Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Volunteer Service Guild:The story of their dedication to the Goodwill mission as shared by LaRue Janson

As Ohio Valley Goodwill continues to celebrate its 100 th anniversary of service this year and appropriately in honor of “National Goodwill Week,” the organization wishes to share the story of one of its greatest treasures, its volunteer Service Guild.

For more than 80 years, this group of dedicated volunteers have made it their mission to promote Ohio Valley Goodwill and its training, education and employment programs for people with disabilities to the community; recruit volunteers from the local community and raise funds to support the programs and services offered by the organization.

Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Service Guild was an official member of the Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services (GIVS) which was a national association of local volunteer service groups interested in supporting the work of Goodwill for many years.

When Ohio Valley Goodwill’s corporate headquarters was built in the village of Woodlawn in the 1950’s,the Guild raised $36,000 to equip the cafeteria and kitchen. One of the ways that the Guild did this was to establish a gift shop. The Treasure Island Gift Shop which still operates today is located at the Tri-County Goodwill store and offers an exciting selection of jewelry, accessories, home décor and collectibles.

The Guild has planned and hosted an on-going variety of special fund-raising events over the years including a “Pennsylvania Dutch Festival” in the late 1950’s which at one point involved more than 80 churches contributing and serving over 3,000 meals during the two day event. In the 1990’s, the original festival became the “Down Home on the Farm” event in partnership with Bob Evans and featured crafters and a petting zoo. Currently, this event has evolved into the Guild Mini-Fest events which are held in the Spring and Fall annually. This year the Spring Mini-Fest will celebrated on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 at the organization’s Tri-County Goodwill store.

Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Service Guild’s volunteer efforts were officially recognized in 1989 and 1997 by Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services of America for their commitment of 29,000 hours annually in support of Goodwill and its mission.

The Guild’s tradition of service continues to the present day as the Guild sponsors monthly treats for the organization’s program participants; hosts an Opening Day celebration; sponsors birthday and Holiday lunches at Christmas and Thanksgiving; plans and facilitates an annual Veteran’s Day luncheon; and continues to operate the Treasure Island Gift Shop. In addition, the Guild sponsors annual bus trips to unique destinations as a fund-raiser for the organization.

The Guild’s outstanding fund-raising efforts are publicly displayed during the annual holiday luncheon event each year during which the Guild President proudly presents a check to President and CEO, Joe Byrum, which typically averages $20,000. “Goodwill is so grateful to our wonderful Service Guild volunteers who dedicate so much of themselves to the mission of the organization. During the celebration of our 100th anniversary of service to the Greater Cincinnati community this year, Goodwill thanks these outstanding volunteers for their selfless commitment to our mission of putting people to work,” said Joe Byrum, President and CEO.

LaRue JansonLong-time Guild volunteer, LaRue Janson, was kind enough to share the Guild history on the occasion of Ohio Valley Goodwill’s 100th anniversary of service and during the official celebration of “National Goodwill Week.” Our most sincere thanks to LaRue and all of the dedicated members of the Goodwill Service Guild for their wonderful volunteer effort s in support of Ohio Valley Goodwill and its mission of service to the citizens of the Greater Cincinnati community.

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