Enthusiasm of Goodwill Staffer Draws National Attention

Goodwill Industries International
Thursday, 19 June 2003

Kathy Spencer Receives Edgar J. Helms Staff Award

Kathy Spencer believes in the concept that employment not only brings economic independence, but also personal dignity and identity. Spencer concluded that Goodwill's mission of helping individuals with disabilities and disadvantages gain independence would be a perfect platform to implement her ideas and further prove her beliefs. She decided to join Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (Portland, ME) in 1976.

"She always puts the interests and needs of clients ahead of everything else," explains Kevin Baack, Executive Director of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. Spencer began her Goodwill career as a daily living activities counselor, providing direct service to severely developmentally disabled adults.

During her 20 years at the Portland Goodwill, Spencer advanced to the position of rehabilitation director, implementing community programming for participants. She developed comprehensive services for individuals with traumatic brain injury - the first vocational, residential, medical and day treatment services of their kind offered by a nonprofit anywhere in the country.

Her 27-year dedication to the Goodwill mission led to her current position as Vice President of Human Services for Gulfstream Goodwill Industries (West Palm Beach, FL). She led the charge in opening three comprehensive rehabilitation centers throughout its territory and, in six years, has expanded programming to each of the five counties the Goodwill serves.

Spencer's most notable attribute is her tenacious vision of a "person-centered" model of service delivery. Marvin Tanck, President and CEO of the West Palm Beach Goodwill, attests that Spencer "has stood toe to toe to those who have opposed her values and [has] convincingly lead not only the field of rehabilitation, but also the medical community, to believe and practice person-centered planning."

Her enthusiasm for helping people reach their fullest potential and ability has earned her Goodwill's Edgar J. Helms Staff Award. An award given to a Goodwill employee who has exemplified the mission of Goodwill Industries and founder Edgar J. Helms' values of unselfish service to people with disabilities or other disadvantaging conditions.

For more information, or to contact Goodwill Industries International, see their website at: www.goodwill.org

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