Building a Brighter Future: Greg’s Story

Greg

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Building a Brighter Future: Greg’s Story

Working your way out of homelessness is not an easy task, and nearly impossible alone – especially when you’re also dealing with problems with the law and drug addiction. Too often, these challenges lead to a cycle of homelessness that can be hard to overcome. Thanks to your support, Greg was able to find a helping hand to break the cycle of homelessness and rebuild his life.

Greg was someone who found himself stuck in this loop of hopelessness, ending up in prison time after time with nowhere to go when he was released. Living in small town far from help, Greg couldn’t find the resources he needed to break this vicious cycle. Over 30 years of homelessness and addiction, Greg cycled from marijuana to cocaine and crack. Despite a strong aptitude for cooking, he was unable to find and keep a job without access to a strong support system.

“I thought once I quit doing drugs everything would be ok. But the drugs weren’t the root of the problem. The root of the problem was I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t care about who I was, and didn’t know who I was supposed to be,” Greg explained.

“I thought all missions were a place to eat and sleep, but no; the two I’ve dealt with, there’s so much more inside the mission,” Greg said. “If you get into the programs, they offer a way out, show a way out and then they walk you through.”

In the Culinary Arts Training Program, Greg developed his cooking skills and obtained a ServSafe Certification. This certification helps give him an edge in the competitive culinary field in Savannah, where Greg hopes to find steady employment.

“I like to cook and I’d like to stay in the mission.” Greg said. “I’d love to be able to go back to my hometown and work some type of mission. To start some type of mission to help the other people there, because there’s not much help there.”

 

 

With the help of Union Mission, Greg is ready to rebuild his life after 30 years of homelessness. He’s looking forward to giving back to the community that has given him his second chance. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, the help Greg received is still available to others working to leave homelessness behind.

Help Create a Brighter Future at Union Mission

Your donation can help someone like Greg choose a life of hope and help them leave homelessness behind. Your gift today means a brighter future for those we serve, their families, and our whole community.

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Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Choosing Change: Stephanie’s Story

Drugs. Disability. Domestic violence. Each is a cause of homelessness – all three together can lead to a life of hopelessness. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, help was available when Stephanie was ready to choose change.

Stephanie had a major stroke at the age of 18, just three months after graduating high school. As she recovered, she struggled with the physical and emotional pain of her disability. Her violent marriage and many failed pregnancies only compounded her pain.

To ease her suffering, Stephanie began to use drugs. On the streets, her disability made her a target for assault and the injuries she suffered would lead her right back to using drugs to dull the pain. This vicious cycle consumed her life.

 

Stephanie can still recall when she hit the darkest part of her road. In and out of prison, in and out of violent relationships, struggling with drug addiction and a positive HIV diagnosis, she lay in the dark and said, “Lord, this life is not getting me nowhere.” The next day, a woman was found dead on her doorstep and Stephanie knew it was a sign that she had to get help and change her life for good.

She reached out to her mother who helped her find her first drug rehabilitation support. Once she finished her in-patient recovery, she was accepted as a resident at transitional housing in Union Mission’s Phoenix Project. This program for people living with HIV/AIDS provided

Stephanie with more than just shelter. Through Union Mission, she also received food, counseling, and HIV medication management. She credits this comprehensive support with giving her the strength to cope.

“They have really helped me by helping me to help myself,” Stephanie says.

With the support of Union Mission, Stephanie now has a life filled with hope. She is four years sober, married, and she and her husband have purchased their first home.

Stephanie and her husband

Your support ensures our life-changing programs continue to be available to help people like Stephanie as they rebuild their lives and change our community for the better.

Help Change Lives at Union Mission

Your donation can help someone just like Stephanie choose a life of hope and help them leave homelessness behind. Your gift today means a brighter future for those we serve, their families, and our whole community.

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A Family’s New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

A Family’s New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

Khadijah and her son

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

A New Beginning: Khadijah’s Story

Trapped in a cycle of violence, it can be difficult to see a way to a brighter future. As a single mother with no family support, the road can be rocky enough to make you feel trapped. But Khadijah was willing to do whatever she needed to do to build a better life for her son. Thanks to your generosity, Khadijah found hope and a brighter future here at Union Mission.

Abandoned by her abusive mother at a young age, Khadijah’s childhood was violent and unstable. She was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and hospitalized twice for bouts of depression so intense she attempted suicide.

When her son, Marquise, was born, she knew he deserved more than a life of violence. She left the gang-filled Chicago neighborhood of her youth in hopes of saving her son’s life.

“I can’t have him grow up here,” she remembers thinking. “He’s not going to make it.”

A family friend invited her to Savannah with the promise of help for a better life. But her safe haven was only temporary and soon, Khadijah was on the street with her 3 year old son, leaving behind what they could not carry on their backs.

