GRACE project celebrates one year of helping people gain confidence and employment

Through Goodwill program, people receive clothes, makeovers, employment services to re-enter the workplace

Published Friday, August 5, 2016

Goodwill Manasota GRACE ProjectSARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota’s GRACE project is celebrating one year of helping people who are entering – or re-entering – the workforce through employment services and a makeover. GRACE (Goodwill Returning Ambitious, Confident people to Employment) was created through a partnership with 92.1 CTQ radio personality Maverick Johnson and NUOVO Salons.

Through the program, participants who are already receiving career counseling from Goodwill’s Job Connection offices or Veterans Services Program receive clothing from Goodwill, on-air support from Maverick, and a hair and makeup tutorial from stylists at NUOVO to help them during the interview and employment process. 

The GRACE project was created in 2015 to connect Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work with that of a person seeking self-improvement through employment. Maverick, who is a Goodwill Ambassador – a community members who make a commitment to share the mission of Goodwill with the greater community by volunteering at events, speaking on the organization's behalf, creating new fundraisers, and introducing their friends, family and colleagues to the organization – came up with the idea for the program after reading a news story about a similar program for the homeless.

“GRACE just came to me,” Maverick said. “It’s my mother’s name. It is a name that fits her perfectly – she is the definition of the word grace, as she is elegant, poised and dignified. She is simply the strongest and most caring person I know and she always gave me the confidence I needed to succeed.”

The GRACE project gives people confidence while, at the same time, offering a better chance to re-enter the workforce. “Goodwill has such wonderful job assistance programs, from résumé building to classes to improve a variety of business skill-sets,” said Maverick. “Plus they have their wonderful retail centers, with fantastic clothes and accessories. It has been a perfect match.”

“Our world is very visual. Any interviewer will tell you that they size you up in the first few seconds,” added NUOVO Salons co-owner Terry McKee. “To be able to give someone some insight and an enhanced outward presentation at the same time is really rewarding.”

In the past year, GRACE has helped half a dozen people gain confidence in their appearance. All those served through the GRACE program have secured employment.

“Far too many individuals have the skills, experience and a willingness to learn but may be held back because they are unsure of their appearance,” said Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller. “Over the past year we have been able to transform people who already had the courage to reinvent themselves and give them the confidence they needed to succeed through the GRACE project. We are so grateful to Maverick and NUOVO Salons for their continued support.”

 For more information or to make a donation to the GRACE program, call (941) 355-2721 or go to

PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller, 92.1 CTQ radio personality Maverick Johnson and NUOVO Salons co-owner Terry McKee

About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit