AT A GLANCE
• Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. has been awarded several top honors in a variety of categories. Both nationally and locally, Goodwill was recognized for its work in retail, business and mission sectors. • In July 2015, Goodwill was voted best thrift store and best nonprofit in a Southwest Florida poll. That same month, Goodwill was also voted best charitable organization in a business poll; marking the second year in a row that Goodwill received the honor. • Goodwill was also recognized by Goodwill Industries International for its efforts in sustainability. Goodwill received Honorable Mention for the Energy Challenge Award, which utilized Goodwill’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager ratings. • In August of 2015, Goodwill’s Business Services was also recognized by Goodwill International for the most growth over the last year. It was the first year Goodwill International gave the award. Business Services offers vending, janitorial and document destruction services. • Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. is a nonprofit serving Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Revenue earned at Goodwill’s 30 Southwest Florida thrift stores supports Goodwill’s mission of helping people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering life-changing opportunities to achieve independence. Goodwill’s programs in Southwest Florida include Job-Link outreach centers, small business training classes, disability-accessible housing, Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy charter school and more. • In 2015, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida helped about 42,000 people overcome their barriers to employment and independence. That is roughly one in every 29 Southwest Florida residents. Success stories include people with new skills, jobs, education,
housing, transportation and more. and seeing a smile on their faces. Life is all about helping others.”
Estrada’s story, however, is one of thousands over Goodwill’s 50-year history in Southwest Florida.
Lynn Pottorf, for instance, is principal of Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy in Fort Myers, a charter school where 50 middle and high school students with intellectual challenges attend classes. Most complete the program with a diploma or certificate of completion, she says. The program started with a handful of students in 2004, has become a busy complex providing academic, vocational and life skills training to its students, explains Pottorf, a diminutive woman bursting with enthusiasm for her mission to assist those in greatest need. Most of the students will require help in navigating the balance of their lives, she adds.
In her office, Pottorf shares the school’s mission statement with a visitor while greeting and redirecting students poking their heads into the room before heading home. She is emotional in describing some of their journeys, adding that the school’s class and lab instructors “are a special kind of teacher, celebrating every step” of a student’s development. “It’s the best job in the world.”