2006-05-04 / Community

Goodwill contest to award $1,300 closet makeover

By Michelle Knight knight@theacorn.com

In an effort to beef up donations, Goodwill Industries of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties is partnering with a Newbury Park organizing firm in sponsoring a $1,300 closetmakeover contest, which will run through May 15.

Bring in at least one mediumsize donation bag to any of the five Goodwill stores in Ventura County or two Santa Barbara County stores to qualify to enter the drawing.

The winner will receive the services of four organizers for five hours-a $1,200 value- and $100 worth of organizing items.

"It's amazing what can be done in that amount of time," said Teine (pronounced "Dana") Kenney, owner of organizethis, the two-year-old Newbury Park organizing company that's partnering with Goodwill for the contest.

"It's perfect for both of us; I love Goodwill," Kenney said.

Besides promoting business, the contest will alert people to the good things Goodwill does, she said

"It's the most precious part of our society to take care of the disabled."

Kenney personally has been touched by Goodwill's mission. Before her daughter died at the age of 14, Kenney recalls watching her sit in a wheelchair and thinking how important it would be for her to learn a productive skill one day.

Goodwill thrift stores provide the financial support for its educational and vocational training programs specifically designed for people with barriers to employment.

The Goodwill training facility in Oxnard has three programs: one helps parents who are behind in child support payments get job skills necessary for steady employment; another trains students in computerized medical billing, bookkeeping or database management; and the most recent program offers job training for the homeless, people with mental-health or substance-abuse issues and those on probation or parole.

More than 160 people were trained for jobs at the facility in 2005, said Kathy Leahy, Goodwill president for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Goodwill itself employs about 100 people in the two counties. Leahy hopes the campaign will "maximize donations and get people cleaning out their garages, their closets and thinking about Goodwill."

There is a Goodwill drop-off site at the Sears Automotive Center in the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. For other Goodwill locations, please visit www.goodwill.org/page/guest/ about.

The contest winner will be announced on May 25.

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