Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Owens


October Volunteer Spotlight

Chris owens

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Despite only being a volunteer for almost three months, Christopher Owens has become an integral part of the Create Common Good community.

Before CCG, Chris worked at Usful Glassworks in Boise, ID for over five years. After the nonprofit hit financial hardships in May of 2017, Usful Glassworks unfortunately had to close. Carlyn Blake, executive director of Usful, was determined to find a suitable replacement for Chris due to the nonprofit closing its doors.

Before looking into CCG, Chris alongside his CBRS worker, Terry Hancock, and Carlyn Blake first looked into Full Circle Exchange and NeighborWorks. Despite being excited for both of these opportunities, Chris decided to go with CCG.

I had a chance to speak with Chris a few weeks ago to talk about his experience at CCG, his story coming to Boise, and his interests/hobbies.

Here is what he had to say:

Why did you choose Create Common Good over the other nonprofits?

“I finally chose CCG because it felt most like a home environment to me. Everyone was cordial, and friendly, and the atmosphere had a homey feeling to it. It felt like a close knit family to me.”

And I soon became to realize that feeling at home and in a community setting is very important to Chris.

Chris was born in 1968 in Wisconsin. At nine months old, he was adopted and shortly moved to Europe where he spent most of his childhood. While he was in Spain he learned Spanish and grew a love for culture and soccer. He eventually moved back to the United States and lived in New York, Pennsylvania, and Pocatello, Idaho, before eventually settling in Boise. He has been here for eight years, and says it is different from all of the places he has traveled to.

What do you like about Boise?

“There is so much community here. There’s Boise Art in the Park, Hyde Park, First Thursday, the Greenbelt. Everywhere feels welcome.”

Besides CCG, Chris has been part of other community organizations such as being a jujitsu sensei through Community Education and helping out with teaching soccer.

Getting to know Chris personally was fascinating as his experience in so many aspects of life was outstanding. He confidently portrays himself as an avid teacher and learner in the communities he has been in. Whatever situation he is in, Chris has shown an enthusiasm to learn and to communicate that knowledge to help those in need.
Considering his involvement in programs such as Community Education I was interested in finding out what drives him or inspires him.

Chris teaching trainees how use the kitchen sinks

Chris teaching trainees how use the kitchen sinks

What drives you to be involved in teaching and learning in the community?

“I have always been so interested in learning, and I am learning so much here [at CCG]. I didn’t know how much stuff goes into kitchen work. Cutting boards, color coordination, cross contamination. Every single little thing is interesting. And I love to work with people. Even this interview is fun because it is working with you. It is neat, everything is different, everyone has their own thing to offer. Especially watching them grow and mature. Here [at CCG] you see people start out as nothing kitchen wise, and go through the first class and second class, and end up graduating. That’s pretty cool."

I was amazed at how positive Chris’ outlook on life was, and working with him was/is certainly memorable. One line that struck out to me after I was finished with my interview, and we were just talking was when he told me about his martial arts career. He explained to me that the “ju” in ju jitsu means “the way” and that dojo means “the place to practice the way.” In life, he said, he believes that “the world is your dojo, and I am practicing the way of giving back.”

We are proud to have Chris in the CCG community, and we hope for the best for him in years to come!

Thank you Chris for all of your help at Create Common Good!

written by N Reyes