We’re working on ways to coordinate your local Goodwills with the post-Sandy relief efforts, but in the meantime, we thought we’d share on a topic close to our hearts (and full of inspiration, for those dearly in need). Be well and best of luck to you all.  — GoodwillNyNj

National Disability Employment Awareness Month has officially come to an end, but our support and respect for workers with disabilities is still going strong.

Despite the number of people with disabilities in the U.S. and the fact that they represent all races, classes and cultures, many people are unaware of the rich history of the disability movement and the many companies and organizations that are deeply enriched by this workforce.

Take a look at two of our own stand-outs showing up and spreading inspiration here in the Goodwill Astoria Headquarters:

National Employment Disability Awareness Month may be over, but April and Shonda are still going strong. We celebrate them & their fellows no matter the month of the year!

April Lewis, a woman in her mid forties with traumatic brain injury, joined Goodwill’s NJ Rehab program 8 years ago. April has worked in Goodwill’s production area sorting and hanging clothes on racks, as a book scanner in the agency’s  E-Books department, and currently sorting wires and adapters in Goodwill’s work center. Always likeable and pleasant, she is always willing to help her co-workers. Currently, April is unsure of the type of competitive employment she would like to obtain.

Shonda Yarbough, a woman in her early twenties with multiple disabilities, came to Goodwill two years ago. Shonda works in Goodwill’s work center assembling materials for various companies. She also has worked at the retail production area sorting and hanging clothes on racks that later will be placed at the sales floor of the Goodwill store in Harrison, NJ. Shonda aspires to work at a children daycare facility.

Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, decision-making and communications, are critical for success in all occupations and industries. Here at Goodwill, we work to pair job opportunities with soft skill development. We are beyond proud of our program participants and of our workforce. Thank you for spending a month celebrating them with us – and we hope you’ll join us in continuing that celebration, too.

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