You Are A Bright Light of Hope

You Are A Bright Light of Hope

Pat Youngquist | Interim Executive Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COLUMN

YOU ARE A BRIGHT LIGHT HOPE

Each year, hundreds of men, women, and children come to Union Mission looking for a beacon to light their way to a new life. Here they find safe beds, hot food, and the help they need to rebuild their lives. Many of them tell us that we are the first place that truly gave them a hand up out of homelessness and into a better tomorrow.

I’m so humbled when I hear these men and women express their gratitude for the helping hand they received at Union Mission. Their thanks, and ours, belong to you. Your continued support for Union Mission makes it possible for us to keep that light of hope burning for those working to leave homelessness behind.

Your gift to Union Mission builds a brighter future for so many, right here in our community. In the first six months of this year, 120 people have left homelessness behind for safe, stable housing, thanks to the help they found at Union Mission. Those are 120 lives, touched by your generosity. The support of donors, volunteers, and community partners makes change possible here at Union Mission and we are grateful for your investment in the work of ending homelessness in our community.

Thank you for being a bright light of hope and allowing Union Mission to serve those working to end their homelessness for good.

Rising Above: Latesha’s Story of Success

Rising Above: Latesha’s Story of Success

STORIES OF CHANGE
Latesha and son
Article & Photographs by Maggie Lynn

Losing a family member is difficult even when everything else is going right. For someone trying to break the cycle of helplessness, it can be the event that knocks you down. But after losing her mother to a prolonged illness, Latesha knew she needed to rise above the challenges in her life and make a change for good.

Leaving Florida behind, she came to Savannah looking to rebuild her life and create a future of hope for her four sons. She looked online to find somewhere that would give her the tools she needed to create that brighter future – her search led her to Union Mission’s Magdalene House, an emergency shelter for women with children.

“It was hard for everybody at first because nobody wants to leave home or expects to come and stay at a shelter. I work and I save as much as I can save because I have to help myself and my kids.”

Within two weeks, Latesha found a job and by the end of her 90 days at Magdalene House, she had saved enough money to move her family into their own apartment. Now, she says, they have a fresh start and a chance at a new life.
“Union Mission helped me out and it helps a lot of families out. They do as much as they can,” she explained. “Even in my situation, in my future, I’m going to support them and help families because they helped my family.”

The support you shared with Union Mission made it possible for Latesha to find help and safety for herself and her children when they had nowhere else to turn. Thank you for making change possible in our community!

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Together, We Can Change Lives

David Paddison | Board Chair

CHAIRMAN’S COLUMN

THANK YOU FOR CHANGING LIVES IN OUR COMMUNITY

With news that homelessness is on the rise in our community, it can be hard to see how the support of one person can make a difference. The problem seems vast and it’s difficult to see how the resources of one person can truly make a difference. But when we all work together, our whole community is changed.

Every day at Union Mission, the lives of the homeless and hurting are transformed, thanks to your generous support. For 80 years, Union Mission has provided a hand up out of homelessness because individuals and businesses across Savannah have committed to sharing hope with those struggling to leave homelessness behind. Your help makes change possible for people just like Shane, by helping to provide the programs and supportive services that transform a life of dependence into one of dignity.

To continue to shine the light of hope, Union Mission must raise over $700,000 in donations each year to secure the match needed for nearly $2 million in grants and contract funding provided by private foundations, state, local, and federal agencies. Your donations enable Union Mission to provide emergency shelter, food, mental health care, and workforce development training to help clients permanent end their homelessness.

Thank you again for being a source of hope to those still struggling here in our community. Your investment in Union Mission means a future of change for those we serve and a brighter future for our whole community. Through collaboration with community partners and with the support of donors like you, Union Mission continues to be a place where lives can be rebuilt.

 

From Substance Abuse to a Substantial Future: Shane’s Story of Success

From Substance Abuse to a Substantial Future: Shane’s Story of Success

STORIES OF CHANGE

Shane

Photograph by Maggie Lynn, Article by Andrea Six

CHALLENGES ARE A PART OF LIFE but when they hit you all at once, would you be able to stand strong? Without support or family to lean on, it can be easy to fall down when times get tough. This is where Shane found himself after moving to Georgia.

A car accident at the age of 20 left him with no job and the medication they gave him to cope with the pain turned into an addiction that dragged him into homelessness. Shane came to Savannah for substance abuse rehabilitation, and after intense treatment, was clean, sober, and ready to rebuild his life.

With a clean bill of health, Shane left Savannah for a job in West Virginia. After losing one brother to cancer and another brother to a car accident within the span of a few days, Shane relapsed and found himself back on the street again.

He returned to Savannah and the program that helped him gain his sobriety the first time. After completing rehabilitation, he wanted to continue radically changing his life and came to Union Mission for culinary arts training.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking,” he explained. “Over the past 15 years, most of my work experience has come from working in restaurants. I like the environment and I like to cook.”

His supervisor at Salvation Army told him all about the free eight-week Culinary Arts program at Union Mission and how he could not only get training from professional chefs, but also have a chance to obtain his Serv-Safe Certification. This, and a little inspiration from a friend, led Shane to apply to the program.

“I like to serve people. I haven’t always been that way, but I do have a passion for this type of work.”

Shane is striving to be a better father to his son and show his nieces and nephews that it is possible to turn your life around. He continues to work towards his goal of managing and, hopefully, owning a restaurant of his own.

“I want to own a restaurant or if I never own it – if God doesn’t have that in mind for me – I want to manage one,” he said. “I’ve worked all around the kitchen from the dishes to a fry cook to grill cook to broil, you name it, I’ve worked it. And I’m learning more here as far as the Serv-Safe test that I’ve taken.”

 

“Programs like this are not everywhere. People just don’t give you an opportunity like this – to better yourself, to make your future look brighter.”

Thanks to the generous donors, community partners, and volunteers who support Union Mission, the helping hand that Shane received is still available for those looking to transform their lives and leave homelessness behind. Thank you for sharing hope and help in our community!

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Thank You for Making a Second Chance Possible

Pat Youngquist | Interim Executive Director

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COLUMN

THANK YOU FOR MAKING A SECOND CHANCE POSSIBLE

Thank you to everyone who helped make Raising Hope such a successful event in April. Your generosity provided of $100,000 of support to Union Mission.

When we talk about Raising Hope, we are talking about something that is at the core of what we do. We provide hope for those who are feeling hopeless. Homelessness and hopeless can be synonymous. Hope is something that can be hard to find on the streets. Mental illness, domestic abuse, family tragedy, job loss, and the struggles of addiction can sap hope from even the strongest hearts.

Your investment in Union Mission means we can provide hope in tangible ways. In 2016, your gifts helped to provide 28,103 nights of shelter to 474 men, women, and children. It helped provide 84,309 meals. And it helped 326 people find jobs – 94% of those jobs were above minimum wage.

By providing these services to people in need, we are providing hope and a message that our community cares. Your support of Union Mission translates into job placement, workforce development training through our Culinary Arts Program, and community-based mental health care for those with nowhere else to turn. Your help is work to address the underlying causes of homelessness in our community.

Thank you for sharing help and hope with those most in need through your support of Union Mission.