Marla - Success Story
Success Story: Hard Work and Sweat Equals Success
When Marla came to Heartwood ReSources, a subsidiary of NeighborWorks Umpqua, she was a single mom struggling to raise two daughters plus two sons who arrived on the weekends. The assistance checks barely covered the rent and groceries for the family. And Marla's long arrest record kept many jobs out of her reach.
"I just wasn't able to get anywhere," she says. "Being a single parent, having the kids, and what I have done to myself, it's just not easy out there."
The only work Marla could find were either temporary jobs that never lasted too long or part-time work that never offered enough hours to support a family. "I would put my best foot forward, and I would try, and I didn't seem to go anywhere," she says. "I would get discouraged and throw in the towel. I'm not saying that it's right, but that's what happened."
Marla went through a job-training program and applied for work at Heartwood ReSources.
She was hired. In her short time at Heartwood, Marla has completely immersed herself in the world of recycled building materials. And she has done a little bit of everything at Heartwood: Working the cash register, helping the clean-up crew, de-nailing wood in the back lumber yard and spending the day helping Heartwood's deconstruction crew dismantle a house.
Marla says she likes all aspects of the job, but she most enjoys being able to put in a solid days work. "I just feel better at the end of the day if I've exhausted myself,' she says. "I tell everybody 'I am a hard worker, really I am if you give me a chance'. I know on paper it doesn't look good, but I am a hard worker, and I take pride in that."
She said her biggest success at work is making the look and feel of Heartwood's retail store more compatible for the customers. By arranging much of Heartwood's smaller stock, like tiles and light fixtures, customers now have an easier time finding what they're looking for. And, they say, the prices are easier to see. "I gave the place a little bit of a woman's touch," she says with a smile.
Her long-range plans include learning to drive the forklift, and memorizing the prices of all the different woods Heartwood sells. "I'm learning a lot more everyday," she says. "But we're still working on the lumber (prices)."
Whatever progress she makes at the store, her biggest success is at home with her family. "Today I am taking responsibility for me and my family, and I am not on welfare,' she says. "My kids feel real good, they're like 'wow, we have more than rent covered'. They're real excited. Everything is looking real well."