GES Volunteers honored today at UWSWA 2015 Campaign Kickoff

IMG_0109United Way of Southwest Alabama held its 2015 Campaign Kickoff event this morning with a special presentation involving Goodwill Easterseals: six volunteers from our Education and Financial Stability programs received the Volunteer Heart of Gold award.

Angelia Poellnitz (Education), along with Jim Brewer, Mary Ann White, Jayne Kennedy, Paul Bergman, and Chad Newton (Financial Stability) have selflessly given their time in order to help better the lives of others in our community.

IMG_0121Within the past year, Angelia Poellnitz , who previously mentored a teen in Goodwill Easterseals’ GoodGuides Mentoring program, began assisting with a photography class with area teens to build marketable skills for future careers. The purpose of GoodGuides is to give high school aged youth a strong reason to stay in school, build skills toward future careers, and gain experience and transferable skills that can be used by the teen for present or future employment opportunities.  Angelia met with a class of eight students two times per week, then took on an additional group of students who have many challenges, to deliver the same instruction and photography practice, and ultimately, renewed her involvement as a mentor for the GoodGuides Teen Mentoring Program.

IMG_0119Together, our Financial Stability volunteers have devoted over 500 hours to the Goodwill Easterseals Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program during the past year at multiple tax sites in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties. Through the VITA Program, taxpayers not only get a tax return prepared and e-filed at no charge, they also receive guidance regarding withholdings, credits and deductions that will help them save money in the long term.  The volunteers spent extra time in researching tax laws independently as well as attaining certification in additional areas so their expertise is of great value to the agency and are the “go to” gurus for difficult returns and questions. With a dedication to the program and a work ethic that most employers would pay dearly for, our VITA volunteers never say “no” when asked to help out with special tax preparation events or to assist with tax sites as far away as Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to Angelia, Jim, Mary Ann, Jayne, Paul, and Chad for lending your Hearts of Gold to our mission and helping people on the Gulf Coast lead fuller lives and find brighter futures!