GWISR announces green space gift to the community

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers has announced its plans to develop a green space as a gift to its team members, clients and the community surrounding its Macon Road headquarters in Columbus, Ga.

The Goodwill "Green Space Initiative" will begin with a green space developed on the site of The Plaza Theatre.  The theatre was donated to Goodwill by Glenwood Development in 2013 after sitting vacant since closing in 1997.

Upon thorough inspection, the building had unfortunately become a health and safety risk.  The presence of asbestos, considerable structural and water damage, destroyed interiors and other factors left the building irreparable.

After much consultation, it was determined that the best use of the property would be a green space.

"Goodwill is committed to the health and well-being of our communities," said Julie Bennett, Director of Communications at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers.  "As an organization our goal is to serve and support people.  We provide career services, job placement and training to individuals and today, we are able to provide a public green space that will also improve our communities' quality of life."

The green space announcement keeps with Goodwill's successful year of giving back.  The organization's core mission is transforming donations into jobs.  Goodwill helped connect 4,606 people to jobs in 2013 exceeding its job placement goal for the year and surpassed the 2012 total by 31.3 percent.

Goodwill partners with local employers from a wide range of industries to fill open positions with qualified job applicants.  Through its Career Centers, the organization provides free career services, including assistance with resume writing and interview skills, and access to a wide range of open jobs.  Beyond that, the organization hosts more than 240 free job and resource fairs throughout the year.

"This year we helped thousands of people obtain jobs with employers throughout the communities we serve," said Bennett.  "We also served over 34,074 people by providing free career services to the general public, including veterans and those who are unemployed and underemployed, and, as always, more intensive training initiatives for persons with disabilities.  As an organization, our goal is always to increase the number of people we serve and the quality of the services we provide.  We can only do that with the continued support of the community through their donations of gently used items."

In 2013, Goodwill expanded its footprint in the region, offering more convenient retail and donation locations and additional Career Centers.  New stores were opened in Carrollton, Columbus, Newnan and Phenix City.  The new Carrollton, East Columbus, Newnan and Phenix City Retail Stores each include on site Donation and Career Centers.  The organization also opened six new staffed Donation Centers, including a recent opening in Newnan.  Currently there are 13 Retail Stores, nine Career Centers and 19 staffed Donation Centers in the region.

The free career services Goodwill provides are funded primarily by the proceeds from its retail stores.  Community members can help the organization continue to provide these services by donating gently used clothing items and household goods.

About Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Inc.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (GWISR) is one of 165 independent community-based Goodwill nonprofits across the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., GWISR serves 50 counties in West Georgia and East Alabama with free services such as  job coaching, access to computers, and skills classes to facilitate job placement and advancement. These programs are made possible through your donations of gently used clothing and household goods that are sold at 13 Goodwill Retail Stores in Georgia and Alabama.  For more information about Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, visit

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