Reverend Edgar Helms founded the first Goodwill, in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts, where he collected used household goods and clothing from the wealthy; he trained and hired individuals who were poor and immigrants to mend those used goods. The goods were then resold or given to the people who repaired them and the Goodwill philosophy of “a hand up, not a hand out” was born. Reverend Helms’ vision set an early course for what would one day become a global nonprofit organization which extends to nearly every corner of the world.
In 1957, J. C. Kennedy had the foresight to bring the much needed concept of Goodwill to Lawton, Oklahoma. From there, Goodwill Industries of Southwest Oklahoma & North Texas, Inc. became a part of the Goodwill International Network. Funded by the collection and resale of used goods, nearly 85% of revenues are used to provide vocational services to individuals with disabilities and others. Goodwill strives to provide each individual served the opportunity to become an independent member of society.
Over the years, the population of Lawton steadily grew and so did the need for housing for the elderly and individuals with disabilities. In 1985 Goodwill Industries of Southwest Oklahoma & North Texas, Inc. completed the first of 3 apartment complexes that cater to the needs of the elderly and persons with developmental disabilities. Goodwill Village, J.C. Kennedy Square and Goodwill Village West II provide 74 housing units specifically designed for individuals with disabilities.
Goodwill Industries of Southwest Oklahoma & North Texas, Inc. expanded its services to the community in 1990, when it opened the Goodwill Adult Daycare. As the population grows older, many individuals require some form of assistance in daily living but are not ready for extensive nursing home care. Goodwill Adult Daycare provides a safe and pleasant environment where elderly individuals and others can enjoy a day full of activities and friendship while receiving medical monitoring, medical administration, and physical exercise, among other services.
Goodwill also offers a program designed to meet the unique needs of a very special population of youth in the Lawton/Fort Sill Community. The program was originally designed as a summer camp for children with special needs but has developed into a youth center which provides services year-round.