I am beginning this document with this statement as required by GoFundMe:
1. Who you are and where you’re from:
• I am James Thomas Green. I currently reside in Salinas California.
2. Your relationship or contact to the parties you're raising funds for:
• I am the party raising funds to get me through my teaching credential program at CSU Monterey Bay. Additionally, in this time of COVID-19/Coronavirus, I need assistance to get through this period until I can obtain my teaching credential and become employed as a teacher with my own classroom of elementary school children.
3. How the funds will be spent (be specific as possible)
• The funds will be spent on my living expenses, tuition, and associated costs.
4. Your withdrawal plan to get the funds from the campaign to the ultimate beneficiary/ies:
• I am the "Ultimate Beneficiary", and funds are transferred to my bank account.
I hope this makes GoFundMe admins happy.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Now on to the Statement of Purpose of this GoFundMe Fundraiser:
Thank you for all your help in the past.
I am continuing to use this campaign link for my ongoing needs rather than make a new campaign for everything that happens, and leaving my prior campaigns at the end for historical use. The amount contributed is the total amount since I began this page in 2016.
Monday, August 2, 2021
This is my penultimate fundraiser. Penultimate means “next-to-last”.
I will need $1600 for August's living expenses.
I guestimate that my final, ultimate, and (hopefully) last fundraiser will be $800 for September as I won't be working a full month in August.
I now have my teaching credential, and I am almost at the end, but not quite yet. I have been applying for classroom teaching positions, but I have not yet been hired anywhere. I do have a job as what is called a Grade Level Release Teacher or "Super Sub", but it only pays 40% of what a classroom teacher would make and with no benefits. Still, it is my backup position for the fall.
While I am close to financial self-sufficiency, I am not there yet. I have to get through September after which my teaching salary should pay my living expenses (baring an unexpected emergency).
While helping me with my living expenses may not be as sexy as paying my tuition, it is still necessary to keep the bill goblins at bay.
I will be posting on my birthday, September 2, a major update about my life, current status, how I got to this point, and what I hope to go from here. Watch for that diary.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The end is near. After several years of effort, I will begin the FINAL semester of my teaching credential in a few days. After I complete the summer semester, I will obtain my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and employment in the fall. In the meantime, I still need help getting through the summer with funding for my housing, utilities, phone, internet, electricity, gas, and food, and pet food. I am getting close, but I'm not there yet. I invoke the metaphor of someone who has swum ten miles from a shipwreck but drowns ten feet from short. I'm almost there, but I can still not make it.
I am not asking for help from anyone who cannot afford it or is in financial distress themselves.
Thank you for your continued assistance.
THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2020
With the Coronavirus / Covid-19, I am in great need of funds to get through the next few months when I can resume my teaching credential. Anything you can contribute would be greatly appreciated. I have reset the goal on this page to reflect my need to raise $1200 this month. In future months, I will require about $2400 per month through either GoFundMe or some of the other crowdsourcing platforms I use. You have come through for me many times in the past, and I know I'm asking a lot of you now. If you are able, even a little, $10 / $20 / $50 et cetera, would be helpful and appreciated and could be the margin that keeps me living indoors. In times of trouble, there are predators that pop up and I need your help to keep them at bay. Thank you.
SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2019
Herein I shall tell you the tale of my admission to the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) including how I got here (abbreviated), what comes in the coming weeks and summer, next fall and for the next couple of years, and perhaps the next three-five years and beyond.
At the end, I shall be asking for tuition help and a breakdown of why.
(-: • • • • • • • • • • • • • :-)
Backstory: Since my Dad died four years ago, as many of you already know, my life has been in constant turmoil. I had been his caregiver since he had a multi-month coma after a surgical infection following open heart surgery. This was following my own cancer surgery which in turn followed the death of my mother from lung cancer which forced me to drop out of engineering school at Cal Poly University. If I had not had cancer, I might now have experiments flying on the International Space Station and be working with organizations now looking at ways to mine the Moon and Asteroids.
One might think that having twelve college degrees, one BS and eleven associates, would lead to lots of employability, but not so, in part due to being in a region of high unemployment, i.e. Monterey County California, and having not had a steady paycheck job in about 30 years due to being a university student, then cancer patient, then caregiver did not give potential employers any reason to hire me.
