SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – During the recent Special Olympics at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, three Goodwill Manasota employees earned medals: Sharon Wirth and Louis Amico won a silver medal for doubles tennis, and Doug Johnson won silver for the 800-meter run and a bronze in shot put. Wirth was also presented with the Special Inspirational Athlete Award for Sarasota County.
“I've been coaching Sharon for more than five years. The honor she was given was well-deserved,” said April Bradley, a Special Olympics coach. “She is a fierce competitor, a hard worker, and she encourages other athletes. I am thankful to Sharon for making my life better as I have learned so much from her.”
Bradley reports that Sharon, who has worked at Goodwill for three years, often tells her that she loves her job.
Wirth, Amico and Johnson are employed through Goodwill’s Supported JobsPlus program, which was implemented in 2005. This program supports employment for team members with significant disabilities, who face much higher rates of unemployment than those without disabilities. Through partnerships with agencies throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties, individuals who have been unsuccessful obtaining employment elsewhere and have a desire to work are referred to Goodwill. GoodPartner coaches provide team members with disabilities with job training and case management services, to help ensure they have the tools they need to succeed. More than 12 percent of Goodwill Manasota’s 800-employee workforce has some type of disability or significant barrier to self-sufficiency.
“We are extremely proud of all our team members for their recent win in the Special Olympics! Doug, Louis and Sharon are a prime example of people who have exceeded expectations – they have set goals and succeeded through employment,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “We always look at someone’s ability, not their disability – we want our employees to know that they can do anything they set their minds to. While this win is a personal achievement for the three of them, we are all celebrating their success.”
According to the Special Olympics website, approximately 2,000 athletes competed in sports including track and field, soccer, bocce, tennis, cycling and volleyball. The mission of the Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
For more about Goodwill Manasota, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721.
PHOTO ID: Goodwill Manasota team members (from l-r) Doug Johnson, Sharon Wirth and Louis Amico show off their hardware won during the Special Olympics in Orlando
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.