since been removed, and she and Bonnie are back together again in the rack area. Teresa’s job is to perform the final sort on clothing items before they’re sent to the store. She does some pin tagging too, making sure every item has a price tag.

“I always ask Bonnie, ‘What do you want me to do first?’” Teresa said. “Bonnie always likes to have me come in all the time.”

Bonnie said Teresa is a hard worker who has really stepped up her efforts lately, especially since a co-worker was out for several weeks on medical leave.
“She’s dependable. She does really good quality work,” Bonnie said. “She’s been helping out in a few areas she hadn’t been working before. So she’s picked up some new responsibilities.”

Teresa has also worked in several different areas of Goodwill and in the community. She used to work as a janitor at the federal building, where her outgoing personality was a big hit.

“Everybody loved me on the fourth floor,” she said.

Bonnie confirmed that Teresa is a great team player.

“I think Teresa gets along nicely with everybody within her department,” Bonnie said.

Teresa is a huge NASCAR fan, and plans to travel to Miami this November to see a race.

Brad Brings High Energy to Job

By Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth
bradWithin just a few seconds of meeting Brad, it’s easy to see how much energy he has. No matter what his work task is for the day, Brad brings his high energy to get the job done.
“When you give me a task, I’m able to do it lickety-split,” says Brad, who has worked at the Wendy’s restaurant near the Miller Hill Mall for the past 12 years under Goodwill’s community employment program. His Goodwill job coach and case manager provide him with the support he needs to excel in his job.
“They have helped me try to improve on my work skills,” Brad says. “They’re helping me day by day with special needs, and if I have any particular problems I can go and talk to somebody.”
Unfortunately, Brad was displaced from his job as Wendy’s product coordinator in early January after a devastating fire, but Goodwill’s custodial crew is happy to have him help out in the meantime.
Brad is happy to be there as well, and to have an opportunity to work.
“I do what I can to enjoy my work, and I do what I can to enjoy my co-workers as well as I can,” Brad said. “I want to impress the supervisor as best I can.”
He understands the importance of work to having strong self-esteem.
“I take a lot of pride in my work,” he said. “I know how to get the job done. I do what I can to keep an area as clean as I can.”
Brad lives independently and does all of his own cooking, cleaning and laundry, and is working on his budgeting skills. He likes reading, bicycling, and going for walks, and is interested in woodworking.
You can help to support jobs for more than 200 local people just like Brad! Simply donate your gently used goods at any local Goodwill store. Thank you for your help!

Tiffaney’s Future Comes Into Focus at Goodwill


By Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Since coming to work at Goodwill, Tiffaney has gained many important job skills, including a renewed ability to focus. In the future, she hopes to use that focus through the lens of a camera as a professional photographer, but for now she is happy to continue working her way up at Goodwill and improving her retail job skills.

When she first started working at Goodwill about a year ago, Tiffaney had a hard time concentrating on her job tasks.

“When I first came here, I got distracted a lot,” she said.
Practice and help from Goodwill staff members has helped her to stay on track.

“I have heard from my case manager and from both my supervisors that I’ve been doing a lot better,” Tiffaney says. “I’m proud of myself for that.”
Tiffaney mainly works in the rack department, sorting clothing into the proper categories before it goes into the store. Her work supervisor, Bonnie, says she has made a lot of progress.

“I think she has done remarkably well,” Bonnie said.

“She is willing to work on any task that we give her,” said Duluth store supervisor Sherri, who oversees Tiffaney on Fridays when she works in the store. Tiffaney helps out at the jewelry counter, straightens out the dressing rooms, and puts merchandise out on the sales floor.

“She gets along very well with her co-workers and she’s good with the customers,” Sherri added. “She’s just flexible in what she can do.”
Tiffaney says working at Goodwill has helped her to make more friends, including a boyfriend, and improve her responses to stressful situations.

“Even my parents have noticed that I’m getting better,” she says. “My parents are proud of me too.”

It’s given her a newfound sense of independence as well.

“It helps you feel more responsible and independent,” said Tiffaney, who hopes to become more financially responsible and move into her own apartment eventually. “At Goodwill I’ve been able to feel like I can depend on myself more.”

She enjoys her job at Goodwill, but her dream job is to become a professional photographer, child care worker or cosmetologist. Outside of work, the 23-year-old loves reading, swimming, bowling, roller blading, scrapbooking, and going motorized parachuting with her dad.

