Guest post by Tom Murach, volunteer at Goodwill’s Job Connection location in Charlotte.
I am part of an extended family as a volunteer.
I initially started working with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (Goodwill) as a volunteer about six years ago when I was an executive at a local bank. The person that I worked for was on Goodwill’s board of directors and asked me to help the agency explore ways that could better support veterans and family members of active duty military. At the time, I was the Military Support Executive at the bank, so it was a great fit for my passion and expertise.
Once I met with team members that Goodwill assembled to participate in this project, I was hooked! Their passion and commitment were infectious and their willingness to accept the contributions of “an outsider” was a breath of fresh air.
However, while working with the project team, my employment needed to change. I was grateful that Goodwill provided a strong endorsement that helped me to land a full–time position with a Goodwill organization in Tennessee.
While there, I was blessed to be able to work with other Goodwill organizations, including one in Indiana and one in Florida. Each local Goodwill agency is managed by a volunteer board of directors that develops the services needed to support the unique needs of their local community. The common denominator is the deep-seated desire to develop more strong and independent individuals, families and communities.
Since moving back to Charlotte two years ago, I returned to Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont and began serving as a Champions for Good volunteer. I spend most of my time in the Job Connection assisting clients. It’s like being with a big family.
Clients and team members all treat people with respect, dignity and sensitivity, and they have a great sense of humor. The warm environment in the Job Connection is an inspiration. Even when a client doesn’t find a job right away, they know that they have found a home where they will always be welcomed and never judged.
I’ve also been given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews and resume clinics at Goodwill. These chances to spend one-on-one time with clients and learn about the obstacles that they face in finding employment is another reminder that we are all part of the same “extended family” here in Charlotte.
Currently, I spend most of my volunteer time at Goodwill, but I also volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte and have a “little brother.” I have also been a board member of several non-profits, including Children’s Hospice International in Alexandria, Va., and the Ave Maria Home in Memphis, Tenn. I feel good serving as a volunteer.
As I look to the future, I know I will continue to volunteer and I can tell that with the transition to the new Goodwill Opportunity Campus, Goodwill will be an even brighter beacon of “servant leadership” for the citizens, organizations and businesses of greater Charlotte. I feel blessed to be a part of such a close and caring family!