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Goodwill Opportunity Center now open in Paducah

Paducah Opportunity Center Grant Opening
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Paducah celebrated the opening of a Goodwill Opportunity Center Thursday. State-level leaders with the international nonprofit hope the center can help further their mission to combat poverty in Kentucky.

Although the nonprofit is widely known for its thrift stores, the ten Opportunity Centers that have opened across Kentucky over the past several years provide employment services, financial education courses and help with expungement for formerly incarcerated people, in addition to other aid programs.

“We want to break down every single barrier that they have, no matter what it is … but it’s all about helping people get out of poverty,” said Kyle Williams, a spokesman for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “Whatever barrier they faced, we’re going to have a program that addresses it.”

Paducah’s office will host a variety of initiatives, including the Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Every Day (RISE) program. The two-week program teaches individuals about digital and financial literacy, communication skills and topics related to health. The program is also incentivized, so participants can receive funds to buy clothes or food.

Since the opening of the opportunity center, they have seen over 50 applicants that are wanting help expunging their record and many walk-ins.

Other programs that Goodwill plans to offer can link participants to local banks to start a bank account and begin to earn credit, qualify participants for a free computer and aid individuals seeking auto loans. The nonprofit also hopes to tap into Paducah’s artistic community by offering art therapy and painting classes through a partnership with the Yeiser Art Center.

Williams said the nonprofit wants to create “pathways out of poverty” to give people in need “a hand up, not [a] handout.”

“Basically, the gist of it is if you’re experiencing chronic poverty, homelessness, addiction, or anything like that, and you want to find a way out, we’re there to help,” said Williams.

The Paducah Opportunity Center is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Zoe Lewis is a first-year sophomore at Murray State University from Benton, Kentucky. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in media production. She enjoys reading, going to movie theaters, spending time with her family and friends, and eating good food. Zoe is an Alpha Omicron Pi sorority member in the Delta Omega chapter. She is very excited to start working at WKMS and work while learning more about NPR, reporting, journalism, and broadcasting.
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