My Daily Work and What It Means To Me
When I first came to Daily Work in 2013 I was newly homeless and sick. My physical health was very poor and I couldn’t work like I had in the past. The stress and anxiety of not being able to work and then becoming homeless quickly overwhelmed me and changed the way I saw the world. I was constantly angry about my situation and trouble followed me more than ever before. I couldn’t get along with people anymore, at least not for more than a few minutes. I wondered how could I get a job and improve my life if I couldn’t co-exist with others around me. All I could think about was that I had no address, bad health and mental state, no job prospects, no future…that’s what kept running through my mind. I wasn’t alone in my struggle; I came across so many other homeless people who felt hopeless and that they had no way out.
According to a fact sheet on the National Coalition for the Homeless website, 20 – 25 percent of homeless people struggle with a severe mental illness versus only 6 percent of the general population.
According to the fact sheet, “Serious mental illnesses disrupt people’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self-care and household management. Mental illnesses may also prevent people from forming and maintaining stable relationships or cause people to misinterpret others’ guidance and react irrationally. This often results in pushing away caregivers, family, and friends who may be the force keeping that person from becoming homeless. As a result of these factors and the stresses of living with a mental disorder, people with mentally illnesses are much more likely to become homeless than the general population (Library Index, 2009).”
As both a job seeker and now, a volunteer at Daily Work, I have been lucky to see and experience the good work that is done here. For me, Daily Work has been a blessing that keeps on giving. I was at the end of my rope thinking that there was no way out but the Daily Work staff and interns found productive ways to keep me focused on positive actions that help me. For example, they reminded me to keep up with my doctor’s appointments to maintain my good health and to focus on and be thankful for the aspects of my life that are going well and to use that to motivate myself to achieve my goals. I am also volunteering at Daily Work and building valuable work experience while I continue to heal.
As of today, I still have a lot of work to do, but I have stable housing and both my physical and mental health have greatly improved. I am beginning to explore jobs so I can finally return to the workforce. I feel like I have a future again and I owe it all to My Daily Work and it means the world to me.
This is where you can help by supporting Daily Work. The majority of Daily Work’s annual budget comes from people just like you, who make donations. On average, it costs just $1,250 to help one person find a job that produces more than $20,000 in average annual earnings. That’s a pretty good return on investment. While it’s not as tangible, you also get in return the pleasure of knowing that you’re helping people like me get stability, obtain a job, and find a greater purpose in our lives so that we can provide for ourselves and our families and be contributing members of our communities.
In conclusion I want to say thank YOU. I wouldn’t be where I am now without you.
By Lee Olafson, Daily Work Web Media Volunteer