Flag made by South Florida Goodwill employees sits on top of the world!
From Miami to Mount Kilimanjaro. Talk about going the distance! How a flag made by employees with disabilities at Goodwill South Florida ended atop the tallest mountain in Africa (19,340 feet) is a tale of perseverance.
Our dedicated employees come to work each day determined to overcome the physical and mental barriers that make seemingly easy daily routines a challenge. Carla Goulart and Victoria Fields meanwhile, set their sights on a different challenge - to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They planned and trained for an entire year for the rigorous eight day -day climb. Once they reached the summit, Goulart said placing an American flag made by Goodwill South Florida employees made perfect sense. Goulart is a senior director of AbilityOne strategic business development for the SourceAmerica network, a Goodwill partner that promotes employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Victoria Fields, CFCM, also works for SourceAmerica.
"When I made the decision to attempt climbing Kilimanjaro, that set in motion goals that I never anticipated nor would have thought possible," said Goulart. "The AbilityOne program opens up possibilities for individuals who don't think they have possibilities. It provides opportunities for those who often don't have a voice. Carrying a flag made by an employee in the AbilityOne program up Mount Kilimanjaro, to me, was demonstrating that we shouldn't put limits on ourselves, nor do we dare put limits on someone else."
Goodwill South Florida, one of the first agencies to join the SourceAmerica network, has been manufacturing military apparel for the U.S. Department of Defense for over 25 years. More than 1,200 individuals with a range of disabilities produce combat coats and trousers in addition to making approximately 83,000 U.S. internment flags a year.
"We were touched to learn that Carla and Victoria chose to honor our employees in this way," said Lourdes de la Mata-Little, Chief marketing officer of Goodwill South Florida. "Through programs such as the SourceAmerica network, these individuals gain a sense of purpose and accomplishment. They have the chance to reach their full potential. It's very fitting that they were honored as these climbers reached the summit of Kilimanjaro."
Goulart and Fields were joined by climbers from around the world. Their time at the top of the world's only free-standing mountain lasted less than 30 minutes due to the high altitude, but the sense of pride in their accomplishment still lingers.
"Many times in life we decide, with no backup, what is possible and what isn't. We limit ourselves before we ever get started" said Goulart. "Each of us has possibilities - some possibilities that we aren't even aware of yet."