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Ohio Valley Goodwill was delighted to receive a phone call in early April from an 8th-grade student from Bellevue High School in North Kentucky. The student named Matt Casto was calling to inquire about the possibility of hosting a donation drive at his school to benefit Goodwill’s mission of service to the community. Matt explained that he wanted to organize the drive for his community service project because he had done research about Ohio Valley Goodwill and how they help people to get jobs and he thought it would be a good organization to support. The organization’s donation team quickly responded to Matt’s request and blue Goodwill donation barrels took their place in every hallway through the high school. The two month long donation drive involves all 300 students attending the school as well as families and teaching staff.
In an interview with Matt and his advisor, Lori Mangan, Goodwill Marketing Specialist, Sharon Hannon, learned that Matt is part of a program called GEAR UP Kentucky which is a grant program designed to work with schools to create a plan to develop and maintain a college-going culture in their schools. As part of the GEAR UP program, each student must select a community service project that utilizes all of the skills they have been working on throughout the school year. Skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication, and community outreach are all essential for the successful completion of the project. In Matt’s case, he reported that he chose Goodwill because “I researched it and I’ve seen what they can do for our community. I also studied their website and asked for people’s opinions. Everything I learned helped me to decide Goodwill would be the best place because they help people with disabilities and veterans to get jobs. I thought our donations would help.”
One of the research tools that Matt and his GEAR UP advisor used was an educational video produced by Goodwill Public Information Officer, Michael Flannery, which they jointly shared with Matt’s class. Click here to view the video:
They said that watching this video helped the class decide to support Matt’s decision of selecting Ohio Valley Goodwill for the donation drive. After the choice was made, Matt and his teachers promoted the Goodwill donation effort on the school’s Facebook page and made regular announcements on the public address system. Ms. Mangan reported that she also had a parent indicate that they would be making a large donation following a neighborhood yard sale event.
Prior to the end of the school year, Goodwill Public Information Officer, Michael Flannery will be making a personal visit to Matt and his classmates to thank them for their generous support of Ohio Valley Goodwill. “It is kids like Matt that help to inspire us and show us how important it is for students to understand our mission to the community,” said Flannery. “I am certainly looking forward to my visit to Bellevue High School later this month,” added Flannery.
Ohio Valley Goodwill is grateful to Matt Casto, Ms. Lori Mangan and Bellevue High School for their generous support of our mission of service to the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati community.