Clarence Brown got just the gift he wanted in time for Christmas…a full time job.
The Holidays are much brighter this year for Clarence Brown after he got just the gift he wanted in time for Christmas…a full-time job.
“It’s a lot of stress off of me knowing that I can provide for my kids,” he says. “Last year I wasn’t able to get Christmas gifts for my kids like I wanted to, but now that I’m working, I’m able to get them a little something so it’s a blessing.”
Clarence’s journey started a year ago when Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation referred him to Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas. He had a number of barriers to overcome. Not only was he homeless but he struggled with reading due to a learning disability. His Goodwill Career Navigator points to low self-esteem as Clarence’s biggest barrier. “He just didn’t think he was good enough. I had to talk him up for quite some time so that he could realize his potential.” That encouragement plus hands-on, one-on-one help filling out applications online, practicing mock interviews and getting transportation to real interviews…eventually paid off.
Clarence received an offer for a part-time job at Lowe's making $11 an hour, which he accepted. Still, he says, the help from Goodwill didn’t end there. “They helped me with gas money. They helped me with clothing if I needed. They made sure I had everything I needed, work boots and everything,” Clarence says. And Clarence continued looking, finding leads and filling out online applications at the Goodwill GoodWORKS Career Center in downtown Kansas City. A few weeks later he received and accepted another part time job offer, this one from Hy-Vee making $10 an hour. Before long, impressed by his work ethic, Hy-Vee offered him a full-time position with a $3 raise and benefits.
“It showed me how hard work pays off. While I was filling out applications here (at Goodwill) sometimes you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our whole goal… me, Mike and everybody here at Goodwill…was to get me a full-time job. Mike sat at the computer and helped me fill out the Lowe's application, I’ll never forget it, and they called back but what’s funny is I sat at the computer by myself and filled out the Hy-Vee application.”
With a full-time job, now Clarence has a stable home and transportation of his own. Most importantly to him, he can provide for his three children and visit his youngest daughter who lives in Michigan. He hadn’t seen her in 2 ½ years.
Myers can see the difference the Power of Work has made in Clarence’s life. “At first, his self-esteem was so low he’d hang his head,” she says. “He blossomed. It was amazing to watch.” Now Clarence is mentoring others paying forward what he received from Goodwill. “Goodwill has a ‘will’ to give you,” he says. “They inspire you to want to be better than what you come in as. They showed me here at Goodwill that if you put your best foot forward, with a little help because at the end of the day we all need help in some type of way, good things will happen.”