Bobby has been running on the streets of Sarasota for as long as he can remember. For over 20 years, he sold drugs and did odd jobs in order to pay his bills. Despite his best efforts, his lifestyle caught up with him. Bobby began to notice that he always felt depressed and that he was withdrawing from everyone around him. His children had distanced themselves from him and he was no longer able to spend any time with his grandchildren.
Then came the final straw: Bobby went to prison for nearly two years for selling drugs. During his incarceration, Bobby spent a lot of time thinking about his family and the consequences of his poor choices. He decided that it was time to begin making better decisions.
Bobby’s release date came just last year. He kept his focus on making a fresh start and that meant getting a real job. He once held a CDL license but now, with a criminal background and no car, his options were limited. He started working part-time at a fast food chain – the first time in a long time he had had a “traditional” job. Then he added another part-time job. After a while, Bobby’s son saw that he was genuinely making an effort to turn his life around and invited Bobby to move in with him and his family. Bobby was finally able to see his six grandchildren as often as he liked.
After picking up as many hours as he could from part-time gigs, Bobby decided he wanted something more stable. He stopped in at the Goodwill Job Connection office several months ago to make an appointment with Toni. Bobby really wanted to work at Goodwill but with a slim work history and no reliable transportation, he knew he was going to have to prove himself. Toni did some coaching with Bobby and, within a week of searching for a job, he had six interviews lined up. He finally got a full- time position working in a restaurant and kept one of his other part-time jobs, too.
Seeing what a strong effort Bobby was making, his uncle wanted to help and gave him a car. Now Bobby had a faster and more reliable way to get to work.
Bobby was glad to have two jobs in food service, despite the fact that the pay was low and there was not always enough business for him to work 40 hours each week. He was determined to get a job at Goodwill, which he knew would provide a better wage and 40 hours a week, even after snowbird season. He also loved the idea of getting a life coach. Every time he saw an opening at Goodwill, he applied again.
The team in the Job Connection kept tabs on Bobby. He was getting to both his jobs on time every day and continued to demonstrate his commitment to making better choices. After four months, the Goodwill store manager agreed that Bobby had proven that he was sincere in his desire to get a job and keep it. The manager offered Bobby a full-time position at Goodwill – Bobby accepted on the spot.
Bobby is finally optimistic about his future. He is looking forward to his next steps, like renting a place of his own. He is thankful for his family and says he is proud that his son did not go down the same path he did. Bobby’s son says that his dad is now his role model.
Bobby is also very thankful for Goodwill. He says without the Job Connection, he would not have been able to turn his life around. Now that he has stable employment in the store, he can set goals and achieve them. He is glad Goodwill was there when he was ready to begin making different choices. It’s what we do …