Goodwill

Top Ways You Can Support Your Local Goodwill

For over 115 years, Goodwill Industries has been helping individuals and families reach their full potential. The organization does this by investing profits from local Goodwill locations into various programs focused on employment, education, and skills training.

In 2017 alone, Goodwill helped connect over 288,000 people with employment in various industries, including information technology, banking, and healthcare. Additionally, more than 2.1 million people used Goodwill services for career advancement and financial guidance in 2017. Another 30,000 individuals turned to a local Goodwill organization for help in earning credentials such as training certificates and college degrees.

While Goodwill remains committed to its mission to strengthen communities, the nonprofit cannot accomplish its goals alone. The organization receives government grants as well as corporate and foundational support. However, it is most dependent on the donations and assistance it receives from individuals in communities across the country.

If you’re interested in joining those helping to advance Goodwill’s mission, you can do so in a number of ways. Here are some of the things you can do right now to get involved:

Donate Items to a Local Goodwill Organization

One of the easiest ways to support the nonprofit is by donating items that you and your family no longer need to a local Goodwill organization. Goodwill is happy to accept a wide range of items, including toys, clothing, books, home décor, electronics, and furniture.

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Image courtesy Mike Mozart | Flickr

Before making your donation, it’s important to inspect the items to ensure that they are in working order and include any necessary parts. Also, while clothing and furniture certainly don’t need to be in perfect condition, items that are free of large rips, holes, and stains will likely do the most good. Goodwill also suggests that would-be donors contact their local organization before donating items such as computers, vehicles, and mattresses to see if there are any rules concerning these types of donations.

To find the nearest Goodwill, donors can visit the organization’s website and use the locator tool at the top of the homepage. Those who are unable to visit a location in person may be able to request a donation pickup. A simple phone call can help you find out if pickup service is available in your area.

Goodwill also maintains donation bins, which are a convenient option for many people. However, the organization recommends that donors inspect bins before dropping off any items to ensure that they are maintained by Goodwill rather than a for-profit group.

Volunteer Your Time or Contribute Financially

If you’re looking to give back to your community, volunteering at a local Goodwill is a great way to do just that. The organization offers opportunities for people to volunteer online or in person.

Professionals can assist people interested in entering their career field by working as a virtual career mentor for GoodProspects. This online community assists jobseekers and those looking to grow in their profession.

Goodwill also oversees a national youth mentoring program, GoodGuides. This program provides guidance and support to help at-risk youth 12 to 17 years of age make positive decisions. GoodGuides welcomes both peer and adult mentors who can devote one hour a week to the program.

Along with volunteering, you can support Goodwill by making a one-time or recurring cash donation online, by phone, or via traditional mail. Goodwill gratefully accepts donations of all sizes and gives donors the option of directing their funds to a local organization or its national programs and activities.

In addition to accepting direct financial contributions, Goodwill oversees a planned giving program for those who would like to include Goodwill in their wills or declare the organization a beneficiary of their retirement plan. More information about the program and how your donations are put to good use is available at www.goodwill.org/give.

Work as a Goodwill Advocate

Through its Advocacy Action Center, Goodwill Industries advances public policy that supports job training and employee placement programs in local communities. Currently, Goodwill is working to promote and advance key human services issues to help older workers, individuals with criminal backgrounds, and veterans overcome barriers to gainful employment. The organization also advocates for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and employment opportunities for young people.

In addition to its activities in the areas of workforce development and job creation, Goodwill Industries works with members of Congress and other key decision makers to protect charitable giving incentives and develop legislation regarding the disposal of electronic waste. Moreover, the organization protects employer priorities as an advocate for the AbilityOne program. AbilityOne provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities or visual impairment.

Those interested in getting involved can join the efforts by registering as an advocate online to receive updates about the organization’s latest advocacy activities. Goodwill advocates can also reach out to their local elected officials and political candidates to share why it’s important to protect opportunities for working families.

Featured Image courtesy Mike Mozart | Flickr

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veterans

A Look at the Top Policy Priorities at Wounded Warrior Project

wounded warrior projectAlongside its enrichment programs to improve the lives of veterans and their families, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) promotes a variety of advocacy initiatives to ensure that those in the military community continue to receive the government support they need. Towards this end, members of the organization’s Policy and Government Affairs team identify and campaign for policies that improve veterans’ services and assist caregivers and military families.

Over the years, WWP has played a key role in advancing legislation and policy initiatives that have improved Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and created new opportunities for veterans who require care outside of the VA. The organization’s efforts have also led to increased financial assistance, training, and healthcare coverage for caregivers and veterans living with life-altering injuries. Read on for a closer look at some of the current advocacy activities that WWP is pursuing on the local and national level.

 

Promoting the FAIR Heroes Act

Since November 2017, WWP has been leading a coalition of 15 military service organizations pushing for the passage of the Fair Access to Insurance for Retired (FAIR) Heroes Act, which was introduced by Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The Act could help veterans with serious injuries save on healthcare costs by allowing them to choose between Medicare Part B and TRICARE, a low-cost insurance plan for active military members, military retirees, and their families.

