This week’s TEAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT is on Sunny. Her kind heart, vibrant personality, and attention to detail fuel Purpose Printery.
What is your position with Doing Good Works?
Technically my position is Purpose Printery Lead — we use an in-house printer to create name badges, plates, t-shirts, hoodies, and water bottles. I print and ship nearly everything that comes through this side of the business, which are primarily smaller orders.
How did you come to work at Doing Good Works?
It’s an interesting story. I lived in the Thrive quad with OC United that houses about eleven women. Sometimes they post job opportunities and I saw a message that Doing Good Works needed help filling backpacks for a college event for $15 an hour. I was low on money and decided to go. I tend to be a little nervous by nature and was going through a period in my life where that was a predominant personality trait. So I was filling backpacks at the speed of light and breaking a sweat! Scott was visibly impressed and said “whoa, what’s going on with you?” and I said, “Oh, it’s just adrenaline!” He liked my sense of humor. I had recently quit a retail job that wasn’t very fulfilling. After the event, I walked up to Scott and said “I am really interested in your company and I need a job. How can we make that happen?” We emailed through the summer and fall to stay in touch about potential opportunities. Then my caseworker told me about a Doing Good Works training with a printing machine for people at OC United. So I emailed him again asking if I could attend. Jolene (another Purpose Printery employee) and I attended and from that day on I was pretty much on board.
Doing Good Works is founded on the mission that every young person aging out of foster care deserves an equal chance to succeed and access to the networks and tools that can empower them. What does this mission mean to you?
I feel like there is this horrible stigma with former foster youth. I am in a scholarship program specific to foster youth and kids in other scholarship programs, it’s like they can smell it on you. They have a set image of someone who is delinquent, has problems and is unable to keep a job. I’ve experienced that stigma a lot in my life both in jobs and in school. Even my teachers would react in shock when reading my permission slips; once they saw “foster mom” they assumed that something was wrong or that I needed help. And even if I asked them for help, they probably would not be able to provide it. It’s kind of like “oh you poor thing — let me try to help” — but ultimately, I can’t do a lot for you. With Doing Good Works there’s an understanding and acknowledgment that you’ve been through something, but you aren’t treated like you are different. You are perceived as a normal person, and they want you to improve and not stay stuck in a dead-end job that doesn’t fulfill you or allow you to move up the ranks. If I went to McDonald’s and told them I want to be a manager, they might laugh.
But at Doing Good Works they realize that our dreams and desires hold value and that we are more than just a statistic.
People have certain preconceived notions — if I say that I am a dependent of the court then they expect me to have all these problems and an atypical life. I don’t really have any more problems; I was just taught inappropriate coping skills and have to spend extra time to process them correctly. There is an expectation of failure and if I do slip up people won’t be surprised. Different is scary. People have their own perceptions of what is normal. If you come in and say well, I didn’t live a normal life but I’m still a normal person — I think that’s automatically surprising to people.
What did you study in college?
Currently, I am a psychology major, but I am switching to Human Services because, with psychology, you cannot escape math and statistics which are not my favorites. Human Services is very similar, but you get more of the practical application of how to help. I feel that is what’s best for me. If I see a problem, I think of all the different ways that I can solve it. That comes down to people too.
What are your career goals, now or for the future?
Essentially stay with Doing Good Works for the time being. Down the road I picture myself managing all the printeries, traveling to sites and making sure that everyone is working efficiently. Long term I would like to go into social work, privately with schools and ideally with institutions.
Can you share one example of how mentorship has made an impact on your life?
I think Amy, the director and founder of OC United, has had the biggest influence on me. I have a heart for the kind of mentor who just wants to help and be there for someone versus someone who feels that they have all this advice to give. Amy just wants to help as many people as she can. When I think of mentorship, I think of someone who just wants to help. And whether it was coming with me to the mechanic or dealing with my emotions and seasons in my life she was always there. She just really wanted to be there through it all — the crises and the happy times. It made my will to live greater on a day to day basis — which may sound a little funny but is true. My mood can get all over the place sometimes. Amy could come in and help me see that there’s a greater purpose and that even if I don’t see it, it’s there. It restores my faith in humankind.
How do you look to make an impact either through your work or in your life?
I just want to be there for people. If somebody calls me and needs me, I am going to be there for them. I am a firm believer that if I am helping one person, that person will be able to help other people. Which is why I want to go into social work. I want to be that consistent person and help lift the weight off somebody’s shoulders. Providing possible solutions or support them through what they are going through. With my job now, knowing that I am a part of something bigger than myself makes a difference. Not only am I sealing the deal on a business transaction but doing the transaction for someone who believes enough in the company mission to give us the order in the first place. It’s good to know that sometimes.
What are your hobbies and outside interests — what do you like to do when you are not working or not in school?
Art is a big passion for me. I did ceramics for two years in high school and doing that class and activity really helped me, especially with my teacher encouraging my artistic capabilities. These days I do spend a lot of time painting. I am quite the watercolorist!
Are there any recent accomplishments you are proud of that you can share — (anything from learning how to boil an egg to purchasing your first car!)
I purchased my third car — at 20 years old — both of my prior cars were hand-me-downs and didn’t last long. So, in October 2019 I purchased my first vehicle all by myself! I chose which make, model and color and it was really rewarding. It’s a 2010 blue Honda Civic.
What is your favorite book, tv show or movie and why?
I Love Lucy is one of my all-time favorite tv shows. Lucy messes up a lot, but she deals with it in a really nice way. She can laugh at herself and at the end of the day she gets stuff done. And Ricky is there and even when he scolds her, it’s tender. “No Lucy, you’re not going to buy the vacuum!” but then she does, and she’ll probably end up returning it. I’m quite emotional and impulsive just like she is.
What is something unusual, surprising or funny that people may not know about you?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I am double jointed — I can stretch in weird ways! Once I was in the office and Scott looked at me and said, “what the heck are you doing?” I can kind of jump rope using my arms! It comes in handy because I can scratch my own itches on my back.
What does Doing Good Works mean to you?
I just feel like the main mission of the business incorporates a lot of what is meaningful to me. Even in a time like this — small businesses are falling apart, people are freaking out — and they say, “Well, we’re just going to keep going because there are still good things to do even when things seem bad.” Even in the worst of situations, people still have the capacity to do good for other people.