Four years ago, Carmen DeCoursey was struggling as a single mom.
Between being a full-time Dispatcher for a local trucking company and her son, William, playing football and baseball, Carmen’s days were long with no days off.
Living paycheck-to-paycheck, any extra money Carmen earned went directly to William’s sports activities.
“There were times where I would have just enough money for rent and bills, but not enough money for food,” recalls Carmen. “So, we’d go to my mom’s house for dinner and take leftovers home with us for the next day.”
She wasn’t sure how to get out of the vicious cycle. Then, she found Origami Owl®.
It was the spring of 2014 when Carmen attended an Origami Owl Jewelry Bar® where she had the chance to see the customizable, meaningful jewelry in person. She instantly fell in love with Origami Owl’s Charms.
“I had never worn any jewelry prior to Origami Owl,” shares Carmen. “Initially, I joined (as a Designer) for the discount. But, after a year of just enjoying the discount and receiving many compliments from people, I decided to start my own business.”
Carmen hosted her first Jewelry Bar in May 2015 and had three New Designers join her team that month.
She didn’t exactly know what she was doing, but she went with it and hoped for the best.
The Owlette Program®
As Carmen worked her business more every day, William began noticing and taking an interest. As she designed Lockets for Customers at their dinner table, he said he wanted to try his hand at it, too.
“That’s where his love for Origami Owl began,” shares Carmen.
Carmen learned about the company’s Owlette Program, which gives kids ages 11 to 17 the chance to have an Origami Owl business alongside a parent or other adult, and decided to mention it to William. But, she never expected him to actually be interested.
He proved her wrong when, at age 12 (the minimum age at the time), he told her he couldn’t wait to begin his Owlette journey.
“The Owlette Program, for us, is a program where you can be yourself, learn to grow as a person, overcome obstacles and be inspired” shares Carmen. “We love reading all the other Owlette stories and watching them grow and motivate each other on the Owlette Facebook page.”
Not only has the Owlette Program helped William come out of his shell, but it’s also helped him face his fears and gain confidence.
“This business has molded William into a hard-working, motivated teen who can now step out of his comfort zone and face his fears of talking to complete strangers,” says Carmen. “William has gained entrepreneurial skills and is comfortable in his own skin.”
A Forever Bond and Lifelong Friendships
Once Carmen and William started working together, their bond began to grow.
“William started opening up to me about school, other kids and really just being a teenager,” recalls Carmen.
Carmen and William have now forged a bond that’s so close, they can just look at each other and laugh because they’re thinking the exact same thing. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what Origami Owl has done for them, however.
From making new lifelong friendships with other Designers and the Origami Owl Co-Founders who make them feel like family, the pair has achieved more than they ever thought possible.
“Because of Origami Owl, we have created so many memories together,” shares Carmen. “We went on our first vacation ever in 2016 when we went to the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Week, which included the MLB All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, Fan Fest, and Prospects and Celebrity game. We also went to Orlando for (the Origami Owl) Convention that year and were able to stay there for a week afterward to go to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort® and Universal Orlando Resort™!”
Carmen and William have also been able to go on vacation twice a year, buy a new car and give back to their local community thanks to their Origami Owl commissions.
Giving Back to the Community
After struggling to make ends meet for so long while keeping William in sports, the mother-son duo says giving back to others is very important to them.
Carmen remembers all the birthdays and Christmases they celebrated without gifts and the promises she made to give William presents in the future when extra money was available.
“To have to tell your child that you can’t provide for them is so hard,” shares Carmen. “We have been there and back, so that’s why we fundraise for local sports teams, so the parents don’t have to pay so much out of pocket and every kid gets to play.”
Carmen and William also help with Thanksgiving meals for families in need and sponsor kids for the local Angel Tree program at Christmastime to remember their humble beginnings.
Receiving the 2018 Most Inspiring Owlette Team Award
That generosity in their local community did not go unnoticed by their fellow Designers.
Origami Owl recognized Carmen and William with the “Most Inspiring Owlette Team Award” at the company’s annual O2 Experience convention in July 2018.
“We were both in complete shock,” recalls Carmen. “As we heard the story, we both looked at each other and said, ‘That’s us!’ William shed a tear – yes just one – and I couldn’t even get out of my seat. I struggled to walk at first, so William had to hold on to me.”
She adds, “We felt honored to be nominated. William honestly slept with the award that night and has worn his Locket that was gifted to him ever since; he wears it with so much pride. To be nominated by a peer is the best feeling in the world. I have mentioned before that these Designers treat us like family, and I feel beyond blessed to have William grow up with so many encouraging people.”