By Chris Casey | University Communications
DENVER - A visit to Goodwill Industries of Denver reinforced to the leadership team of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus the powerful ways Goodwill impacts the lives of Coloradans every day.
University administrators recently got an up-close view of Goodwill's youth services when they mentored high school students at the Denver School of the Arts and Hinkley High School. The leadership team chose Goodwill as the organization to support as part of the university's annual Giving Back Holiday Campaign.
For the past 15 years Goodwill has put teachers in high schools across the metro area - currently more than 30 schools - to mentor youth in career development and job training.
Goodwill CEO Jesse Wolff and his team hosted today's thank-you luncheon for the university leadership, which included Chancellor Jerry Wartgow; Provost Rod Nairn; Dan Howard, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Denise Kassebaum, dean of the School of Dental Medicine; Rebecca Kantor, dean of the School of Education and Human Development; Cliff Young, professor and associate dean of faculty for the Business School; and Tony Smith, director of the Experiential Learning Center.
Wolff gave the group an overview of Goodwill's 1,200-employee operation that returns 85 percent of what is brought in to collection centers to the community. University leaders enjoyed a tour of the Goodwill headquarters, including its massive warehouse where collected items are sorted for distribution.
Wolff extended Goodwill's thanks to the university for its assistance in the mentorship program.
"We work with thousands and thousands of kids in a very intensive way," he said. "The success from that program has been terrific. We know that kids finish the year with a much more positive attitude about their future and about their abilities to go forth in their careers than kids that aren't in those classes."
Joyce Schlose, vice president of business development for Goodwill said, "The University of Colorado relationship has been huge in terms of helping us define (that program) and stay on target in a very powerful way."
Wartgow said continued work with Goodwill, such as through student internships and Giving Back contributions, are a priority for the university.
Wolff noted that Goodwill would like to be part of any university programs. It's a natural tie-in, he said, because today's students have "built-in expectations that as a business, small or large, you should be doing something for the community and for the environment. Goodwill is kind of the original social enterprise."
Howard said Goodwill is a perfect place for students to perform outside-of-class work. "I can see all sorts of opportunities for some sort of community service on the part of students, especially in cases where it's required for their major," he said.
The university's Giving Back Holiday Campaign continues through Feb. 27. All faculty and staff are given four hours of work time to go into the community and participate in the volunteer activity of their choice.
(Photo: University leaders get a tour of the Goodwill Industries of Denver warehouse from Mike Pritchard (far left), vice president of business development for Goodwill.)