Under current law, many veterans with serious injuries qualify for both Medicare and TRICARE but are forced to purchase Medicare Part B coverage, which is nearly five times more expensive than a TRICARE plan. It’s estimated that nearly 30,000 veterans nationwide could stand to benefit if Congress passes the FAIR Heroes Act into law. Other organizations that support the legislation include the Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

Creating Support for Family Caregivers

Many post-9/11 veterans living with combat-related physical and/or mental health issues rely on the daily assistance of family members and other caregivers. Because WWP understands this fact, the organization works to ensure that caregivers have access to all the services and resources they need. WWP strongly supported the passage of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 and has since worked closely with the VA to help the department effectively implement its Caregiver Support Program.

WWP recently advocated for the passage of the VA Mission Act, which President Trump signed into law on June 6, 2018. In addition to streamlining the VA’s community care programs and healthcare delivery systems, the law contains provisions expanding eligibility for the Caregiver Support Program to more veterans. The law also requires the VA to implement information technology solutions to manage and monitor the program. WWP is now working alongside other veterans groups to ensure that the VA Mission Act receives proper funding without triggering cuts to other VA programs.

 

Enhancing Services for Female Veterans

In recent years, women have become the fastest-growing demographic in the military. They now comprise 8.7 percent of the country’s veteran population and 16 percent of WWP alumni. To help ensure the availability of programs and services tailored to the specific needs of female veterans, WWP has been advocating for the Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017.

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If passed into law, the Act would require the VA to submit an annual report to Congress on access to its female-specific services such as family planning, mammograms, and gynecological care. It would also require VA medical facilities to submit quarterly reports to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs addressing their compliance and non-compliance with environment-of-care standards for female veterans.

Along with working to improve oversight of care for female warriors, WWP is focused on creating more gender-specific peer-support programs for veterans. The organization is increasing the number of all-female alumni workshops and support groups, which are currently in high demand. WWP is also advocating for the passage of H.R. 4635, a bill that would require the VA to increase the number of counselors providing peer-to-peer services specifically for women veterans.

 

Advancing Mental Health and Toxic Exposure Research

Since its founding over 15 years ago, WWP has been leading efforts to better understand and treat combat-related mental health issues. The organization has been particularly focused on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), which are the most prevalent injuries facing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. In addition to working to improve mental health services for PTSD and TBI through its Warrior Care Network, WWP pushes the US Congress, the VA, and the Department of Defense (DoD) to advance research into these issues.

WWP is also advocating for more research to examine how exposure to toxic chemicals has affected post-9/11 veterans. Military members who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts may have been exposed to a range of chemical and environmental hazards from fuel and exhaust fumes, chemical spills, and open burn pits used for waste disposal. WWP is currently partnering with other veterans groups to ensure that veterans and military families are aware of ongoing research as well as the risks and effects of exposure to toxic substances.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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Inspiring People to Save Lives at the American Heart Association

AHAlogoThe American Heart Association (AHA) reaches communities across the nation and around the world through its range of programs focused on cardiovascular care, research, and education. For health care professionals, the organization publishes several scientific journals and oversees strategically focused research networks to promote and advance the latest science in heart disease prevention and treatment. Additionally, the group provides emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) training for health care providers, caregivers, and members of the public.

The AHA has been a global leader in ECC science, education, and training since the early 1960s, when cardiovascular pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was first developed. Today, the Association publishes the official CPR and ECC guidelines and trains 23 million people annually in how to respond to cardiac arrest and first-aid emergencies. In addition to online courses and resources, the AHA provides CPR and ECC training through a network of more than 30,000 instructors and training centers around the globe.

Here’s a closer look at how the organization and its emergency care programs are inspiring people to save lives worldwide:

Preparing the Public for Health Emergencies

Anyone interested in learning basic or advanced lifesaving skills can turn to the AHA for a variety of virtual and in-person training programs in first aid, CPR, and the use of automatic external defibrillators. One of the organization’s most convenient training options is CPR Anytime, which includes portable training kits and self-directed learning to teach the basics of infant, child, and adult CPR and choking relief in as few as 20 minutes. CPR Anytime kits and learning materials are available through the AHA website.

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The AHA also offers more in-depth training through programs featuring a combination of online and in-person courses. At AHA training centers nationwide, professional instructors teach the Family & Friends CPR course to people who want to learn CPR but are not required to do so for their jobs. Those who do require a CPR course completion card as part of a job requirement can complete one or more of the AHA’s five Heartsaver courses, which the organization offers at its training centers and on-site at company locations. All of the AHA’s public training courses and programs are hands-on and follow the organization’s research-proven practice-while-watching training technique.

 

Enhancing the Knowledge and Skills of Health Care Professionals

After completing their initial medical training, physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other health care professionals rely on the AHA to stay current with the latest emergency-response techniques. Along with its Basic Life Support course, the organization offers its Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support course for professionals looking to enhance their skills in responding to cardiopulmonary emergencies in a health care setting. The AHA’s other professional training offerings include the Pediatric Advanced Life Support course, which focuses on emergency treatment of infants, children, and adolescents.