During this time I sent out literally hundreds of applications, but most went unanswered. The few interviews I got did not result in any callbacks. Eventually, I took a job working on the graveyard shift of a gas station, which turned out to be the worst job I ever had and the working conditions lead to me getting an infection which resulted in a partial amputation of my right foot.
After several financial crises, many of which you here helped me out of, I stumbled upon the idea of being a substitute teacher. Specifically, a friend, Luis Alejo, told me that he had been a substitute teacher for a while, and suggested I try it.
I went through the process of getting my substitute teaching credential, and this took several months to schedule, take, and get the results of tests.
When I got my substitute credential I applied for several school districts, and I began my first day as an eighth-grade substitute teacher at Chualar School, and from there I got more and more jobs in more and more districts. At this point, I have taught at every grade level from preschool to twelfth grade and I have been in almost every public school in Salinas and Greenfield California.
I am quite popular with students. At this point, I’ve had several thousand students of all ages. When I go out in public to malls, stores, and festivals, I’m often hearing MISTER GREEN as my former students wave and smile and high-five me. I think I’m a success as a sub. My friend Joel said that he doesn’t remember any of the subs he had when he was in school, and yet I’m a bit of a local rock-star.
I decided I was going to get a full teaching credential so I could have my own classroom and the much higher income. I took months to study to take a test called the CSET. After more than a month after taking the three parts, I found out that I had passed and the next step began an application for a teaching credential program. I chose to go to my university alma mater, CSUMB. I put in my application, and I waited, and waited, and waited…
Some of you reading this may have seen me vaguely posting elsewhere about something BAD that happened recently. I shall now tell the story of that BAD thing.
On April 19, I had an interview as part of the admission process. At that interview, I was told that my GPA was too low for admission (!?). I was very surprised to hear this as it was not true as I had already checked my GPA. While if one calculates my GPA solely based upon my time at Cal Poly and CSUMB undergraduate, it was true my GPA was low. This was the era when my mother died of cancer, I had cancer, and Dad nearly died and I became his caregiver. This had a very negative effect on my GPA, and I had told that tale in my application statement. I told the person who was processing my application that she needed to recalculate my GPA based upon my grades at Hartnell College, where I had earned nine associate’s degrees since I had graduated with my B.S. in 2005, with many of those degrees being earned “cum laude”, which means a high GPA. I followed up with a couple of emails reminding her to recalculate my GPA. I had been told I would know the decision of admission in two to three weeks. At the start of four weeks, I started to panic at the silence and I sent an email asking what the status of my application was, and I got back an email telling me that I HAD BEEN REJECTED FOR LOW GPA.
This news set me off in a massive depression. For several hours I was crushed. I had found out during the lunch break during a day of particularly difficult students, and I had to go through the rest of the day with definite and disrespectful students while pondering that the last best chance of me not dying in poverty and homeless may have passed me by.
On top of that, my 7-year-old laptop died that afternoon, leaving me with limited ability to respond right away.
That evening I considered all the incompetent bureaucrats I have dealt with in my educational past, and I wrote a long email to the application processor and sent copies to the department head and the president of the university in which I again pointed out that they either must include my Hartnell GPA in the calculation, or tell me why those units don’t count. I said, among other things, that I intended to take every legal option I had to appeal this decision.
My threat of legal action, combined with the CCs to persons above her on the chain, got her to finally process my Hartnell GPA, which as I expected raised my GPA to far above the lower limit.
I think what happened is that most of my transcripts were sent to CSUMB electronically, but not Hartnell’s. Because my first semester at Hartnell was fall 1977, those records were not entered electronically and as a result, the whole massive Hartnell transcript was sent as a printed hard copy via postal mail. I think that someone didn’t want to go through the work of entering all those units into a computer and simply put them aside not thinking or not caring whether they made any significant difference.
After a few more days, I got the email from CSUMB saying “CONGRATULATIONS”.
When someone gets around to making the mini-series docudrama of my life, that moment of me discovering that I had been admitted must be in there as a key scene. I was in a state of disbelief that finally, I had achieved that goal. In my life, and especially in recent years, I have often cried in grief, fear, frustration, and pain. This was the first time in my life ever that I cried with happiness.
