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Faces of Goodwill

Ivy's Story

Ivy's Story

In July 2023, Ivy Gifford-Blasi was hired by Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont to be a job coach, overseeing its Summer Youth Works Program, based in Goodwill’s training center in North Adams, Mass. Though Ivy had no prior experience in the field of workplace readiness and job coaching she caught on exceptionally quickly. Over the summer she helped underserved youth learn skills needed to be successful in the workplace and to gain hands-on work experience, many for the first time. 

She was a hit with the kids. “Ivy is great,” said a Youth Works participant. “She is very supportive, and we can go to her about anything. She is easy to talk to and makes the work program fun.”

Ivy said that one of the highlights of her job working with youth in the summer program was helping one particular participant not only prepare for the workplace but to obtain a GED. “I really like helping people,” she said. “I meet them where they are and help them to build better lives.”

Fast-forward to March 2024, where Ivy now holds a full-time staff position as a Mission Services Career Navigator. According to Senior Director of Mission Services Kelly Brennan, “Ivy is not just a reliable staff person; she believes in the work we do to help people to become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life. Ivy has far surpassed my expectations. She takes initiative to research and collect resources that will benefit our participants and, as a result, has made significant contributions to improving our services. There is no doubt in my mind that Ivy will make a considerable positive impact in our community and I am truly appreciative to have her on our team.” 

"Ivy’s motivation, dedication and overall knowledge is a huge asset to our team. She is approachable, respectful and amazing in all that she does," said Katie Walden, Goodwill’s Mission Services Program Coordinator.

Perhaps the moving words of a Mission Services participant put it best: “When I first came to Ivy, I felt beaten by life. Ivy taught me how to fill out job applications and prepared me for interviews. I now feel ready to start looking for a job. Ivy helped me most in building confidence and gave me the support and encouragement I needed.”