In 2019, Goodwill® Industries of Southern Arizona is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! Since 1969, Goodwill® has provided a “hand up” for any person who wants to achieve independence through jobs, education and skills training. This means helping individuals realize their potential, see and achieve their steps in the career pathways they set while providing support along the way. In the past 5 years alone, Goodwill® has served over 50,000 individuals.
“Every individual Goodwill serves makes our mission worth doing,” said Liz Gulick, Co-President/CEO. “When a 43-year old employee gets her GED; when a young adult gains employment so he can provide for his young family; when a person earns a better wage because of new skills that makes him more valuable in an organization…all of them.”
Every month this year, Goodwill® is sharing stories of individuals who have been impacted by its mission at
GoodwillSouthernAZ.org/50years. There you can learn who your donations have helped in our community.
Of those thousands of individuals that Goodwill® has employed and served throughout the years, MEL CHAMBERS, a recently-retired Goodwill® employee has seen the organization’s evolution in the 28 years he worked with Goodwill®. In his tenure, Mel held positions in various departments including Loss Prevention, Retail, Facilities and Maintenance, Corporate Compliance and Safety.
“I enjoyed working for Goodwill…I’m going to miss the people…that’s why I’ve been here for as long as I had. I never even considered getting another job after I got the job at Goodwill,” said Chambers.
Mel was hired in 1991 to manage Goodwill’s four thrift stores and open its fifth location, having had a background in retail. Mel recalls when the organization didn’t have the money to make improvements on the look of the store. “I’m not sure we had anybody who knew what the inside of the store should look like to be attractive…The appearance of our stores and ADCs have changed immensely.”
In the most recent years and with the support of generously donated items, Goodwill® has seen rapid growth in its thrift operations to support its expanding mission services. Twenty retail locations and 20 ADCs (attended donation centers) support approximately 500 full-time local jobs and 12 mission programs centered around providing customized and individualized services so community members can achieve their career and educational goals.
When asked about what Goodwill’s mission meant to him, Chambers replied, “It means to me that we have a number of training programs that enable anybody who is having a difficult time getting started with employment or getting started with life skills that they need or just learning a little bit more about doing well with life, that we have a program that will help them out. I think we can touch anybody who has any kind of misfortune or lack of education, lack of skill, just can’t get their life started in the right direction, I think we provide that for them, and that’s what that means to me.”
To learn more about Mel, visit GoodwillSouthernAZ.org/50years