In Honor of My Mother, Maiola Thomas-Coleman
I started working for my mother’s Summer Youth Program in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 12. I was paid by my mother a quarter an hour to run the ice cream bar at the Boys and Girls Club.
Grassroot efforts has always been something that has been a part of my family history, from my grandmother Tommie Thomas, receiving a Legacy Award from George Bush Sr., and my mother Maiola Coleman getting honored and placed in the Congressional Records. Both were for their work in the community and getting people resources such as employment, shelter, food etc.
My mother and a longtime friend created a program called In-Step at the University of Arizona. This program allowed high school students an opportunity to have paid part-time jobs in departments (in their area of career interest) throughout the University of Arizona and provided scholarship opportunities for some of the students. She also was a Director of Employment for Tucson Urban League for many years and employed so many families in Tucson. She later created another program with the City of Tucson, that worked to bridge the digital divide and employed seniors to break down and rebuild donated computers for inner city families. This program also had an A+ certification and later was picked up by a local warehouse, that donated space and many organizations, stores and community people would donate goods to be sold at a discount to those in the community that were income eligible, as well as agencies. The store would get pampers, milk, soap, housewares, hygiene products, etc. Costco would donate various items three times a week, Sam Levetts (a furniture store) would donate their show room furniture. You never knew what you would find.
Fast forward to 15 years ago, the Late Congressman Ed Pastor stood before the Senate to have my mother voted into the Congressional Records.
Goodwill of Greater Washington’s (GGW) values, beliefs and the core of why we exist mean so much to me because I have been on both sides of need.
I could have had it easy had I decided to stay in Tucson, but because of the strength of my mother and grandmother, I wanted to know that I could and would make a difference on a large scale, but I wanted to stand in my own shadow. Recruiting at GGW allows me to do that. My team gives hope to people looking for an opportunity, GGW gives a future and provides the community with essentials. Not just from a monetary standpoint, but from a good feeling standpoint. Who we are and what we actually stand for, can never be put into words, it is an experience that I feel blessed to be a part of.
– By Stellvonne Jackson, Senior Recruiter, Goodwill of Greater Washington