So the next step is I begin classes this summer at CSUMB. Then I need to find a position as an intern teacher. As an intern teacher, I will be the “teacher of record” and I will be paid a salary as I continue my credential education.
The tuition for the summer semester is $3300. To answer a question I know some will have, THERE IS NO FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE FOR SUMMER CLASSES at CSUMB. In addition, I will need about $300 for books and materials, as anyone who has been to college lately knows that school books are expensive. I will be driving back and forth to the CSUMB campus five days a week, which I figure will be about three gallons of gas per day for eight weeks. Gas is currently about $4 a gallon now and is likely to go much higher, so I’m approximating about $500 for gas for the summer.
So I’m asking for $4000 to cover the educational tuition and costs for this summer. I have to do these summer classes in order to be eligible for a paid internship in the fall. If I don’t raise the money for tuition, I will be dropped from the program and I will have to wait until next year to try again.
Anything you can contribute, even $10, would help. There are a lot of you out there who have been supporting me with words, and if you support me with a few dollars that will carry me over the line.
THIS IS THE BIG GOAL
I’VE BEEN WORKING TOWARDS
ALL THESE PAST YEARS.
Financial independence is within sight and one day I will be able to help others as you’ve helped me.
Please don’t think of helping me now as simply charity, think of it as an investment. Many of you have been reading my stories over the past years and see what an effect I’ve had as a substitute. Just imagine the effect I could have over a whole classroom I have daily contact with over a full school year. Think of whether I’ve informed and/or entertained you personally as well.
If all you can do is share this and give goodwill, I thank you for that.
As always, I do not want anyone who can’t afford to contribute to put yourself in financial difficulties to help me.
// • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Saturday, May 4, 2019
I have raised enough to get my cars repaired and updated from this and my other fundraising sites. Thank you. I've thus reset the amount needed above to equal that already raised.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Saturday, March 30, 2019
I am trying to get my nonfunctional 1992 station wagon functional as a backup vehicle and as a load-hauling vehicle, AND get my primary 2006 Ford Taurus new tires and basic maintenance to keep it working so that in the event of a breakdown I still have reliable transportation to work and university.
Total Goal: $1500
Backstory and Justification: This situation is not a current emergency, but it could prevent a later emergency. I require and will require reliable ways to get to and from work and soon, hopefully, to and from my teaching credential classes.
I currently work as a substitute teacher. I work in almost every public school in Salinas and Greenfield California. While there are a few schools within walking distance, most are across town or, in the case of Greenfield, a 90-mile round trip, most require me to have a car. Public transit to many of these schools is not an option from my home, so my employment sites would be greatly limited without functional vehicles.
I recently passed the CSET Multi-subject teacher test, which means I have a very good chance of getting into a teaching credential program at CSU Monterey Bay, with initial classes starting this summer. This will be about a 30 mile daily round trip most of the summer. Public transport is not an option to and from my home to campus and back again.
There is a possibility that I might have to move in the coming months. That’s a long story for another time, but the bottom line is that I may have to move in the next few months, and having a vehicle I can use to move would be important.
Funds raised will be to do the following:
1) Get my 1992 station wagon functional again. Specifically, it needs four new tires and replacement of the non-functional windshield wiper motor.
This vehicle has not run in several years and it needs four new tires, a new windshield wiper motor, replacement of fluids, tune-up, and replacement of belts.
The station wagon last ran about three years ago when my prime vehicle, a 2006 Taurus, had its engine catch fire and required repair. I have since kept a solar-panel plugged into the cigarette lighter to keep the battery charged, and I turn it on and run it for a while every month or so.
I last regularly drove the station wagon about three years ago in the era before my substitute teaching career began. Even then, it was unregistered and had bald tires. My prime vehicle, a 2006 Ford Taurus’s engine had caught fire and required expensive repairs and it was a matter of survival to drive it to get to work. I drove the station wagon, to and from my then-graveyard shift job, hoping as I drove through the cold dark each night and back home in the early morning that I would not have a police officer come up behind me and see the out-of-date plates. This station wagon is a major reason why I'm not homeless now. Now I need to get it running as a backup vehicle in case something were to happen to again the Taurus, i.e. breakdown, accident, theft, etc. The Taurus has broken down several times in the past few years, and I've been rear-ended twice by hit-and-runners, although without damage beyond paint-scrapes on the bumper.
