Good news to report!

Dear Friends of Goodwin Connections,
We are so overwhelmed by your caring hearts!
Not only did you surpass the GiveBIG goal, but you allowed us to meet our match. Your $12,844 in online and mailed in gifts plus the $10,000 match means that this has been the most successful GiveBIG ever for our families.
Like so much of what we do, we do together. GiveBIG was a true team effort. Thank you, thank you, to our board members, committee members, long-time supporters, and new supporters.
We are so amazed by your generosity and commitment to keeping our families safe, healthy, and connected to school through this spring, summer, and into the new school year.
We look forward to updating you with a lot of good news next month, as many students will be celebrating their college graduation.
Take care,
Maggie Skinner
Executive Director

P.S. Below is a video of thanks from Rachelle, a student from Seattle Central College, who will be graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Health this spring.

Tara

We met Tara just before her little one was born. A few weeks later, she welcomed her daughter into the world, and we welcomed Tara into our Family Connections Program. She started in the dental assistant program at Clover Park Technical College soon after.

Today, Tara has a dental assistant job waiting for her after graduation this spring, and she will eventually begin classes towards her ultimate goal of becoming a dental hygienist.

There is a shortage of dental assistants and hygienists in Washington state. And, once Tara graduates, she will help fill the need for trained dental technicians in our region.
Read more.

GiveBIG for a Good(win)!

Every donation between now and May 6, 2020, will count toward our overall GiveBIG goal and will make a difference for our families.

Goodwin Connections has been supporting Puget Sound families since 1907. Together, we’ve helped families through the influenza outbreak of 1918, the Great Depression, and two world wars. Throughout our long and rich history, our ability to show flexibility and respond to changing needs has given us the ability to continue our work.

Now, our student parents and their families are facing uncharted territory with the COVID-19 outbreak. Many are unsure if they’ll be able to complete their classes and graduate this spring, and some are scrambling to fill the holes in childcare that school closures have left.

For the last several decades we have focused on making childcare more affordable for student-parents who are earning a college degree. Today, we need to expand that focus to include keeping students housed, fed, and healthy.

Our students are resilient; thanks to generous donors and corporate support we have ensured that each of them has what they need to complete spring quarter from home.
However, this work is far from done. When school resumes in the fall, many of our students will be facing a vastly different landscape. Childcare, already in short supply, may be harder to find. Childcare centers throughout the region have closed, and it’s unclear how many will reopen.

Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work to support our community, just as we’ve done for over a century. A gift of $25, $50, or $100, in addition to your annual gift, will help us get students to graduation day.

Learn more about the student parents you are supporting with your gift.

If you would prefer to schedule your gift and have it go through on May 6, you can do so at our GiveBIG campaign page at: https://www.givebigwa.org/GoodwinConnections.


Recognition

We would like to thank a generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for matching GiveBIG donations up to a total of $5,000.

We’d also like to acknowledge and thank our technology sponsor, Softchoice Cares for funding computers and internet access for students, along with our partners at Interconnection, for working so quickly to get students online.

We’re incredibly grateful to be part of such a generous and compassionate community.

Thank you from Maria

Last week, we received this letter from a student that we’re so happy to pass on to you. After all, you made this happen.

Now that school is back in session and things are a little more in place I would like to thank you for all the things you’ve done for me, in the last month especially, with all the emotional support and check-in emails. So I wrote a short letter from the bottom of my heart.

In this letter, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to every single person involved with Goodwin Connections and all the donors for their generous contributions towards the education of many students in the state, but especially to those who have helped to support my education during these uncertain times we are living. When I first enrolled for my spring classes at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, I was sure that tightening my family budget would help me pay for my classes and other expenses. I was not aware of the tremendous impact the COVID-19 virus would have on the education and the lifestyle of most of us.
Read more.

