Sept. 6, 2011 -- There is no question that America is facing some serious challenges. Fourteen million people don't have jobs, and only one in four people believe this country is headed in the right direction.
The question is how to create more and better jobs, bring production home and rekindle the spirit that the U.S. is on top? Bottom line, how do we bring America back?
ABC News has launched a new series called "Bringing America Back," which focuses on how everyday people can help themselves and their communities. The series examines the growing challenges that face Americans today, and sheds light on how a cross-section of citizens -- from doctors to small business owners to first-time entrepreneurs -- can make a difference despite tough economic odds.
One of those everyday Americans who took a chance on something new was Bob Rosenberg of Merrick, N.Y., owner of Moolala Frozen Yogurt Shop.
Until a couple of years ago, Rosenberg was a sales executive with more than 20 years' experience, making good money. Then came the recession, and the father of two was suddenly out of work.
"The president of my company came to me and said we need to let you go, and we're sorry," he said.
Rosenberg realized that hundreds of thousands of people were in the same boat as he was. At 50 years old, he found it hard to find work. After searching for months for a similar job in sales, he saw his options running out, and he started to apply for jobs in fast-food chains.
"I spent the better part of six months looking for employment in my profession," he said. "I wasn't proud. I needed the work, and a lot of people are very suspicious of people my age walking into a fast-food environment and asking for a job, but it shows you the necessity that's out there, the need that's out there."
While he was relying on unemployment insurance, his wife's paycheck and help from family members, he knew the bills were piling up.
"Your expenses don't go away, and you realize what your expenses really are when you're in that situation," he said. "You cut back as much as you can. You go into safety mode."
But Rosenberg decided he wasn't going to become a victim.
"If we wanted our life to be better, to continue going forward, we had to take control of the situation and do something for ourselves," he said.
That's when he got the idea to start his own business.
"It was scary. It was very scary," he said. "I always hesitated doing that throughout my life because I would imagine that I was comfortable with the safety of being employed in a big company."
The Rosenbergs found inspiration while visiting their daughter in Los Angeles.
"In California they have this self-serve yogurt concept," he said. "We had never seen it on the East Coast, and we felt that there was a niche, there was a void in the marketplace.
"We had no choice, there was nothing else available," he explained.
They tapped their savings, and every relationship they had and found a government program that paired Rosenberg with a lender and a guarantee for $150,000. So was born his store with the funny name.
"It was very scary," said Rosenberg. "We wrote business plans upon business plans. We spoke to lenders. We spoke to as many people as we possibly could to learn about this particular business."
Small businesses provide half of the jobs in our economy, so small-business development is a priority for the government, which guarantees loans totaling almost $18 billion to people like the Rosenbergs.
This family got lucky. Rosenberg put his sales skills to work marketing to the community, and business is great as Moolala marks its first anniversary.
"It has been phenomenal," he said. "We've far exceeded our plans. ... We'd like to expand and open more locations."
He says he is doing well enough to employ 15 people, sponsor a local Little League team, and will make even more money this year than he used to in sales. Others are coming in and out of work, looking to do the same.
"You've got to take chances, that's all I can say," said Rosenberg. "It may not work for everybody, but don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, because for us, it has worked."