The station wagon will also give me the ability to haul loads i.e. transport either large items or a load of a large number of smaller boxes at once. This hauling need is in large part in case I have to move due to my siblings threatening to try to get me thrown out of our late father’s home. Some of you may have been reading about this in the comments of recent PWB and Village diaries.
2) Get my 2006 Taurus new tires and a working heater/defroster:
The tires on my prime car, a 2006 Taurus, are getting quite worn and while they haven't yet reached illegal wear yet, they are close. Also, the heater has not been functional in several years. While driving on cold nights and mornings is annoying and somewhat painful, I can generally tolerate it by wearing a heavy coat and gloves. However, no heater means also no defroster. This is a safety issue as I have, for several years, had to use a long-handled wiper to squeegee the mist off the inside of the windshield as I drive to my job assignments, and that has been a bit dangerous. Even in the summer, Salinas mornings are frequently quite foggy and misty. I’ve had a few close calls due to fogged up windows.
Breakdown and priority order of repairs are listed below. In other words, if I don't get the full amount, this is the order in which I will spend what I do get.
The basic functionality of Station Wagon:
$300-Tires for Station Wagon
$200-Tune-up & fluids for Station Wagon
$200-Wiper motor for Station Wagon
Safety and continuing operation of Taurus
$300-Tires for Taurus
$500-Heater core for Taurus
Thank you for whatever you can do to help.
Sunday, Feb 2, 2019
I am trying to raise $1200 by February 15.
I have updated the total amount to reflect the latest goal.
This new total is for several reasons.
• WINTER BREAK: I am a substitute teacher, which means I do not get paid during breaks and holidays. I had a prior fundraiser to meet the December portion of Winter Break, and this is to raise funds for the January portion of the Break.
• KIDNEY STONE: I had an unexpected kidney stone. I thought at first the pain was an intestinal thing due to eating too many pecan nuts, so I waited for several days for the blockage to pass, but when the pain did not stop and got exponentially worse, I went to the local hospital, got admitted, and spent several days in the hospital. Afterward, I spent several days at home on painkiller drugs and unable to go to work with young children. I had a stent put in my left ureter, which is the tube between my left kidney and bladder and a LOT of blood came out for several days. I went to the hospital just in time. My doctor told me that if I’d waited another day or so, I might not be here to ask for anything due to a likely internal infection. The stent is still inside me, as is the stone, which has not passed yet. I am going to have to go back to have the stent removed, and perhaps the stone as well if it doesn’t pass soon, which will mean at least one and possibly several days of unemployment as I can’t do this on weekends or evenings.
• CSET TEACHING TEST: As some of you know, and I will expand upon below, I’m going through the application process to apply for a teaching credential program at CSU Monterey Bay. I have paid to take the three sections of the test, thanks to a prior fundraiser to raise the test-fees (fanks ewe), and I’m currently scheduled to take the tests this month. This will involve taking off two days, so I will lose pay, and I will have to drive about 150 miles round trip to Campbell California for the first two tests, and the third test I have to go to Fresno, a 300-mile round trip, and so far away that I will need to get a motel room so I’m not exhausted the day of the test.
• HEATING BILL: As some of you may have noticed, it’s been a cold winter. While California has not been as cold as the rest of the country, it has been cold here. In previous years since my Father died, I’d not used the heat and tried to compensate with blankets, but that was of limited success and every year I developed months-long pneumonia each winter, so this winter I’ve been using the heat, which has resulted in much higher heating bills.
Mister Green as a Wolverine Teddy Bear as drawn by a student
Now that winter break is over and the kidney stone is less of a problem, I’ve been working as a substitute teacher. I am now in my third year of subbing and I am doing well at it. I teach every grade level between preschool and high school, and I’ve been to almost every public school in Salinas and Greenfield California.
In December I added the Salinas Union High School district to my list of districts. While I’m not making any more money as I’ve been working almost every day anyway, it does give me new experiences with new schools and older students. The high school district has provided me with many jobs and I’m booked up with many assignments through the rest of the school year in the HS district. I still do teach in various other elementary districts, but the vast bulk of my registered assignments are in the high and middle schools of SUHSD.
