Living in southwest Virginia one of the traditions that many of us look forward to during the holiday season is visiting the Hotel Roanoke to look at the Christmas Trees. The Fashions for Evergreens event benefits the United Way of Roanoke Valley when you vote for your favorite tree.
Last week, I went with my family. Inside we saw the magical world of Nemo and Dori as well as a tree with a train made out of cases of Coke. These were a couple of our favorites. But then we ventured into the Courtyard and I found my favorite tree.
I was reminded not only of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is my FAVORITE Christmas special each year, but also of a blog post that Goodwill did in December of 2011. In the post, it likened Charlie Brown’s tree to the individuals served by Goodwill:
Everyone made fun of the tree that Charlie Brown chose. Why? It was different. It didn’t fit the “mold” of the traditional tree. But in the end, with a little love and care, the tree was as good or better than many of the others they could have chosen. It always had the potential, it just needed a little help to become great.
Charlie Brown’s tree is not so different from those that we serve at Goodwill. They too have potential. They may have barriers, including disabilities, disadvantages, or many have lost their job due to company closing or layoff, but they have the ability to work, earn a paycheck, and contribute to their community. Goodwill simply provides the training and employment assistance they need to get back to work. Just like the tree, it is simply a hand up, not a hand out that helps our participants live up to their true potential.
So this holiday season, and in the year to come, remember to look beyond the surface. Look for the potential that is within each of us. Help someone achieve their goals and live life to the fullest. Goodwill looks forward to assisting more people in 2012 with employment barriers and we thank you for your support of our mission each and every day.
It’s hard to believe that we wrote that original post five years ago. Goodwill has helped thousands of individuals since then who have needed the hand up, not a hand out to gain greater independence, advance their skills to find a better job, and to find employment.
So, I’ll end this post, as we did five years ago . . . Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and “On Earth, peace, Goodwill toward men.”
Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!