Kristen

Unlocking my Strength

By Kristen

Ten years ago, I was trapped in a domestic violence (DV) relationship. The consequences of this relationship were extensive, affecting my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. During this period, I was prescribed oxycodone for multiple injuries. As the abusive relationship got worse, so too did my abuse of oxycodone.

Eight years ago, I successfully navigated my way out of that DV relationship and my addiction. I have been sober for eight years. This is my story of discovering my strength against the odds and using it to reach my fullest potential.

At seven months pregnant, after hours of being locked in a room—berated with verbal abuse, smothered, struck, and strangled—my water broke. I convinced my abuser that if either the baby or I died, no amount of “it won’t happen again” would save him from legal ramifications and that 911 needed to be called. He was arrested, while I was airlifted to a Seattle hospital. Read more.

Where are they now? Meet Rich.

A decade ago, Rich was a self-employed contractor working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. He rarely got to spend time with his wife, Rachel, and their two young kids. Still, his health was suffering. Their home was facing foreclosure. They felt stuck.

“It wasn’t sustainable,” Rich says. “I wanted to go to school but the cost of childcare made it prohibitive to not work full time.”

They couldn’t live solely off Rachel’s public teacher salary.

Then they discovered the Seattle Milk Fund (now Goodwin Connections) and their entire outlook changed.
Read more.

Nordstrom Employees Give Back, Then and Now

Big kudos for a job well done to our newest group of corporate volunteers! Devin Tonseth from Nordstrom and his team joined us at our annual Luncheon and also spent a recent afternoon help us prepare for the JOYful Gathering event—by packaging gift bags with donated presents for our families.

Devin’s mother was Sandy Tonseth, a past President and longtime supporter, who belonged to our Everett W. Nordstrom Circle. She and her friends from Nordstrom created the original Nordstrom volunteer team back in 1979. These women continue to fundraise for our program to this day. It is so incredible to see the next generation of Nordstrom
employees supporting our families.

And, in late-breaking news, we just received notice that Goodwin Connections is the recipient of a $1,000 gift from Nordstrom to honor their employees. Thank you, Nordstrom, for being a tremendous community partner and for encouraging your employees to give back.

If your corporate team would like to volunteer in 2020, connect with us at volunteer@goodwinconnections.org. We also have ongoing volunteer opportunities through our Team Goodwin and Storytime volunteer positions. We look forward to chatting with you!

JOYful Gathering Update

Thank you to everyone who supported our families over the holidays! We surpassed
our goal of $20,000 and raised more than $25,000 to make our families’ holidays even
brighter. Thank you to our lead sponsor Capital One Café and the employees from
Parker, Smith & Feek, Indeed.com, and F5 Networks for donating towards our JOYful
Giving Season. 2020 looks very joyful for our program and the families we support.
Thank you for all you do to make our program and our families successful!

Denise Nicole

At the beginning of the school year, Denise Nicole spoke to our guests at our annual luncheon. Here is her story…

Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here. My name is Denise Nicole, and my four-year-old son, Kingston, and I just joined the Family Connections Program.

I am here on behalf of all the new and returning student parents and their families to thank you for believing in us and our children.

My journey has been filled with hardships that could have impacted my life in a negative way. There have been hurdles and obstacles that could have stopped me in my tracks. But I have persevered and stayed true to my path because I am worth fighting for!
Read more.

JOYful Giving Season

The JOYful Giving season is right around the corner! It begins November 18! This is our holiday and year-end giving campaign to support families participating in our program. In addition to making childcare and preschool more affordable for student parents, we also provide their entire family with additional basic needs support throughout the year–including over the holidays.

NEW this year, if you make a gift in honor of someone special during the JOYful Giving season, the recipient will receive a holiday card letting them know of your thoughtful gift to support our families.

Learn more about all the different ways you can get involved, give back, and make a difference for local families this holiday season…

Thank you to Capital One, Parker, Smith & Feek, and Little Rae’s Bakery for sponsoring our JOYful Giving season.