LaBelle – A double ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, September 12th, as Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida (SWFL) introduces the LaBelle community to a newly remodeled retail and donation center, and grand opening of their new Community Resource Center. In addition, a community celebration is scheduled for Saturday afternoon including discounts, music, and refreshments. The four-day opening event will culminate in a raffle for a flat screen television on Sunday.
Previously, the LaBelle Job-Link Center and retail store were in two different areas of town. By acquiring the adjoining vacant business, Goodwill was able to bring all their services under one roof and expand. The store remodel provides shoppers with expanded retail space, and comes just as Goodwill SWFL kicks-off an initiative to increase supports for individuals and families with barriers to independence and employment. Beginning with Glades and Hendry counties where the need is the greatest, Goodwill is expanding the services provided by their Job-Link Centers and re-branding them as Community Resource Centers (CRC). The new LaBelle center is the first CRC to open.
“The expanded Community Resource Center is designed to provide family strengthening services, digital training, employment services and access to resources in our community that will strengthen and support our families in need,” states Fred Richards, Vice President of Community Support Services for Goodwill SWFL.
For some families, filling out online applications for supports and services can be challenging – especially if there is a language barrier, lack of computer access and the skills to navigate the technological landscape. CRC coordinators will provide the needed supports to assist families in accessing those services.
“We will continue to house multiple partners under one roof to ensure the effectiveness of our services and to overcome barriers to program access,” states Richards.
Last year, 7,977 unduplicated individuals received services at SWFL Job-Link and Family Strengthening Centers. These centers provided a variety of services to help individuals and families overcome barriers to self-sufficiency.
Fernanda Geronimo will be the LaBelle CRC coordinator. She previously worked at the Lehigh Job-Link as the center’s coordinator where she assisted with Literacy classes and provided individualized attention to those needing supports.
“When the Goodwill Digital Training Center program was initiated last July, Fernanda demonstrated proficiency with technical training and became a highly effective resource to the community and for her peers which is why we chose her to run our first CRC center,” explains Richards.
In addition to community services, CRCs will house Veteran Services through the MRE (Military Resource Encounter), and Goodwill Employee services (GIVE). The goal of these centers is to build proficiencies for the individuals served - from financial and digital literacy to employability and up-skilling.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization committed to serving people with disabilities and disadvantages by providing life-changing opportunities toward independence. For more information about Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, visit www.goodwillswfl.org.