“WorkSquare believes in me. Everywhere they give me a job, I shine for them.” -Zachary
It’s the first of the month, the day of the month when most of us begrudgingly pull out our checkbooks to pay our rent or mortgage. To many of us, bills are a burden, representing less and less money in our wallets. But not to Zachary. Zachary takes great joy, great pride in paying his rent. To Zachary, paying rent represents his freedom. He finds the choice to pay his rent a privilege because it gives him vision for his future.
“Today was the first time I paid rent in twenty years. For me, it let me know, I’m stable. Maybe in the next five years I can become a homeowner. Right now, I’m really proud of myself. I can lay my head in my own bed, in my own home. It took me three weeks to save money for rent. WorkSquare helped me do it,” said Zachary.
WorkSquare, a staffing agency and B Lab Certified Company in Miami, Florida has provided Zachary with career opportunities and a second chance. And, he knows it would have been almost impossible to start over without them.
On Labor Day of 2013, Zachary was released from Florida’s prison system. For twenty years, he served a sentence for drug and burglary related charges. His life as a drug dealer began with the intention to provide financial support to his family.
“I was selling heroin at 12 years old. I used to always get a whooping from my mom. I wanted to be an adult. I saw my mom’s struggles and I wanted to help out. But, my mom never took the money,” Zachary explained.
Over the course of his twenty year sentence, Zachary worked a variety of jobs in prison. From food service to landscaping, maintenance, and housekeeping, he was determined to work hard and learn new skills. When he was released from prison in September of 2013, Zachary moved to Miami to start a new life. Two months later, he found one of WorkSquare’s business cards on the sidewalk.
“I showed a friend of mine the card and he knew where they were. When I went in for an interview, they saw me as a person and decided to take a risk on me,” smiled Zachary. Zachary’s first job through WorkSquare was helping with event set-up through Koncept Events. He loved the input he was able to offer and Koncept Events hired him again. Zachary proved he could work hard and learn new skills. Just a few weeks ago, he was hired part-time by a Japanese steakhouse in Miami and he couldn’t be more grateful for WorkSquare’s help in opening that door.
“WorkSquare believes in me despite my checkered past. They took a risk by sending me on jobs. WorkSquare, their trust in me, means a great deal to me. I’m not going to let myself down and I’m not going to let this company down. They put their faith in me to allow me to try to be a productive citizen through gainful employment,” Zachary shared. “They also gave me the knowledge I need through the Money Smart classes to be a productive citizen. It’s not just about having a job. It’s about being able to manage the money you have coming in.”
Zachary’s dream is to save enough money to open a property preservation company. He loves landscaping and sees it as a useful way to participate in society. As he explained, “I was a liability once upon a time in my life and now I need to try to be an asset.”
Julie Fahnestock is writing on behalf of Social Enterprise Associates, a registered B Corp, provides management consulting and capital raising with focus on the triple bottom line. Business planning, market research, investment support and other services have enabled clients to raise more than $100 million.
Julie is passionate about telling the story of where business meets good. She is the Founder of B Storytelling, a content development company specifically designed to help popularize the good happening through business. They do this by helping Benefit Corporations identify, build and leverage their brands. Julie has an MBA in Managing for Sustainability from Marlboro Graduate School. She lives in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband, Thomas.