My Story: Diane Joiner

Diane JoinerIn 2004, my son Aaron was murdered. He was shot in the back  three times and thrown in a field. His murder was never solved. Those people didn’t just take Aaron from us; they destroyed our family.

Five years after Aaron’s death, I got into drugs and alcohol. In 2010, I was arrested for possession of drugs. The day I entered that jail, I told myself that I would take advantage of every opportunity that they had to offer, because I would not go back to where I came from.

There was a particular class called “Hope Inside” that I started going to everyday. They gave me a lot of material that I used that would change my nos into yeses and my can’ts to cans. I felt a transformation. I knew I could do this. I felt like the Diane that I used to know — the person that I was before I was on drugs.

So I went to court and was placed in a drug program. I was then interviewed by Hope House. While I was in Hope House, I was thinking about what I could do and I could get a job. I knew that my skills and my background were not going to be very savory. It would be hard for someone to employ me by looking at my background.

I knew a lieutenant who told me come see her if I needed her because she helped me a lot while I was out in the streets. She saved my life and told me I was worth it. She told me to try to help myself because she didn’t want to see me waste my life.

I called her and she told me that she had something for me. She told me to call Goodwill Industries of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties in Redwood City. I called her and she had me come in that Monday.

Tears fell down my eyes I was so happy. This is why I love Goodwill — they hired me with a clean slate, they didn’t look at my background and  they didn’t judge me. This industry is phenomenal because it gives people like me an opportunity to thrive.

Three months into my training I was promoted to selling supervisor. I was so proud I couldn’t believe that I got promoted to selling supervisor. My hard work did pay off. Today, I feel like I have a great character and great skills. I’m open to learning, willing to learn and willing to share what I have with others so that I can be a teacher to them.