3 Goodwill Clients Recognized for AchievementsJuly 17, 2013, By Kelly Urban, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat
It was about honoring those who are working to transform their lives and generating opportunities in the community.
Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies held its annual awards luncheon Tuesday at the Holiday Inn in downtown Johnstown and highlighted individual success stories from the previous year.
Three Goodwill clients – John Forosisky, Ryan Mennecke and Kelley Berkey – received the 2012 Achiever of the Year Award for overcoming obstacles and striving to reach their full potential.
Forosisky came to Goodwill as a participant in the GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program. In January 2012, he began employment at Ideal Market in downtown Johnstown. He started working two mornings a week bagging groceries and greeting customers. He is still employed by the store, and his responsibilities have been expanded.
Mennecke was referred to the GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program and met his mentors, George and Nancy Higgins, when he was a freshman in high school. He recently graduated from high school and plans to attend the Commonwealth Technical Institute in Johnstown for vocational training.
“Ryan has truly changed from the 15-year-old we met three years ago. We couldn’t be more proud of him if he was our own son,” said George Higgins. “Ryan’s success is not in the position he reaches but in the obstacles he will overcome.”
In the spring of 2012, Berkey went to CareerLink to utilize a Goodwill program that connects employers with job seekers. With planner, she was able to gain employment at the Richland Goodwill retail store. She also took an additional job at Big Lots in Richland Township while studying to take the General Educational Development test. In August, Berkey took the GED test and scored in the 90th percentile on four out of the five sections.
“These young people are able to look to the future, move forward and be a part of the community,” said Phyllis Bandstra, president and CEO of Goodwill.
Korns Galvanizing Inc. in Moxham was named the 2012 Employer of the Year. The company currently employs four graduates of Goodwill programs.
“Our highest priority is to create jobs in the community, and we have a wonderful partnership with Goodwill,” said Kathleen Sheehan Ortel, company president.
The Cambria Somerset Human Resources Association received the 2012 Partnership of the Year Award for working with Goodwill’s Southern Alleghenies Career Education Partnership in the creation of the Youth Professional Development Conference.
The event was attended by nearly 200 high school students from 13 high schools in Cambria and Somerset counties. This year’s conference is being planned for October.
Bandstra added that the organization is one of many moving parts but everything and everyone is intertwined and the award recipients reflect that.
“Goodwill belongs to the community. We couldn’t do anything on our own,” she said.
“These young people are able to look to the future, move forward and be a part of the community.”
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