I’ve taught in my alma mater high school, Alisal High School, and I’m scheduled to go to my alma mater Middle School, El Sausal, in March, although I could yet get a sooner assignment.
At this point, I’ve taught hundreds of students in every elementary school in Salinas. When I’ve been to middle schools, I have been greeted with shouts of MISTER GREEN as I walk through the school, and when I have classes I ask “who has had me as a teacher before” and usually about half the class raises their hands, and when I ask “what school", there will be students from multiple elementary schools and the students look at each other realizing they had more in common than they knew.
I am in the process of applying for the Multiple Subject teaching credential from CSU Monterey Bay. As part of that process, I’m going to be taking the three-part CSET teacher exam over two days in February. I’ve been studying for the test, and I hope I pass the test, but I’m nervous as the test is full of random stuff I’ve never seen before. I have until April to retake any sections I fail, but I hope that doesn’t happen.
If I pass, then I’ll start classes in the summer, at which time I’ll need to raise $3300 for tuition, as well as enough to pay my living expenses for the summer, and another $3300 for the fall. Hopefully, I will be getting an “intern” position in the fall and I will be working as a regular teacher at a regular teacher’s pay so Spring 2020 and beyond I should be able to pay most or all of my expenses.
If I don’t pass all the CSET tests before April, or if I can’t raise the $3300 tuition, I’ll have to remain a substitute teacher for another year.
I enjoy being a substitute teacher, and the adventure of going all over the county to a wide variety of classes is great, and if I was making a living wage, I’d keep doing it forever. However, the pay is low, and there is no pay during holidays, and since I work in multiple districts, I don’t earn enough sick leave in any one district to be useful when I’m sick or hospitalized, as with the kidney stone.
I have been considering other options for earning income, such as content creation via Patreon, whether or not I am able to get my teaching credential.
I am not asking for money from anyone who can’ t afford to contribute.
Please feel free to ask any questions.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Sunday, October 22, 2017:
Now my four puppies and mama have been sick, and likely some or all might have died without treatments.
I spent about $600 on vet bills and medicine, which took most of my cash and all of my remaining limited credit for vet visits and treatments. I have cut costs by giving them fluid at home, sticking a needle in their backs, and pumping saline in under their skins.
I have been working as a substitute teacher after a summer of no work, but I haven't yet begun to catch up with months of unpaid bills. If this had happened in August, an outbreak like this might have resulted in a few deaths or even loss of all my puppers.
I would appreciate any help you can give. Message me if you'd rather send by P-Mail.
Below are the prior appeals for assistance for historical context
A summer of no work has caught up. I need about $1400 to get through September to pay living expenses and keep my critters in dog/cat food.
The summer went by with only a few days of substitute teaching assignments as summer work in this area is rare because summer teachers apparently have fewer meetings or training to attend, and it's not the sick time of the year. Added to the far fewer summer classes than regular year classes combined with more subs looking for those fewer jobs, I only got few days of work from June through August.
I have reset the "goal" from today to add $1400 to the total. This means I don't have to make a new page, and the old links here still work. As I have other needs in the future, I'll readjust the figure appropriately.
A BUG IN GOFUNDME APPARENTLY THINKS THIS IS A HURRICANE HARVEY FUNDRAISER. I AM NOT ANYWHERE NEAR HARVEY, AND I DON'T KNOW WHY GOFUNDME THINKS THIS IS A HARVEY FUNDRAISER. DONATE TO A HARVEY PERSON IF YOU WANT, BUT MY NEED IS NOT HURRICANE-RELATED.
Thank you to those of you who helped me through to get financially secure via substitute teaching.
I still need your help!
First I will discuss my employment and financial situation as of June 2017:
I have been working almost every day in the past couple of months as a substitute teacher. I am registered in several local Elementary and High School Districts.
NO INCOME DURING SUMMER BREAK:
Now it's summer, and there are very few assignments available and effectively I won't be getting many, or perhaps any, teaching assignments until late August.
I should be OK for July, but August and September will be tight. What little savings I have put away will effectively disappear before the end of summer, so I ask for your help to cover those months until my fall income can cover my living expenses.
