2/24/13 — Dan’s Journey
Dan Zameirowski, has been on a journey that has taken him from being a confident, hardworking man living comfortably to losing everything from his home to his self-worth.
“When the economy turned and everything dried up, I lost my job downstate, my home and independence,” Dan somberly explained. “I also lost my dignity, self-worth and began asking myself, ‘where do I belong’.”
Losing everything does not happen overnight. In the end it causes shame and you beat yourself up and ask, ‘what did I do so wrong’? I had to dissect everything and accept that I had reached the end and everything was empty.”
After exhausting all options, he moved north to be with family. His welcome with family was temporary and he soon found it was time to move on. Homeless and still reeling from losing everything, his depression came to a head and he reached his breaking point. After seeking help from Community Mental Health, they referred him to the Goodwill Inn.
“I was scared to go to the Inn,” explained Dan. “It was absolutely terrifying, I did not know what to expect. I never thought I would have to turn to a shelter. You never see yourself in this position”. Things began to change for Dan soon after he arrived at the Inn. For the first time in a long time he felt able to breathe.
“Within 48 hours, I got to know people that were in the same situation that I was in. I found kindred spirits. Some had it worse than I did and they were smiling. He hesitated and then added, “It rubs off on you. “ Dan began to see the resources that were available and started to feel a sense of calm and relief. He began to feel like maybe he had already been through the bad and things were going to start to turn around.
“The Inn gave me a warm place to sleep, three meals a day, and expected me to get involved in the community and look for work, all the while providing classes that provided a better insight into myself and the skills I needed to succeed. The staff has a lot of courage and stamina. They deal with all types of people and do it very professionally. I look back and they do outstanding work. They work with you on a personal level. The Inn has some pretty high expectations; I was able to take what was offered and put it all together and begin to move forward.
The Goodwill Inn was a port in the storm. I don’t even want to begin to think about where I would be had the Inn not been there.”
Through hard work, a positive attitude and persistence Dan moved into his own apartment at the Grand Traverse Commons Lofts. When he was shown the apartment he thought -they have the wrong guy. He could not believe that such a gorgeous apartment could be his home.
Dan explains that life really changed after getting his apartment. “Things seemed to roll. Everything seemed to improve. With the help of Michigan Rehabilitation Services at the Inn, I also found a rewarding job I value at Paperworks Studio.”
There were so many community partners that helped me on my journey including; Goodwill, Community Mental Health, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and others. They were all there for encouragement through the hard spells. It was a culmination and team approach that started to bring everything together and I was right in the middle! In just over a year my life has totally turned around.”
Dan’s journey has come full circle from losing everything to regaining his self-worth, employment and independence. Reflecting back Dan shared a final thought, “If every person that has been helped by Goodwill would whisper a thank you the sound would be deafening.”