Goodwill Hosts Annual Breakthrough Awards recognizing seven community standouts for 2020
By: Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida
For the first time, Goodwill SWFL named a Breakthrough Employee of the Year, Jessica Tursi. Ms. Tursi, who recently received a promotion to Director of Disability Services, was surprised by the announcement having no prior knowledge of being selected for an award. Recognized for her creativity and ingenuity, Ms. Tursi single-handedly developed a successful virtual program that kept Goodwill's Pathways to Opportunity participants, adults with developmental disabilities, connected to their instructors and peers during the COVID pandemic. Through this new virtual program (PTO-2-GO), participants were able to continue working on daily goals while most other disability service providers discontinued services. PTO-2-GO proved to be an effective service delivery option, removing transportation barriers, reducing costs, and allowing those with severe behavioral issues to receive services. Ms. Tursi wrote a proposal to have PTO-2-GO added to the Medicaid Disability Service Provider's Handbook and it was accepted by the state of Florida, who then send it up to the national level for approval.
The other award recipients included: Angeline Burnett who won the Chet Perry Breakthrough Achiever for 30 years of service as a Goodwill employee being a person with a disability; Jesi Cason who won the William J. Barrett Breakthrough Graduate as a successful local photographer who got her start with Goodwill's SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute; Walgreens as Employer of the Year; B&I Contractors was selected as Business of the Year; Honc Marine Contracting won Philanthropist of the Year; and Steve Johnson won Volunteer of the Year.
Goodwill SWFL is a nonprofit organization that is committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. They have been providing services to people with disabilities and disadvantages since 1966 in five counties of Southwest Florida: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades & Hendry counties. For more information visit www.goodwillswfl.org.
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