In addition, my dog Delight gave birth to four puppies in May. I midwifed her through difficult birth, as she is little more than a puppy herself. I had not planned to breed her, but a windstorm blew down the fences and before they could be put up, a male dog next door got to her. I'm hoping to get them forever homes, but in the meantime, they need food, bedding, vaccinations, and love.
This assumes no significant unavoidable expenses.
I'm looking into other income sources, such as selling my art, or whether several Kickstarter projects I’m putting together get funded, such as the Salinas Homeless Video Project, and a couple of other projects I’ll be putting online soon.
I have also set up a page with “Teacher Pay Teachers” where I will be posting teaching materials that other teachers can buy and download for their own lessons. I’ll be putting some of my graphic design and art degree knowledge to use.
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
When I set up this campaign, I was a dark place. My money was running out. I had recently had several surgeries. I had been sending out many applications but got very few replies, and the few that lead to interviews then led to nothing.
I was entering a very dark period where I could not see any future for me ahead that was not bleak and likely homeless, at least for a while.
The response to this campaign has changed my life. While I not yet out of the woods financially, and I am in a financially fragile point, I'm on a path that gives me hope that I have a future.
I have been working as a substitute teacher, one-day-at-a-time, for a couple of weeks in October. My first paycheck will come in mid-November, and since I got a late start in the month, combined with months of unpaid bills, I still need help.
I figure that assuming if I work most days I can in November, I should be able to cover December easily. With the winter break and no classes in December and January, I may have the need for future help in January and February to meet expenses, but I hope not.
Once February comes along, I should be able to work almost every day until summer. Hopefully, I will be able to develop enough of savings which combined with some other work, or perhaps summer-school substituting, to carry me through.
If you can contribute to help me continue to live indoors, I would be very grateful.
BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL TEXT OF THIS CAMPAIGN:
I need help to continue to live indoors until I start working and getting paid as a substitute teacher.
I don't think I could do well as a 57-year-old homeless man with a permanent colostomy and six hernias.
I would appreciate anything you can afford to give. Even if I only raise enough to keep the power on, it would help.
First, I will tell you my needs, how I will use the money, how I plan to get back to financial security, and finally, I will talk about how I got into this situation.
My immediate needs include acquiring enough money to pay my rent, phone, utilities, gas, and food for my two cats and one puppy for October and November. I will use the money to pay my rent, phone, the internet, utilities, and any unexpected expenses (such as flat tire, etc).
This comes to approximately $2000 per month. Since GoFundMe takes a share, I've included that into my goal total.
I am on EBT (Food Stamps), so I have food, as long as I keep my meals cheap.
Me and a couple of my critters
My plan for financial recovery is this:
I have just completed the process to be certified to be a substitute teacher and have begun to apply to local school districts. I have been told by local education officials that local school districts are in desperate need of substitute teachers, and the only qualified people who have trouble getting substitute assignments are those who overly picky, as in "I only want to teach the fourth grade on Friday afternoons at the school down the block from me". I'm willing to teach any grade on any schedule.
However, the process of getting my applications processed takes time, and even if I begin working in the next week or two, I won't be paid for October until sometime in mid-November, so I need enough to cover my various expenses mentioned above until then.
If you have any questions, you can contact me HERE.
I want to talk briefly now about how I have been conserving money in the recent past:
I have turned the hot water down to the lowest setting, and have not taken a hot shower in more than a year. I rarely turn on the heat except on the coldest times, such as last January when the temperature inside the house one morning got to the mid-40s. I rarely go anywhere without a significant reason. Like the poster of WW2 used to say, "is this trip really necessary?". All the light bulbs have long ago been replaced with low-energy LED bulbs, and even those are off except the ones near me. I rarely eat out or buy fast food because the money spent on one hamburger can otherwise provide me with enough cheap food for several days depending on how I allocate my food purchases.
How I got to this financial situation is a long story, and I'm going to leave a lot out to keep this from becoming even longer than it already is, but briefly, it goes like this.
In summary, after having cancer surgery with a permanent colostomy, and thinking I was going to die, I prepared for the end of my life, but I did not die Just as I recovered, my father went into a months-long coma he wasn't expected to recover from but did, and I became his caretaker for the next fifteen years until he died recently.
