SARASOTA, FL – Just in time for the holidays, girls from Girls Inc. of Sarasota County had a lesson on philanthropy and gave of their own time and efforts to help those in need. On December 28, middle and high school girls enrolled at Girls Inc. participated in a Youth Lunch & Learn at the Goodwill Manasota corporate campus and participated in the “Backpacks for Vets” project to help area homeless veterans.
The girls first enjoyed lunch and then heard a presentation on the history of Goodwill, its mission, and the programs and services the organization is able to provide to the community through the sale of donated goods. They learned about opportunities to volunteer at Goodwill to earn community service hours and got a behind-the-scenes tour of Goodwill’s Corporate Campus store. Then they packed essential items into durable backpacks, which have been distributed to homeless veterans through Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program.
Supplies for the Backpacks for Vets project were provided by employees of Sabal Palm Bank who were seeking a way to support Goodwill and the community members it serves at the holidays.
“We are proud to support and partner with students in our community through programs and events such as donation drives, giving challenges, Lunch & Learns, and Youth Ambassador activities,” said Pavitra Ciavardone, community outreach manager for Goodwill Manasota, who has volunteered with Girls Inc. since 2011 and helped to connect the organizations for this effort. “We are thrilled to build an ongoing relationship with Girls Inc. – as well as create similar partnerships with other organizations – that give the youth in our community an opportunity to become involved in Goodwill Manasota’s mission and familiar with the programs and employment services we provide.”
Goodwill will be involved with the Girls Inc. “Girls Summit Day” on March 30. Girls in Girls Inc. programs across the county will come together for an event that focuses on self-esteem and confidence through fashion, with outfits provided by Goodwill. The girls will learn about creating a personal and professional style that highlights their unique personality and strengths, and then work together to put on a fashion show. Goodwill’s Giving Mobile will be on-site to collect donations of gently-used items from attendees.
“The recent Lunch & Learn event has provided valuable insight and leadership training for our girls," said Amanda Poynter, high school program manager for Girls Inc. “This event gives youth a behind-the-scenes look at the great things Goodwill is doing for the community as well as hands-on service experience through the assembling of backpacks for local veterans experiencing homeless. Our girls were able to ask questions over lunch and connect further by giving back in a special way, all within a safe, fun, and educational environment.”
For more information about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721.
Photo ID: Pavitra Ciavardone (center), community outreach manager for Goodwill Manasota, with Girls Inc. participants (from l-r) Sarah, Ashley, Tylee and Chloe
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 2017, Goodwill Manasota served 11,672 people, placed 555 people in jobs, assisted 360 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce, and provided 19,540 hours of on-the-clock training for its employees. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 41 million pounds out of the landfill. 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 www.experiencegoodwill.org.