2017-03-15 / Top News

Grant helps Goodwill provide training services for those in need

A $12,360 grant received last month from the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation will enable six participants of a Goodwill Industries day training program for adults with disabilities to pay just $2 per day for services.

“We are grateful that the foundation recognizes the success of the program and is willing and able to defray the cost for those who are on the long Medicaid waiver wait list or who have a non-covered disability,” said Megan Feeney, program manager of Disability Support Services for Goodwill.

Monday through Friday, Pathways participants work on improving their personal and social skills through a variety of classes offered at the Goodwill Opportunity Center. They each have an individual educational plan, learn how to be self-advocating and join 30 other participants to learn new skills and to socialize through music and sports. They also take field trips learn how to shop and cook within a budget or visit the public library, among other places.

About half of the participants receive a Medicaid waiver that pays $28.60 for attending each six-hour weekday program. Those who have been denied or are on a waiting list for waiver funding are billed $28.60 per day. Participants receiving one of the scholarships will pay just $2 per day.

Fort Myers resident Clay Wethal, 25, is enrolled four days a week at Pathways to Opportunity, which is offered by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida.

“This program gives Clay independence and a reason to leave the house. He learns different things every day,” said Mr. Wethal’s mother, Darla Smith. “There is nothing else out there like this program and without it our community would suffer and so would these great individuals who have so much to give and learn.”

Mr. Wethal does not have a Medicaid waiver to help pay for the program, but thanks to the scholarship program, he is able to pay just $2 per day.

“Without it he could not afford to attend and I would not be able to hold a job because I would be home with him,” Ms. Smith added.

“The Foundation supports this program whole-heartedly,” said foundation board president William Barrett. “These individuals have shown that if given an opportunity, they want and can learn to be more independent.”

In addition to Pathways to Opportunity, Goodwill’s programs in Southwest Florida include Job-Link resource centers, small business training classes, disability-accessible housing, the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy charter school, and more. The 31 retail stores collect and sell donated items and new goods, which help fund the services and programs offered in Southwest Florida. For more information, see www.goodwillswfl.org or call 995-2106. ¦

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