ROCKFORD (WREX) — Goodwill is a well known name in the non-profit world to say the least.
Just in North America, there are more than 3,300 Goodwill stores.
That's probably what is most recognizable to the average person but the organzation goes far beyond just its retail stores.
In fact, the stores are what fuel everything else.
The revenue from the retail stores goes toward several other projects.
Anything from GED programs and helping people with disabilities find jobs to reformed criminal support and free tax filings.
All of these efforts happen through Goodwill's mission services department.
It's an area Courtney Geiger has ran in Northern Illinois for the last 14 years.
The title is as much a passion project as it is a job for the Rockford native.
"It's an incredible feeling. It's not the same when you're volunteering in a community that you don't really know," Geiger said.
"To be able to give back in Rockford, I wouldn't want to do it anywhere else."
Courtney's drive for volunteering started as kid in the Forest City.
She did a lot of work with the Special Olmypics growing up before earning her college degree from Rockford Universty.
After graduating, Courtney left home for a couple years but eventually made her way back to the 815 where her she was able to get her job now thanks to her work as a kid.
"Special Olympics has always been housed with Goodwill. There was a job opportunity and the director of Special Olympics actually reached out to me and said 'hey you should think about this,'" Geiger said.
A little thought has turned into quite the career over the decade or so.
Courtney has met people of every shape and size and heard every story you can think of.
While everyone is unique in their own way, the mission for Courtney and Goodwill is the same.
Help people reach their full potential.
"That's the greatest thing we can do. Whether its employment or whether it's finding something that's interesting to them. It's figuring those things out," Geiger said.
Over the last year, there was certainly a lot to figure out.
The pandemic created many barriers for Goodwill to work around but it never stopped the mission.
Courtney and her team found a way to continue helping despite it all.
"Whether that was loaning out chrome books to people to make sure they could continue to have services or changing schedules and shifts so we could socially distance in space but people could still work," Geiger said.
"It was just looking through every program making sure that we were doing everything we could to continue serving the people that were in need in the community."
As we look toward a better future, Courtney is ready to continue helping others and hopefully show them how they can return the favor to our community.
"You can make a positive impact and I think it's important that we all do something to try and make our community a better place to live," Geiger said.
A woman on a mission to help others be their best is a welcome addition to the Inspiring 815 family.
If you know anyone making a difference here at home, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can email email@example.com.