My Goodwill Story

With a history of substance abuse and a criminal record, Royce was still incarcerated when he was referred into the Job Connections program in Hilo. Royce’s job search was tough from the beginning: he had no car and his driver’s license had been taken away. To regain these privileges Royce needed to earn enough money to pay his fines and get clearance from the court. Job Connections assigned an employment counselor to Royce, who helped him find a job as a dishwasher: a basic job to support him while he built his resume. Royce rode a bicycle to and from work every day. By the time he was released from prison, he had saved enough money to reinstate his driver’s license and buy a truck. Royce moved in to an affordable residence, but it was a 1.5-hour commute to his job each way – and far from most other potential employers. When the restaurant went out of business, Royce filed for unemployment with the help of his Job Connections counselor. Royce’s counselor helped him prepare his resume, ready himself for interviews and begin a long and steady job search. Royce and his job counselor continually sought out better opportunities. He eventually found a job with a fencing company located in town – a job that was close to Royce’s home and would allow him to work outdoors. Royce applied for the job and was hired. Royce is now working as a fencer and is making almost double his former wages. Having lived on a ranch most of his life, he enjoys the work and being outdoors. He says, “I love my job, this is it! I could not have done it without Goodwill. I worry about the guys that don’t make it. Some of the ones I was in prison with are back inside.”

With his life back on course, his confidence bolstered and his income steady, Royce made new goals for himself. “I took so many things for granted before I went to prison,” he said. “Now I am doing all the beautiful things that I did not do while using drugs. I play softball or go net and pole fishing. I have new goals now – to catch a 100 lb. Ulua!”

Royce now has full medical benefits and has arranged for special permission from his parole officer to go play in off-island softball tournaments. Between softball and fishing, Royce is working toward finding a job with the state or county. From his days in prison with no transportation and an uncertain future, Royce has now set himself on track for a life full of realized dreams.