SEATTLE — The Evergreen Goodwill flagship in Seattle is the largest Goodwill store in the world. But its ambitions may be even larger.
"A lot of folks in the community think that we're just a thrift store, but we're so much more than that," said Eileen Aparis, vice president of mission.
The moment you make a purchase or donation, your hard-earned money helps people find meaningful jobs, not just here at Goodwill but in businesses all around the community.
"Our focus is workforce," Aparis said.
At their job training and education centers in five Western Washington counties, every person who walks through the door — no matter who they are or where they're from — is given immediate assistance for free.
"So they can attain a job to support themselves and their families," Aparis said.
There's instruction available for job-seekers of any age.
"Every person deserves to have a job," she said.
Youth programs help students get their high school diplomas and find tech-savvy employment in the maritime, aerospace, and STEM fields.
"I took many, many classes here," said Yulia Maltseva, who emigrated from Russia during the pandemic.
Like many other students, she's gotten help learning English. She also volunteered with Goodwill's accounting department and is now on her way to becoming a CPA.
"I need to improve and push myself fast," she said, describing her ambition to achieve her goals.
"Go forward, and keep going."
Yes, shopping or donating at Goodwill really does make a difference.
"Every donation and every purchase made at the retail store all goes back to the community," Aparis said. "Which is really about jobs."