One of my all time favorite pastimes is to recreate someone’s “trash” into something totally awesomely chic and fab! Most of my finds come from my neighborhood Goodwill. My children protest with great animation when I divert a quick Lowe’s run and pull into the Goodwill across the way. Last year my husband threatened that if I brought one more piece of “crappy” furniture into the garage he would burn it on spot. He is all talk and likes to pretend he is in charge, but we all know who is in charge around here, we just let him think he is. It is an addiction I have and when Pinterest launched, well, you can just imagine.
Today I want to introduce you to Smarty Stephanie. Stephanie and I met many many years ago when we attended St. Ann School. Facebook reconnected us after many years since our Catholic school days, and I think that she may have my dream job. If I was in charge of Goodwill donations, Bill would have to build me a workshop out back for all my fabulous recreations!
Smarties, enjoy getting to know Stephanie Hoffman and Goodwill. I thought that I knew Goodwill, but get ready to be amazed (and who wants to go shopping later?!).
Smarty Mom: Stephanie Hoffman
Name: Stephanie Hoffman
Originally from: As far as I am concerned I am from here. Moved when all the IBM’ers got transferred from New York, when I was 8 years old.
Hood: Governor’s Square by Night – FreeMoreWest by Day
Occupation: Corporate Donations Manager – Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont
Family: Husband – Brian, Ethan (10), Alex (7)
What do you love about your work life?
I spent 15+ years in advertising sales with radio stations WRFX and WEND and a local parenting publication. I was laid off and couldn’t find a job for about 1 ½ years, but I was determined to get out of commissioned sales. Finally in 2013 a friend forwarded me a job description she had gotten through a contact of hers. The newly created Corporate Donations Position at Goodwill was mine within a week or so and my new adventure began. Being able to put my sales background to use for GOOD instead of a commission has changed everything in my life. Having called on many retailers for advertising over the years I’ve been able to use those relationships to reach out and find ways to connect for Goodwill. My job is to bring in supplemental donations for our stores. When I started at Goodwill I was only a donor and had really no idea what Goodwill actually did. I assumed the people who worked in the stores were benefiting from the jobs created by the donations, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A very small percentage of Goodwill store employees come through our job placement assistance, the majority we serve are placed with employers around the region. Goodwill provides so many services from access to technology for job searching, career coaching, computer training, soft skills training to full curriculum programs including hospitality/tourism, construction, Banking/customer service, forklift certification. We have paid transitional jobs programs that help those with barriers to employment like criminal background our disabilities get the first job that can help them move closer to family sustaining employment.
What do you NOT so much love about work life?
So many people say no to Goodwill when I call on them. The number one reason people give is that they don’t want to donate to an organization that doesn’t give the items away. If they would give me 10 minutes to tell them how those donations turn into the resources people need I know I could change their mind. We offer people a Hand Up not just a hand out. All communities need organizations that offer both!
How do you balance work/life?
Working full time and having two boys active in sports is challenging. We are big supporters of Myers Park Trinity Little League and I spend most of my spring and fall daylight on the ball fields. My husband has also started traveling a great deal since starting a new job with Electrolux last year. With both of my parents in different forms of Assisted Living I am a living example of the sandwich generation. With young kids I often have to choose between what their needs are and what my obligations are to my parents. I am so lucky to have two sisters who live in Charlotte who take on the brunt of care for my parents. With my mother suffering in the last stages of Alzheimer’s we try to visit as often as possible to assist with meal times, but after a full day of work there is no time for me to make it there during the week for mealtimes. So the majority of my weekend is spent juggling kids and visits to my parents. I know one day I’ll have some free time to myself, but right now I don’t have much opportunity for outside interests. Although I do enjoy terrible reality TV and want to be a cast member of the Real Housewives of CLT but sadly to not have the wealth or wardrobe it would require. I am a fan of all things frugal. I was one of the originally members of the SouthPark Coupon Clippers that used to meet at the library. I still keep the Facebook page going and hope to one day revive the group. The other main thing I do with my “free” time is volunteer at St. Ann Catholic School. Serving as Vice President of the PTO and leading the majority of the fundraising efforts including the silent auction of our Full House Fundraising in addition to making sure we capitalize on Box Tops, Labels, HT VIC, Target and Coke rewards. In the three years I’ve been involved I am proud to say we’ve raised more money each year. Our efforts are now focused on raising about $30,000 to help rebuild our playground. So when I am not out looking for donations for Goodwill I am looking for them for St. Ann!
What are your goals for 2015?
I want to continue to educate the community on all the many good things Goodwill is doing right here in our community. We are getting ready to break ground on the Goodwill Opportunity Campus, this amazing new facility will increase the number of people we can service and give opportunity for Goodwill to provide new and expanded training programs. IT will also increase the efficiency of the overall operation which currently scattered throughout multiple site.
How readers can help…..
DONATE! The easiest thing to do is donate your items at one of the 22 area retail stores or 11 Attended Donation Centers as well as Unattended donation boxes.
SHOP! The more people shop our stores the more money gets pumped back into the programs. Not into thrifting but your kids are into gaming? Visit our technology store THE GRID. You can find video game systems, retro video games, computers, laptops, printers, flat screen TV and STEM related learning items like RaspberryPi.
HOME PICKUPS! Did you know Goodwill will come to your home and pickup larger items that can’t be easily brought to our stores? With 2 or more large items we will come to you!
DONATION DRIVES! Get your office, school or neighborhood engaged by hosting a donation drive.
CORPORATE DONATION: Look around at work and find out what happens to computer/technology items when they are upgraded. Goodwill has an extensive e-waste program that will not only ensure proper disposal but also pump money into programs that help families right here.
VOLUNTEER! Goodwill pairs graduates from our programs with volunteers who assist with mock interviewing. Volunteers also help resumes, guest speaking, resource center assistance and supporting youth in youth program.
Don’t forget that Goodwill can also help you. If you are in need of job assistance or know someone who is please share the Goodwill story with them. Anyone can walk in and start getting the help and direction they need to achieve their goals. Check out opportunities here.