August 27 is a date that Jamie remembers well. It was her oldest son’s birthday and she had no presents and no birthday cake to give him. It’s also the day she made the decision to take control and do whatever she needed to get her life back together. Jamie had a lot of responsibilities on her plate. She was a single parent caring for three children under the age of six and her family was homeless. They had been “couch-surfing” for several months, staying with various friends and relatives after Jamie lost her job and her unemployment benefits ran out. Jamie faced multiple barriers to obtaining housing, including a previous eviction, a criminal history, the need for an affordable residence large enough for four people, no independent means of transportation, and the fact that she was not currently working.
Once she decided that it was time to do a better job providing for her family, Jamie’s first step was to look for work. She knew that her job search was going to be difficult, but heard that Goodwill was a “second chance” employer. She sent in an application and was delighted to hear that she would be hired as a full-time cashier.
After starting her job, she got even more good news. Employment at Goodwill meant that she was also assigned a life coach (Goodwill Manasota’s GoodPartner Coach). The day she got that job at Goodwill is the day when she really began to believe she could do it! With a steady job and someone on her side, Jamie gained a positive attitude and a strong determination to succeed.
When Jamie first met with her GoodPartner Coach, Irania, they covered a lot of ground. Irania assessed the family’s needs, helped Jamie set some personal goals, and worked with Jamie to develop a plan to reach them. Her most pressing goal was to find a home so she and her children could move off the streets. The search for safe, affordable housing was difficult, and coming up with the money to move in to a new apartment seemed impossible. When Jamie finally found an apartment she could afford, Irania helped the family apply for financial assistance for the move-in costs through the United Way Season of Sharing funds. At last, Jamie and her children were able to move into their own home.
Irania also referred Jamie for budgeting classes so that she could begin taking control of her housing expenses. Irania also arranged for a local agency to “adopt” the family during Christmas so the kids would have a nice holiday while Jamie was still working to get back on her feet.
These days, Jamie has added new goals on her plan and is planning to go back to school to become a CNA.
Goodwill has played a pivotal role in Jamie’s achievements. She states, “Goodwill helped me TREMENDOUSLY. They are focused on getting you back into a home setting. Even when we hit a brick wall, my GoodPartner Coach and I kept going. This is just the beginning for me!”
It’s what we do...