Your donations of gently used goods support job training programs for Tiffaney and her co-workers. Donate to Goodwill to make a difference!

Working at Goodwill Gives Sense of Purpose

nickBy Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Nick Marich is used to working hard.

That’s what made it so difficult for him after he had a devastating back injury while on the job as a heavy equipment mechanic.

“I heard a big crack in my back,” Nick recalls. “That’s how this whole back thing started.”

Nick’s 1995 back injury created a huge roadblock in his career. Not only did a 10-pound lifting restriction eliminate many of his work possibilities, but he also found that employers were afraid to hire him because of his previous worker’s comp claim.

“It was tough. When you walk in there and you tell them that you’ve got a broken back, they don’t want anything to do with you,” he said.

Unable to find a job and living with chronic back pain, Nick found himself in a downward spiral. But a ray of hope finally emerged through a random encounter when he happened to run into a WorkForce staff member while at the hospital with his dad. She convinced him to sign up for Goodwill programming.

Nick started working at Goodwill in 2007, starting out in the sawroom but eventually finding a position helping out in the Garfield Avenue store.

“It’s been a good fit here,” he says. “This helped a lot, to get some stability back in my life, a schedule to work. You can’t sit home every day.”

Nick is in charge of all the new goods orders for Goodwill’s 13 stores, making sure they have office supplies and shopping bags. It’s a big responsibility.

“I do all the shipping and receiving down there,” Nick says. “I take pride in that, to do it accurately and on time.”

“He’s helpful whenever you need him to do something,” says Nick’s manager, store supervisor Sherri Swenson. “He is my go-to guy for new goods orders. He does a lot of our stocking work for us.”

Nick’s longtime case manager, Denis LeRoux, praises Nick’s customer service skills, pointing out how he takes the time to chat with regular shoppers. He’s proud of Nick’s progress, as well as his helpful influence on other program participants.

“I’m very impressed that he came here and adapted to the system,” Denis says. “He’s likeable; he relates to people. He represents Goodwill in a positive way.”

Nick lives with and takes care of his 81-year-old mother in Morgan Park, where he’s lived all of his life. He credits his mother and Denis with turning his life around during a particularly dark time.

“I’m a whole different person now as I sit here than what I was back 15 years ago,” he says. “I was pretty down and out when I came here, to be perfectly honest with you. It was just good to get back to work again.”

He’s still dealing with the effects of his back condition, diagnosed as advanced multilevel degenerative disc disease. Six of his lower vertebrae are rubbing together with no disc in between, and doctors don’t have any solutions for him.

“They can do replacement discs now, but you have to have good vertebrae. I’ve seen every surgeon from here to the Mayo Clinic,” Nick says. Medication helps with the physical discomfort, while the ability to come to work each day at Goodwill makes a huge difference for his mental health.

“I couldn’t sit home every day. That would drive me wacko,” Nick says. “We all complain about work, but at the end of the day, we like to come to work, do our job and make a little money. The store is good. I want to stay where I am. It’s a place of employment where you can work with a busted back.”

Outside of work, Nick enjoys watching auto racing and spending time with his daughter and two grandchildren, ages 6 and 3.

A Friendly Face at Goodwill Duluth

By Valerie Clark
Public Relations Specialist, Goodwill Duluth

Nick, 51, has been a familiar face in Goodwill’s workforce for more than 30 years.

Nick has cerebral palsy, which has made it difficult for him to find work through the years. Goodwill Duluth helped to change all that, giving Nick the opportunity to work in many different areas through the past three decades. He’s currently working in the large downstairs pre-sort department, where he sorts dishes, glasswares and silverware, and gets them ready to be sent out in store loads.

He enjoys his work.

“I’m happy,” Nick says.

“Nick does a great job,” says his work supervisor, Tammi.

Nick likes to stay active during his off times as well. You might find him riding his bike around the streets of Duluth during the summer.

“It keeps me strong,” says Nick.

Now that bike riding season is most likely over for the year, Nick will probably spend more time on some of his other hobbies, like watching movies, listening to records and playing with the large model train set that he has set up over his bed. He’s also involved in the DRCC Softhands group, which helps him to learn and practice life skills like cooking and cleaning.

He’s grateful that Goodwill’s employment and training programs make it possible for him to come to work every day.

You can support Goodwill’s programming for people like Nick just by donating your gently used household goods! Learn more: www.goodwillduluth.org