Goodwill SWFL Hosts "On the Table" Dialogues in Lee and Charlotte Counties

Gaining Insight to Create Impactful Programs and Better Community Overall
By: Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
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OTHER, Fla. - Oct. 9, 2019 - PRLog -- On October 17th, local non-profits and agencies are hosting community conversations as part of "On the Table Southwest Florida." This community project is adapted from On the TableĀ® Chicago, which started in 2014, and spearheaded locally by The Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The goal is to unite people from all backgrounds within the community, and brainstorm how the quality of life in our region can be improved.  Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (SWFL) is one of the hosts for this event, leading several On the Table dialogues in Lee and Charlotte counties.

"We are talking about the needs in the community, how we can find solutions to these needs as individuals and as a group," explains Patricia Fernandez, Goodwill SWFL G.I.V.E. Coordinator. "Our role as facilitators is to facilitate positive conversations about our community and brainstorm ideas on how we can find workable solutions."

The G.I.V.E. Program (Goodwill Investing in Valued Employees) is in its pilot phase and is centered on removing barriers for employees. The program began just a few months ago and already has helped Goodwill SWFL employees find solutions to barriers for themselves and their families. Two of the On the Table discussion groups will have Goodwill employees enrolled in the G.I.V.E. program alongside employees from different departments. These will be hosted at the Opportunity Center on Tice Street in Fort Myers and facilitated by Fernandez and Fred Richards, the Vice President of Community Support Services at Goodwill SWFL.

Two more discussion groups will be held out in the community.  One at Pine Manor United Way House, hosted by Shari Clark the Goodwill SWFL Community Resource Specialist at Pine Manor; and one held at the Olive Garden in Port Charlotte. Angela Hemstreet, Goodwill SWFL Pathways to Work Program Manager will be facilitating the Charlotte County discussion.

"Each group will consist of 6 to 8 invited guests," says Fernandez.  "The expected outcome is that participants leave the event knowing their voices count."

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence.  On The Table is one way to vet out what services are still needed, allowing Goodwill SWFL insight when developing programs and services that meet the needs of the community.

Debra Donatto
Director of Communications & Digital Marketing
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