EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Mark Kuntz, center, wraps stringed balls around the rack Thursday with Darrina Unti, left, and Paul “The Mayor” Boucher during the open house of the Goodwill Possibilities program for Marinette County clients. 
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Mark Kuntz, center, wraps stringed balls around the rack Thursday with Darrina Unti, left, and Paul “The Mayor” Boucher during the open house of the Goodwill Possibilities program for Marinette County clients. 

MARINETTE — Goodwill held an open house for its new Possibilities Facility at 2100 Ella Court St. in Marinette on Thursday and Friday, and staff, clients and visitors were able to get a first look at the building which promises new, comprehensive care and resources to Goodwill’s area clients. 

“What we have here is a facility that will help transition people out of just a plain work center and into more what we call integrated community employment and integrated community experiences,” said Cori Bodeman, director of marketing for Goodwill of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, in an interview Thursday. “And you know what, that’s a really good thing.” 

Possibilities is a series of programs geared toward providing enriching experiences for area citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The programs are geared toward Goodwill clients ages 18 and up, and serve participants who are looking for daytime activities and structured, community-based groups. Services provided by the programs include community access, job exploration, leisure, recreation, health and wellness, functional social skills and many more. 

“When you learn a skill, it’s not going to be just a specific rote skill, it’s going to be lots of different things,” Bodeman said. “For instance, yesterday they made grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, making grilled cheese sandwiches of going to the DeBacker farm (DeBacker Family Dairy in Daggett) to see how the milk is milked, the cheese is made and then they bought the cheese. They went to the grocery store, so they learned the skills of shopping out in public, the exchange of money and how you choose what you’re going to want to buy. Then they spent another day prepping the food, and yesterday they cooked lunch and served it to themselves. So, instead of learning a skill just in a small room ... now we’ve learned the whole process.” 

Possibilities also caters to those who want to learn how to have a job or volunteer, or those who already have community-integrated employment. 

“The most important thing is they get the opportunity to choose,” Bodeman said. “The clients go all sorts of places. ... That’s what this is all about.” 

The new Possibilities Facility currently works with 26 clients and a staff of seven care workers and administrators who assist in daily activities and opportunities. Bodeman and staff members said the number of clients is expected to grow, with the new space. The building features a personal storage space for each client, smart televisions, a library for arts and crafts and reading, a main dining and recreation room, a computer room for job exploration and discovery, a temporary exercise room and temporary kitchen and staff offices. 

“Our biggest project right now is staying positive,” said Jackie Adderley, care worker at the Possibilities Facility, about one of the opportunities clients are able to participate in. “We made tool books and journals, so if they have negative issues that are going on in their life, they’ll write that in the book. Then they’ll turn around and we’ll write another journal about turning it around and making it positive, what they can do better.” 

Goodwill is also focused on making additions to the Possibilities Facility, including a renovation of the building’s basement, which is due to be completed by the end of the year. Plans for the basement include an exercise and community room, a kitchen and dining room, laundry facilities and a home theater with actual theater seating. 

“It’s definitely a lot different from our work center,” said Ben Brown, lead case manager at Possibilities. “The exciting part of this new program is the ability of choice for the individuals. They get to choose their activities on a daily basis ... anything from doing crafts to going out in the community.” 

For more information about Goodwill and the Possibilities program, visit www.gwnwup.org. To watch a video about the Possibilities Facility, visit https://youtu.be/XveOCo5ln5k.