A community offers and does so much that I often miss a lot of it. Today I was touched by a local non-profit doing remarkable things in Southern and Western Colorado. If you are like I am and thought Goodwill was simply a donation center with several retail store sprinkled around town hold on to your hat!
I was fortunate today to attend a training class at the Discover Goodwill Center for Southern and Western Colorado off of Garden of the Gods Road just West of Centennial in Colorado Springs. The building is located in what was an IT building with over 100,000 square feet of space. On one side of the building we were given a tour of the Possibilities Program. Here was a real "town hall" built inside the building.
Clients come every day with different events, activities and programs designed to teach life skills in a one of a kind town square environment. Colorado Springs Discover Goodwill is the only one in the United States with something like this although it sounds as though other Goodwill's in the US are coming to see it, understand and possibly replicated in other cities.
Photo courtesy of Discover Goodwill
I was both touched and in awe walking through to see the buildings and what they houses for the participants. Programs for life skills include:
- Apartment - clients are taught how to use appliances (stove, dishwasher, microwave), do laundry, household management and grocery shopping just to name a few.
- Classroom - Clients learn about reading, writing, math and money through multi-sensory teaching and learning techniques. They also learn different computer competencies.
- Art - clients work with art in many different areas, techniques and mediums. One example was making the centerpieces for last years Gala (make sure to ask to see photos of this).
- Community Center - Group activities of all kinds including concerts, gardening, farmers market and much more.
- Credit Union - clients learn first hand how to go to a Credit Union, respect space, wait in line, give and get money. They also get a first hand experience of understanding from the Teller side what it looks and feels like.
- Fitness Center - Fitness classes, exercise, yoga, dance, martial arts. Healthy eating is also part of the fitness center objective.
- Gardening - Clients plant, care for and harvest vegetables and flowers on the grounds as well as have a farmers market in the summer and fall months.
- General Store - Clients learn how to be smart consumers with handling money (counting and making change, budgeting and purchasing goods with a debit card that they earn points on through some of the activities mentioned above.
Discover Goodwill is doing so much to help and support individuals with developmental and learning challenges. This is just one example of a program that they are actively running. For a tour or more information on how to volunteer or donate www.discovermygoodwill.org