Dreammakers Change Lives
Willie Stewart believes everyone deserves to see their dreams come true. That’s why he is one of the 170 DreamMakers in a program created by the Tacoma Goodwill Foundation. Goodwill provides job training and placement services to 8,000 people in Washington state each year. All donations help, and donors can become DreamMakers by providing full or partial scholarships for students of Goodwill training.
Beginning in 1997, Stewart served two terms on the Goodwill board and then joined the foundation board six years ago. “Being an educator myself for 36 years—and on the school board for six years—I recognized that the only way we can change the lives of students is through jobs,” he said. “And the only way [they] can get jobs is— to get a vocational skill.”
Virginia Sherrod changed her life through a DreamMaker scholarship. Now with a job, a driver’s license, a vehicle and place of her own—none of which she had when she applied—she knows dreams can come true.
“People make you feel important,” Sherrod said. “They give you that belief that you can accomplish, that you’re not depending on public assistance or welfare or unemployment. Without DreamMakers, people wouldn’t have those chances. I appreciate it very much.”
Stewart urges potential DreamMakers to attend events like the “Ready to Work” Goodwill Breakfast or a graduation ceremony to hear recipients’ stories. “Go visit the students at the work sites where they’re training,” he said. “Then you can appreciate what a DreamMaker can do to change a person’s life.”
“It changes their lives in terms of how they feel about America and their community. And when you see this, it’s really easy to open up your pocketbook if you’re in a position to help.” CANDACE BROWN