John is a single father of two children and currently lives in a shelter in Los Osos. With the help of Goodwill he is trying to find stable housing and is making huge strides in his work. In addition to the challenges of being a single parent without stable housing, John is also on the path to alcohol recovery, but he hasn’t let any of this prevent him from reaching his goals at work.
John went from working in CalWorks’ Occupational Work Program to on-the-job training (OJT) as a Maintenance Technician with Hydro Heaven Spas in San Luis Obispo. John proved he could be a valuable employee, despite his challenging circumstances. He maintained a 30-35 hour work week and never once missed a day, even while caring for his children.
After John finished his 24 weeks of OJT at Hydro Heaven, he was hired on as a permanent employee and his pay increased from $9.00 to $13.00 per hour. John’s new job pays well enough that he can provide better care for his children. He also feels valued at work and he enjoys what he does. “I have a ways to go,” John says, “but I’m not giving up.”
An interview with John
What brought you to Goodwill?
In 2008 I was an out-of-work parent on welfare. I was referred to the OWP program through an Employment Services Specialist DSS sometime way later. I needed to get myself back into the workforce. I was not happy about the process. I thought of Goodwill in a negative way but I needed to be responsible. I needed to do this for my kids and myself.
How open were you at first to receiving services from Goodwill and why?
I was very skeptical and negative because I thought I was at a higher level, and I felt like Goodwill was low-level. I thought I was above anything Goodwill would have to offer. My original opinion was very wrong because everything I was doing was actually not working. I needed help. I did not foresee or imagine all the help I would be receiving.
What employment, education, and life goals have you set for yourself?
My goals are simple and straightforward: To maintain stable employment and find stable housing – I’m still working on the housing. My last goal is to get completely on my feet is. I need suitable housing for my kids and myself so I can finish raising my family. I love the simple life; a small apartment with the basics is what I’m working on, and to set a good example.
You would have not liked me 14 months ago. I was an angry, not very nice person. I’ve changed for the better because Goodwill gave me the tools I needed. They helped me get my confidence back while I worked in the Goodwill warehouse, and then they helped me get into the job I currently have kept since last February as a maintenance technician.
I have had two pay increases and have gained the respect from my employer. I feel I’m valuable now to him and to myself. I really enjoy working for my employer. I know I can and will keep going.
What have been some of your biggest accomplishments since you have work with Goodwill?
It allowed me to get back into the workforce. I feel like I’m contributing to society and making a difference with my kids. I also got my children back – I have to back up to say this was my biggest accomplishment. Getting back into the workforce helped me get my kids back.
Overall, how has your experience with Goodwill made an impact on your life?
I gained full-time stable work. I quit drinking. I gained self-respect and self-esteem. Overall, I mostly gained a better attitude. It allowed me to grow up mentally, and I needed to grow up.
What was the most important lesson you’ve learned?
To actually listen. To close my mouth and just listen. That was hard for me for so long. I was always saying something I shouldn’t say, and with a very bad attitude. I still work on that daily. I’m getting better because — I can’t say this enough — I learned how to listen. I wish I would have learned that a long time ago. I still say this to myself daily. When I started listening to the help I was being offered through Goodwill and stuck with it, that’s when my life began to change for the better.