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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012 5 years ago

Letters to the editor

This Earth Day, make a difference through the simple act of donating clothing or household items.

Go green with giving

With the proliferation of advice on sustainable living, it’s no wonder that consumers are overwhelmed by the thought of going green. This Earth Day, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida wants the public to know that they can make a difference through the simple act of donating gently used clothing or household items to Goodwill.

Each year, donors help Goodwill divert more than two billion pounds of usable goods from landfills. But the impact to the environment is only part of the story. Revenue from the sale of donated items at Goodwill stores funds job training programs, employment placement services and other vital programs in the community. People, as well as the planet, benefit.

To show individuals that their donations truly impact their communities, Goodwill developed the patent-pending Donation Impact Calculator at The calculator shows specifically how a donation can help a person receiving services from Goodwill. For example, one working computer translates into 5.8 hours of a job search class.

On Earth Day, April 22, commit to making one small green change in your life. Individual actions add up to global impact. To find your nearest Goodwill donation site, visit

—Bill Oakley

President and CEO

Goodwill Industries of Central Florida

Attend disabilities forum on Tuesday

As a state legislator, I have the unique opportunity to listen and work with many different individuals and groups on a variety of issues. One cause that is of particular importance to me is facilitating opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Here in Central Florida, we are fortunate to have several strong support organizations for disabled individuals, such as Quest Inc. We also have local employers such as Rosen Hotels and Publix Supermarkets that have created diverse job opportunities to help people work hard and earn good livings. However, there are people and employers who have not yet learned of the opportunities that exist when they connect, and on Tuesday, April 24, I will be hosting a summit in Apopka to bring our community together.

My summit is geared toward connecting our community members and local employers to learn about the benefits, incentives and opportunities that are available for hiring individuals with disabilities. If you have a family member or a friend that could benefit from this information, you are highly encouraged to attend as many outstanding community partners will be on hand to discuss education opportunities, vocation support programs, among other important information. Goodwill Industries of Central Florida has been extremely helpful in securing outstanding presenters and participants, including Walt Disney World, Lynx and the Disability Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida.

This free community event opens at 8 a.m. for networking at the Apopka Community Center/VFW located at 519 S. Central Ave. in Apopka. At 8:30 a.m., I will begin the program, along with Goodwill Industries CEO Mr. William Oakley. Ms. Jeannie Amendola from Walt Disney World will be providing some “myth busting” about hiring persons with disabilities, while Mr. Bill Hearndon from Lynx will talk about the transportation programs available for individuals who may have difficulties traveling to and from work, as well as the future of this important issue. Two exciting panels will follow focusing on several critical issues such as on-the-job training, employment scenarios as well as sharing success stories from local employers. The event will conclude before 11 a.m.

In addition to panels and speakers, several government and community organizations will be on hand to share information on the services and programs available to both prospective employers and employees and their families. The State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Veterans’ Administration and Social Security are just some of the key organizations that will be on hand during the event. This is an excellent chance to meet with representatives from these agencies and discuss the programs available for your friend or loved one — please make sure you attend!

I am extremely pleased to invite you to attend this important summit on working with and hiring individuals with disabilities. With persons with disabilities facing an unemployment rate above 15 percent, it is important that we work together to educate our local businesses on the opportunity we have to address this issue. This is a win-win situation for employers, the employees and their families, and our community. I look forward to a strong response from our community for this important discussion. If you would like to participate in this event as a local partner or would like additional information, please contact my office at 407-884-2023. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

—State Rep. Bryan Nelson

District 38

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