CARF International recently announced that Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona has been accredited for a period of three years for its community employment service programs for individuals with disabilities.
“This achievement is an indication of your organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons served,” according to the letter received by Goodwill from Dr. Brian J. Boon, the president and CEO of CARF.
The latest accreditation is the third consecutive three-year accreditation that the international accrediting body has awarded to Goodwill. It means that Goodwill put itself through a rigorous peer review process that covered about 900 different standards and demonstrated to a team of surveyors its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable and of the highest quality.
Perhaps most significantly, this is the second consecutive three-year accreditation Goodwill has earned from CARF without any recommendations.
In fact, according to Dr. Boon, only three percent of organizations surveyed by CARF have zero recommendations.
The programs offered by Goodwill help hundreds of individuals with disabilities in Northern Arizona each year, just like William Leighton, who completed training at Goodwill last year.
Leighton, originally from California, suffered from multiple setbacks and problems during his youth. He dropped out of high school, and got into trouble with the law, which resulted in his being incarcerated for 11 years. After his release, he was declared legally blind and was put on disability.
About 18 months ago, he moved to Lake Havasu and learned about Goodwill’s services, specifically “Ready-to-Work,” which seeks to lower the barriers to employment for those who, for a variety of reasons, might find it hard to find – or keep – a job.
“They helped me realize my capabilities,” he said. “I never knew I could work until this program.”
William was introduced to technology that assists him in seeing the world, worked with an employment specialist to identify jobs he could do and ultimately was hired by Goodwill, first as a part-time sales associate and more recently as a full-time greeter (a person who greets donors and helps sort their donations, the sale of which funds programs like “Ready to Work”).
“I love my job because it has made me feel validated, and that despite my disability, I have the capability to do anything,” he said. “It has made me feel more independent.”
It’s a feeling he hopes to share with others. Leighton is now taking online classes toward obtaining his GED, is working to have his record expunged and would ultimately like to become a job coach at Goodwill.
By David L. Hirsch
David L. Hirsch is the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona.