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Troy Owens: A bright future for himself & his son

Wed, Sep 7, 2011

Troy Owens

“I have three siblings… a younger brother, a younger sister, and an older brother. [They all] graduated from college and everybody had the same opportunitites. Only, Troy didn’t use his the right way… I didn’t take my education seriously,” said Troy, explaining how he fell off the straight path. “By being out late, hanging out with [rough] crowds, I ended up with some pirates and, even with the good educational background, I ended up in the prison system,” Troy said. After serving his time, Troy made a decision to turn his life back around. “I picked up a trade. I’m a brick layer, cement finisher, welder, and assembler. I also like cleaning. I’ve been to school for custodial maintenance and I apply for jobs all day long here [at StreetWise] until I go to my location to sell papers,” Troy explained. D uring his career, he has worked jobs with several Chicago companies, most recently with North Side Housing. He also helped lay stone on the 900 North Michigan Avenue building.

Finding work has been Troy’s greatest struggle, namely because of the prison record that still seems to haunt him, despite his sincere efforts to leave it in the past. But Troy is not the type of person to stand around and wait for things to happen. “I’m going to keep adding to my skills, because at this point, you can never have enough skills. I’m going over to apply for the culinary program at the Center on Halsted. I’ll have a sanitation license and be able to work in the food industry, as well,” Troy said.

Troy is currently living with his younger brother while he continues to build a strong foundation for his future. Troy’s short-term goal is to gain full-time employment with a pay stub while also furthering his education. But he also has a big dream that he hopes to achieve. “Eventually, I want a cleaning and maintenance business. In 10 or so years, I see myself owning my own company, because I want to leave my little guy, [my son] Julian, a legacy,” Troy said. Troy also has two adult daughters, Yakena Cheron and Sherita.

And while Julian is still very young and eager to learn from his father, Troy hopes to impress good values upon him so that his future is as bright as possible. “I want him to remember to put God first, because you have to have a spiritual foundation. He’s got to have faith, because that faith will give him the strength to do what he needs to do. The second thing is to take care of his family and the third would be that his education is very, very important.”

“Also, I’m teaching all of my kids, ‘Don’t get in trouble, or you’ll be in bad shape.’ There ain’t no right way to do wrong. No matter how you put it,” Troy said. And, of course, Troy wants to thank StreetWise for helping him help himself. “I’m real grateful to have StreetWise, because they offer a lot of services here that the average person doesn’t even have available to them in the public. StreetWise is a fantastic organization, they’re moving forward and they’re a real blessing,” Troy said.

Written by Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Staff

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