Goodwill Mission Story - Image of Daniel

Goodwill mission story of Daniel. The Rhinelander Goodwill gained a successful team member when they saw a program participant for what he could do rather than what he couldn’t.

Daniel came to Goodwill for an 18-month work experience, and though he has significant barriers as an English learner — not able to tell time, read or write — no one would immediately know that if they weren’t told. Instead, the Rhinelander team saw him for his exuberance and enthusiasm.

“I’ve never seen anyone so excited to work,” said Heather Kliss, Store Team Leader.

Daniel’s previous work experience was wiping and corralling carts at a grocery store.

Heather said when they were giving Daniel a tour of Goodwill, all he could focus on were the carts and asking if he was going to be cleaning them, if he needed to go to the parking lot to collect them.

“He was focused on it because that’s all he had been doing,” said Heather, adding that they saw more for him at Goodwill and started him at the donation door greeting donors and accepting donations.

Three months into his 18-month work experience, Daniel was hired on as a team member.

“He was excelling at everything, barriers included,” Heather said. “He was very consistent. He mirrored his peers. Anything they did, he wanted to do that, too.

“He didn’t need a job coach and needed very little support. All he needed was a chance. That’s all he needed from us was a chance and the chance to do more.”

In his role as donor greeter, Daniel is very polite and provides great customer service.

“He does what’s right, not what’s easy,” Heather said. “He doesn’t skip corners.”

Because of his barriers, leaders take the time to help him figure out the maintenance logs, for example, teaching him rather than just showing. They’ve also gotten creative in ways to help him tell time, like using timers and alarms to alert him.

“If that’s all someone needs to excel, what a small thing we are able to do,” Heather said. “He deserves that.”

In return, Daniel displays a work ethic Heather says she never has seen before, humility, lots of smiles and an eagerness to work.

“He doesn’t want a day off and would sleep here if he could,” she said.

“I can’t emphasize enough that Daniel did all the work and all we did was provide a safe environment where he could exceed and excel and not put limits on him.”