As a graphic designer with Designsensory, I help transform ideas into visions. Now, more clearly recognizing what Goodwill Industries-Knoxville embodies, I see how that remarkable organization transforms the lives of their employees and the community. When I came to Designsensory a year ago, I knew Goodwill as a thrift store. Today, I’m a grateful witness to Goodwill’s empowering and continuous contribution.

I just attended my second Goodwill Vintage Fashion Show, where reused fashions are in vogue! To show appreciation for the continued support from the Knoxville community, Goodwill hosts this and several other events each year as fundraisers and to inform people of the organization’s good work.

Models walking the runway aren’t simply fashion-forward. Rather, the volunteers, community members, Goodwill staff and their clients pay it forward, by supporting such a good cause. Designsensory’s pro bono design efforts helped promote the show to the community.

All proceeds from the fashion show go to support Goodwill Industries-Knoxville’s local mission of providing vocational services and employment opportunities to people with barriers to employment.

Through Designsensory’s involvement with Goodwill, I have gotten to observe, firsthand, the impact made by Goodwill job training. We use the Goodwill cleaning service at our office, and over the last year I’ve become acquainted with this cheerful team. Randy, shown here, is a super sports fan, always smiling and asking about our day as he sweeps floors and empties wastebaskets. It feels pretty good to be linked with a program that reaches so many people through Knoxville’s 24 Goodwill stores and five employment training and rehabilitation centers throughout the area.

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At Thursday’s Vintage Fashion Show, we heard from a few Goodwill clients who have benefitted from the job training programs. For her 18 years of dedication to Goodwill, Peggy Nenninger was named Goodwill’s International Volunteer of the Year, a very prestigious award decided by Goodwill International’s Volunteer Service Board. After high school graduation, Allison Koontz enrolled in three Goodwill programs. In Work Adjustment, Allison learned basic employment behaviors and work habits; through Driver’s Education, she obtained her license and is now responsible for her own transportation; through Work Keys, Allison received social and life skills training as well as preparation for Pellissippi State Community College’s placement test. Allison is now enrolled in nine hours of classes at Pellissippi State. Jeremy Wallace mastered two Goodwill programs, equipping him to drive and run machinery at Goodwill’s Material Recovery Facility in Russellville, TN. Jeremy also volunteers at the West Hamblen Fire Department and has competed in Goodwill’s Fire and Rescue Challenge.

Overall, I scored some pretty cool new shoes, a retro hip winter coat to cover my ever-expanding pregnant belly and a semiformal dress. I enjoyed a delicious dinner and a fabulous fashion show. Leaving the event, I knew that the entire evening was dedicated to helping people in need. You might say that I’m fresh on the heels of sharing new things about Goodwill every day, including my fantastic new $4 shoes!

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