My Story: Daniel Owens

There are many times in all of our lives when things do not go as planned, and we need the help of others to keep us on our course. Several years ago, I experienced a relapse of my bipolar illness, and was unable to work for many months. I was in debt and living on disability.

When I was back on my feet and ready for employment, Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries was the first organization to give me an opportunity to return to work. I was offered a part-time position in the work-strengthening program as an assistant to the receptionist at the front desk at the corporate office.

With the guidance and training I received, I soon felt comfortable and useful in my position and this helped my confidence and my self-esteem. I felt like I was part of a team and grew to love my work, and the people in the Goodwill community. After several months of work, I was honored with a certificate of appreciation for attitude and motivation, and during my eight months, I did not miss a day of work.

Goodwill also assisted me to succeed in a program called DreamSavers. This is a program that helps people invest in their first home, pay for school tuition or, in my case, to start a small business, through matched savings in an IDA account.

Daniel Owens with video recording equipmentI came to the program with the idea of starting a video production business to help people record their family histories. I was accepted in the program and received assistance in my savings plan and making a business plan.

For two years, I saved $83 a month, every month, and my savings were matched with funds from the Dream Savers program. I also took a money management course at Goodwill. As one who had faced filing for bankruptcy several years before, these classes kept me focused on taking care of my financial situation in a responsible way.

Last year, I graduated from the DreamSavers program, and I purchased equipment and supplies from my business plan. My business license arrived, and I started my venture as a photography and video business owner. My business is called “Forget Me Not Productions.” Last month, I celebrated my first anniversary.

When I found myself climbing from the despair of health problems and lost employment, and in need of support, Southern Oregon Goodwill is an organization that trusted me in my potential to work and my potential to contribute to society. The experience has made me feel grateful and humble, and has made me keep a focus on what I can do to help others in the future who need a helping hand.