As with its training programs for the general public, the AHA offers different options for the delivery of its professional courses. Health care providers can complete the programs in a classroom under the guidance of an instructor or through blended learning activities that combine online training with in-person skills sessions. The AHA delivers its blended courses through HeartCode, a self-directed eLearning program that uses lifelike animations and eSimulation technology to prepare students for real resuscitation events.

 

Providing Workforce Training and CPR in Schools

For a number of years, the AHA has worked in partnership with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to promote workplace safety and advance programs that support workers’ health and well-being. As part of these efforts, the Association delivers workplace training programs in pediatric and adult first aid and CPR. The AHA also offers training focused on blood-borne pathogens and provides resources to help business leaders develop and maintain AED programs in their companies. In addition to their use in construction and manufacturing, AHA’s workplace training programs are widely implemented across the oil and gas, security, and childcare industries.

CPR

Beyond the workplace, students and educators across the country use the AHA’s CPR in Schools Training Kit to learn and practice cardiac resuscitation techniques. The reusable kits contain inflatable manikins, training DVDs, and instructional materials that can be used to teach CPR skills to up to 20 people within a single class period. The AHA also offers additional resources to help teachers and administrators start and sustain CPR and AED training programs in schools nationwide.

 

Highlighting the Importance of Emergency Preparedness

Each year, the AHA, American Red Cross, National Safety Council, and other organizations celebrate National CPR and AED Awareness Week during the first week in June. Established in 2007, the national awareness event highlights how many lives could be saved if more people knew how to perform CPR and use an AED. The week also raises awareness of how important it is for bystanders to respond to emergencies involving cardiac arrest. To promote National CPR and AED Awareness Week, the AHA offers a variety of materials, including posters, fact sheets, and email templates, on its website at www.cpr.heart.org.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

heart health

You Need to Know about These 4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number-one cause of death among men and women in the United States, killing an average of 610,000 people and causing 735,000 heart attacks each year. As such, it’s crucial that Americans adopt various preventative measures to reduce their risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) has outlined the following actions individuals of all ages can undertake in order to maintain a healthy heart and prolong their life:

 

  1. Maintain an Active Lifestyle.

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A lack of regular exercise contributes to the death of an estimated 250,000 Americans per year, therefore it’s important to engage in some form of physical activity every day. You don’t have to be lifting weights in the gym or running miles outdoors either. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Although playing a sport or taking up running are great ways to ensure you get the required amount of exercise, you can reduce your risk of heart disease simply by starting a walking program or riding a bicycle.

While it’s helpful to start being physically active from a young age to establish a habit, it’s never too late to being exercising regularly. A study published in the journal Circulation found that it can take as few as six years for middle-age people to experience a 23 percent reduction in risk of heart failure after increasing their physical activity to AHA-recommended levels. Study participants who said they met the recommended physical activity levels experienced a 31 percent decrease in potential for heart risk failure, whereas those who reported a decrease in physical activity experienced an 18 percent increase in heart failure risk.

 

  1. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet.

In addition to influencing your weight, the food you eat can affect your chances of experiencing heart disease. The AHA suggests adopting a healthy eating plan as early in life as possible and, while it recommends eating a high volume of fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to become a vegetarian. Instead, try eating lean cuts when you do eat meat, and consume at least one meatless meal per week. “Going meatless is as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a starring role,” notes Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont nutrition professor. “You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts, and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other important phytonutrients.”

If cutting back on meat sounds like too tall an order, consider eating more skinless chicken and omega-3-rich fish instead of pork and beef. You should also limit your portion size to six ounces and remove all visible fat.

 

  1. Don’t Smoke.

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Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health and one of the most preventable causes of early death in the United States. In addition to putting you at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which can lead to a stroke or coronary heart disease, it has a negative impact on other risk factors. For instance, smoking regularly can decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol as well as your tolerance for physical activity. Moreover, if you already have a family history of heart disease, smoking can exacerbate your risk level. Even being around someone who smokes can increase your risk of heart disease; a US Surgeon General report found that the risk of lung cancer or heart disease for nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work rises by as much as 30 percent.

 

  1. Manage Stress Levels.

You can avoid smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, but you’ll still be at risk of heart disease if you allow stress to control your life. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that work-related pressure is associated with a 48 percent increased risk of atrial fibrillation, which can lead to dementia, stroke, or heart failure, and manifests through symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, palpitations, or dizziness. “People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” says Eleonor Fransson, one of the authors of the study.

If you’re unwilling or unable to find a more suitable job or work environment, there are several things you can do outside of work to reduce your stress level. In addition to the following the aforementioned three recommendations, consider cutting back on coffee consumption or making a habit to perform relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or even deep breathing. Getting enough sleep is also an excellent way to lower your risk of heart disease and, in that regard, the AHA suggests aiming for between seven and eight hours per night.

 

Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.