Dayton Goodwill® Employee Receives National Award for Commitment to Serving the Disabilities Community

DAYTON, OH — Shari Cooper has lived with cerebral palsy her entire life, but she has not allowed that to stop her from living the best-quality life she can. Her contributions to Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley (GESMV) have been noticed by her colleagues — ranging from frontline to executive-level staff — as well as the people she serves through her work. For her outstanding efforts to serve and advocate for people with disabilities, Goodwill Industries International is honored to award Cooper the 2019 Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff.

After earning her associate’s degree in disability services, Cooper was eager to start a career, but she says she had trouble finding work because of her disability. Through extensive searching and persistence, she eventually found a job with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, which is a partner of GESMV. OOD connected her to the local Goodwill, and she began working in an administrative position. Her hard work and commitment to excel led to her current role as a public relations assistant at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley.

Cooper is recognized by her peers for always going the extra mile in her work to best serve program participants, many of whom live with disabilities similar to her own. Cooper promotes the Goodwill mission through her work by contributing workforce-related stories to the local newspaper, Dayton Daily News, conducting tours of the GESMV campus, participating in speaking engagements and developing presentations. One of her main roles is maintaining relationships with various community groups and organizations that can support and advocate for Goodwill mission programs.

Cooper’s advocacy for people with disabilities isn’t limited to her role at GESMV Goodwill. She serves on the Accessibility Board for the Dayton Foundation, Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and the Secretary of State’s Americans with Disabilities Act Council. She was also elected to the board of directors for the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. In addition, Cooper presents twice a year at the Ohio State University Nisonger Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities class on advocacy issues.

“Shari is a shining example of why we do the work we do here at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley,” said Lance Detrick, president and CEO of Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley. “The transformation she’s made in her life exemplifies the meaning of ‘not a charity, but a chance,’ as she continuously provides support to people with disabilities experiencing situations similar to her own. Shari is a phenomenal employee and true advocate for Goodwill program participants.”

The Edgar J. Helms Award for Graduate Staff honors a current Goodwill employee who is a past recipient of Goodwill services, and who exemplifies the mission of Goodwill Industries® and its founder Rev. Edgar J. Helms’ values of unselfish service to people with disabilities or other disadvantaging conditions.

Cooper will receive her award at Goodwill Industries International’s annual meeting of the Delegate Assembly this June in Pittsburgh, PA.


Cindy Carusone
Public Relations Manager
Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley
Phone: (937) 304-0395
[email protected]

Savanna Mickens
Public Relations Specialist
Goodwill Industries International
Phone: (240) 333-5293
[email protected]


For 100 years, Easterseals has served as an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families. Together, 70 Easterseals affiliates in communities nationwide serve 1.5 million people annually through high-quality programs, including autism services, early intervention, workforce development, adult day care and more. In schools, workplaces and communities, Easterseals is fostering environments where everyone is included and valued — with a real and positive impact on everyone. Join Easterseals in ensuring that everyone — regardless of age or ability — is 100 percent included and 100 percent empowered. Learn more at


Goodwill Industries International (GII) is a network of 160 community-based, autonomous organizations in the United States and Canada with a presence in 13 other countries. GII is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is recognized by GuideStar with its Platinum Seal of Approval, the organization’s highest rating for charities. For the past three years, Goodwill was ranked in the top five brands that inspired consumers the most with its mission in the World Value Index, commissioned by the creative agency, enso. Goodwill has been on Forbes’ list of top 20 most inspiring companies for three consecutive years, the only nonprofit featured on that list.

Local Goodwill organizations are innovative and sustainable social enterprises that offer job placement and training services, and other community-based programs by selling donated clothing and household items in more than 3,300 stores collectively and online at®.

Goodwill helps people facing challenges to finding employment, including people with disabilities, veterans and military families, youth and young adults, older workers, people reintegrating into society, and others working to advance their careers. Local Goodwill organizations build revenues and expand employment opportunities by contracting with commercial, state, government and non-government organizations to provide a wide range of business services, including janitorial and grounds maintenance, flexible staffing, food service, manufacturing and contracts packaging, reverse logistics, document imaging and shredding, and laundry services.

Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively placed more than 288,000 people in employment in the United States and Canada. In addition, more than 36 million people used computers and mobile devices to access Goodwill education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills, and more than two million people received in-person services.

Goodwill is both an icon and accessible neighbor: more than 82 percent of the U.S. population resides within 10 miles of a Goodwill location.

For more information or to find a Goodwill location near you, visit, or call (800) GOODWILL. Follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillIntl and @GoodwillCapHill, and find us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube: GoodwillIntl.