Goodwill Honors Partners at Community Appreciation Breakfast

On Friday, May 22, Goodwill of Orange County hosted its 6th annual Community Appreciation Breakfast at First American Financial in Santa Ana, CA.

From large corporate entities and family-owned businesses, to human services professionals and foundation officers, the breakfast celebrated many of the individuals who partner with us on our mission to change lives by the power of work.

These individuals and businesses provide employment opportunities, support, advocacy and a whole lot of love to our program participants. We are so grateful for each of them and this award’s breakfast helped us say thank you!

Watch a fun recap of the event here:

Rick Reiff of PBS SoCal and the Orange County Business Journal emceed the event and recognized more than 38 individuals with the Community Appreciation Award.

Here’s the full list of winners:

  • John Agamalian, President of So Cal Property Services, who provides parking lot maintenance at several Goodwill facilities and for his involvement with Goodwill events, most notably the Goodwill Invitational and last year’s Gala where he “sweetened” everyone’s experience.
  • Jacob Alvarado and Mary Sanchez of Fabcon, who hired 10 of Goodwill’s program participants and provided work for an additional 12 participants at Goodwill through assembly and packaging projects.
  • Mariella Baldo, Vocational Faculty Coordinator at Santa Ana College, who works closely with Goodwill’s Human Resources Division to utilize our GoodLearning Academy as a satellite facility for Santa Ana College, specifically to offer certificate training programs at Goodwill for individuals seeking to expand their skills and marketability.
  • Shari Battle, Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs for Bank of America, for her tireless advocacy for people with disabilities. Shari spearheads Band of America’s funding in Orange County and thanks to her leadership; Goodwill has received valuable investments in its workforce programs to equip people for jobs. In addition, Bank of America places several high school students with Goodwill each summer in a high-quality internship experience.
  • The Bickerstaff Family, who generously underwrote the 2014 Gala, to support three of Goodwill’s flagship services: Enduring Independence Program, Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC), and the Goodwill Fitness Center.
  • Ann Clark and Kurt Kosbab of Edison High School in Huntington Beach, who serve as Vocational Specialists in Workability, a program that helps students with developmental disabilities transition from high school to a job and/or college and independent.
  • Anthea Chade, Alex Falk, Carol Manning, Jeff Burch and Kerry Kavanaugh, who infused the Gala with the highest levels of creativity, excitement and sense of fun and ultimately created a mesmerizing experience for all.
  • Irian de Armas, Program Director for Camino Nuevo, who, by believing in the power of work to help individuals as part of their mental health treatment plan, has for many years collaborated with Goodwill to help hundreds of individuals improve their lives through Goodwill’s Employment Works program and by obtaining gainful work.
  • Jaclyn Duarte, Senior Program Officer for Change a Life Foundation, who through her partnership with Goodwill, has helped six Goodwill participants meet unique needs.
  • Shauna Farley, Executive Director of the Waltmar Foundation and a past Goodwill Board Member, for her consistent support of ATEC since 2005. These services help children and adults to literally have a voice and to engage in meaningful dialogue through assistive technologies.
  • Pam Highwart, Marketing & Promotions Associate for the Orange County Fair & Event Center. The OC Fair’s annual ‘We Care Wednesday’ event benefits four nonprofit agencies by encouraging patrons to donate goods in exchange for entrance to the fair and a free carnival ride.
  • John Jorgenson, District Sales Manager of Chevron in Brea, for leveraging resources at Chevron to serve those with barriers to employment. John partnered with Goodwill to integrate Goodwill work groups at Chevron locations, to contract with Goodwill’s Landmark services for custodial services, and to host and promote incentive-laden donated good drives.


  • Rob Knutsen, CEO of JDL Securities in Newport Beach, for their generous donations to Goodwill over the years and hiring a program participant in 2008.
  • Frank LaBlanc, Vice President and Operations Manager at First American, for his employment of three Goodwill Supported Employment participants with disabilities. Due to the efforts of Frank and his staff, there has been minimal turnover for the group. Program participants are responsible for scanning documents.
  • Felix T. Lin, for his tireless volunteer efforts as Chairman of Goodwill’s Investment Committee, a very technical area in which he diligently lent his expertise. He has aided Goodwill in maintaining its healthy and stable bottom line that helped lay the foundation for continued program growth.
  • Matt McConnell, Director of Sales, and John Notti, Engineer, from IAC Industries in Brea. John Notti designed a line of equipment custom-made for Goodwill at no additional cost and created a Goodwill catalog specific to our needs. Matt McConnell, a former fitness trainer, now volunteers at Goodwill’s Fitness Center to work with veterans.
  • Cheryl and Jeff Osborne, owners of Casco Contractors, Inc. in Irvine, for employing three program participants in a Supported Employment setting where they are gaining experience and training in the construction industry. This is Goodwill’s first group in the construction field. The team assists with construction and remodeling of office spaces.
  • Tyler Page, Owner and President of Sign Concepts in Huntington Beach, for creating the signage for Goodwill’s retail stores and for his support of the annual golf tournament by donating all the tee signs and special event banners.
  • Alexandra Schnack of Telecare Corp. and Adam Ward of Mental Health Association, for their commitment to the program participants that they have referred to Goodwill’s Employment Works program. They work closely and effectively with Goodwill’s Employment Specialists to establish an optimal environment for success.
  • Dore Sommer, Executive Chef at First America, for enthusiastically welcoming a team of program participants and helping ensure they feel every bit a part of the First American family as everyone else.
  • Arlene Stevens, Special Education Program Specialist with the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside, for referring students to Goodwill’s Assistive Technology Exchange Center, where they learn how to use specific technologies and devices to transcend barriers posed by disability. This results in measurable progress in their education and ability to communicate.
  • Alaina Talarico, Mimi Johnson, and Jacqueline DuPont, Co-Chairs of Goodwill’s 2014 GALA, for throwing a successful fundraiser, all while exuding energy, creativity and passion. The Gala featured the beloved Beach Boys and truly raised the bar for fundraising dinners in Orange County. This dynamic team has hit the ground running in preparation for our 2015 Gala, scheduled for November.
  • Tom and Elizabeth Tierney, local philanthropists, for their transformational commitment and gift to Goodwill’s veterans program, Enduring Independence. Thanks to the Tierney’s generous gift, veterans in Orange County can utilize Goodwill’s holistic veterans employment services to achieve greater personal and family stability. The gift also supports the Goodwill Fitness Center, which provides physical therapy for injured vets and others with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
  • Trish Tomsen, Case Manager for SER-Jobs for Progress, Inc., for her work providing many Goodwill Employment Works participants, who are managing mental health diagnosis, with work experience opportunities at various nonprofits in Orange County.
  • Trinh Van Erp, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the California Department of Rehabilitation, for being a liaison for Goodwill’s Supported Employment program model, in which a team of individuals with developmental disabilities works at employment sites in the community with the support of a Goodwill Job Coach.
  • Bernard Wolfson, Editor of the Business Section of the Orange County Register, for writing a front-page article called, Seeking a Sense of Hope. This story eloquently focused on people with mental illness re-engaging with the workforce and notably featured the progress of two Employment Works graduates.

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  • Honorees unable to attend included: Vicki Booth of the Ueberroth Family Foundation and Annette Richardson of the Inland Regional Center.

Thank you to each of you for the work you do and for the way that you make a difference in the lives of people who have barriers to employment.


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