As a result of the colostomy surgery, I have at least six abdominal hernias. I now weight about 380 pounds (down from a max of about 600 pounds fifteen years ago). As a result, I can't safely lift more than about 20 pounds nor stand for long periods of time.
I recently had a piece of my right foot removed due to a serious infection, and I'm only now getting to the point where I can walk and stand for extended periods.
I have been having a lot of difficulty in finding work in spite of me having ten college degrees (1 BS, 9 Associates) due to my long stretch of recovery from my cancer and then years of caregiving to my late father.
Now, I'll go into a bit more detail about my life over the past years, which you can read, or pass on for now.
In 1994, I was diagnosed with colon cancer a few weeks after my mother died of lung cancer. I had surgery to remove the tumor and as a result, I have had a permanent colostomy for the past 22 years.
My initial diagnosis was 90% terminal, but due to new medical tech and chemotherapy, I survived when others with the same diagnosis from a few years earlier died. In the months after my diagnosis and surgery, I met another person with the same diagnosis as I, but from five years earlier, and he was in his final stages of life. He told me then, "people like you are going to live because people like me died", and he died a few months later. This has been one of the major mileposts of my biography.
Still, I did not KNOW I was going to live and had every reason to think I was going to die within a few years. I spent the next few years preparing to die by writing what I could of my autobiography, taking pictures, and spending time with my father. My mother's recent death combined with the real fear of my own potential death caused me to cling to my father for what seemed like the end of my life.
After several years, it became apparent that the new medical technologies had saved my life and I was not going to die. It's now 22 years since that surgery.
I had been a materials engineering student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before I was diagnosed, and was about 3/4 of the way through that program. I was focusing my studies on microgravity materials science, and if I had not gotten cancer, I would by now likely have a Ph.D. and have experiments flying on the space station. Cancer disrupted that path. I ended up changing majors and going to CSU Monterey Bay.
While at CSUMB, my father went into a coma following an infection after open-heart surgery. He wasn't expected to survive, but I refused to let his life support be turned off until it could be proved he was not going to survive. Again to make a long story short, he eventually awoke and although he came back mentally, physically he was never the same, and I became his caregiver for the next 15 years until he died in May 2015.
Dad out for physical therapy walk
Following Dad's funeral, I began job-hunting, but I had limited success. I worked on several short-term jobs, and for awhile I worked on the graveyard shift at a local gas station where I was not allowed to sit down during my shift except on my lunch break. Due to my size, the long times standing likely contributed to my foot getting infected and requiring the partial amputation and is a job to which my surgeon does not recommend I return to or I might lose more of that foot, leg, or my life.
I am very capable and willing to work. I have been having trouble getting a good job due to my long time without a regular pay-check job. Adding up the time I spent in University, recovering from cancer, and then caregiving for my father, I hadn't worked for a regular paycheck job for any long period in about 25 years. While I had an employment history in my young adulthood, including four years in the U. S. Coast Guard, this employment gap is part of why I've not been able to get employed. I have sent out about 200 resumes and applications since Dad died, and I suspect that the employment gap has been something that either has some person reject my resume, or a computer automatically rejects my applications.
I have ten college degrees, one BS, and 9 associate's degrees, so I am very qualified to do many jobs, but many employers seem to consider this a minus rather than a plus.
Add to this that I am a 57-year-old 380-pound man. I have had several interviews where it was obvious from the first meeting that I was not going to get the job based on the look of disgust on the faces of the various interviewers.
I have been going through the testing and certification process to become a substitute teacher, and have recently completed that process. I am now in the process of submitting applications to several local school districts. Being a substitute teacher is perhaps the one field where I'm virtually guaranteed having ten college degrees won't be looked at as some sort of oddly disqualifying factor. I'm hoping to be working in the next couple of weeks somewhere, but even so, I won't get my first check until sometime in mid-November, and it won't be nearly enough to catch up on my behind rent, and my utilities and phone are likely to have been shut off by then. Not to mention not having money to feed the cats and the dog.
If you have read all that, thank you.
I very much appreciate any help you can provide, however little.
James Thomas Green
P.S. This is a comic strip/meme I produce which is apropos to my situation
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