She walked from Middleground Road to Bull Street looking for shelter but was forced to spend the night on the streets. The next morning, she used a library computer to find somewhere she and her son could get the help they so desperately needed. She found Union Mission’s website and was inspired by the stories of success she saw there.

“I saw the story of a mother and her sons who had been successful,” Khadijah said. “I knew this was the place for me.”

Khadijah and her son came to Magdalene Project, Union Mission’s emergency shelter for women with children. With access to Union Mission’s unique wraparound services, she was able to find a job within two days of entering the shelter. Now she’s working, learning to save and to budget, so that she can build a better life for herself and her son. She is looking forward to a life of hope and independence thanks to the investments you’ve made in Union Mission’s programs.

 

Now she’s living in her own apartment and her life has changed thanks to the skills she was able to build at Union Mission. Those skills, she says, are as important to her future as the shelter has been.

“Right now, I’m working to save – save, so we don’t go back again.Even though everybody comes here for different reasons, Union Mission is able to help you. You show us how to get to where we want to be so we won’t need the support of anybody. “

With the help of Union Mission, Khadijah is building a future of hope and independence for her family. Your generous support of Union Mission today will ensure that the help Khadijah received is available to those still in need of a helping hand.

Help Bring Hope to the Holidays

Your donation can help someone just like Khadijah rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and bring hope to the holidays for someone looking to come in from the cold.

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The Power of a Helping Hand: Arlene’s Story

The Power of a Helping Hand: Arlene’s Story

Arlene

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

STORIES OF SUCCESS

The Power of a Helping Hand: Arlene’s Story

What would happen if you lost everything and had nowhere to turn? After leaving prison, battling mental illness and addiction, Arlene needed a place to rebuild her life. Thanks your generous support, she found help and hope here at Union Mission.

Arlene grew up in an abusive family and was determined to have a better life for her children. By the age of 25, she was married with four beautiful children, owned her own home, and had a job in medical research. She had, as she says today, attained the American Dream.

But her life wasn’t as ideal as it seemed. After years of domestic abuse, Arlene divorced her husband, sold her home, and moved to Georgia for a fresh start . A newly single mother of four, she was unable to make enough money to support her children.

Her mental health deteriorated and she began to self-medicate, first with alcohol and then with drugs. In the depths of her mental illness and addiction, Arlene stole a purse and was sentenced to 15 years with no possibility of parole. While in prison, she received badly needed mental health treatment.

Released from prison after 15 years, Arlene came to live with her daughter in Savannah. After her long incarceration, she struggled to reconnect with her family, and her community. Her deteriorating mental health made it difficult for her to continue living with her daughter and soon, Arlene was homeless.

Living in an emergency shelter and once again receiving mental health care, Arlene found Union Mission – a light at the end of her dark tunnel that shone thanks to the generous support of donors like you.

“I ended up getting place to live and that changed my life,” Arlene said. “There’s no way you can think about finding a job or trying to improve the quality of your life when you don’t know where you’re going to lay your head.”

With her homelessness ended, Arlene has taken what she was given and passed it on to others in our community. She is now a Certified Peer Specialist, working at Gateway Behavioral Health to provide peer support to people recovering from mental illness.

 

Your support ensures our life-changing programs continue to be available to help people like Arlene rebuild their lives and change our community for the better.

Arlene said that she believes “if we hold hands, we can all rise together. “ Your gift helps people like Arlene rise above their challenges to a better future.

Help Bring Hope to the Holidays

Your donation can help someone just like Arlene rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and bring hope to the holidays for someone looking to come in from the cold.

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Climbing Up: Joe’s Story

Climbing Up: Joe’s Story

Losing your job can put you on a steep slide to homelessness. Job loss and alcohol addiction combined can make it difficult to climb back up. Joe Anderson needed stability and support to help him rebuild his life.

“I got to the point where I drank at home and I got to the point where I was drinking in the morning. I got laid off from work – I was still drinking and of course that doesn’t motivate you much to get up and look for a job,” Joe said.

Joe lost his job and soon after, his apartment. Now homeless, he went from shelter to shelter looking for a way to rebuild his life. Union Mission gave him the support he needed to achieve his goals.

“It’s allowing me to transition back into that phase where you know how to deal with people,” Joe said. “When you drink, you hang your head down. You know people’s watching you and they frown down on you. I don’t have that now. It’s helped me gain my confidence back in myself.”

Within four days of entering Grace House’s 90-day program, Joe found a job in the hospitality industry. When he completed the Grace House program, Joe moved into the transitional housing offered by Union Mission’s Beyond Grace program. Working  and saving for his future, Joe hopes to continue in the culinary arts and become a caterer.

Union Mission gave Joe the stability he needed to start a new chapter in his life. He has the skills to create a promising future for himself. Thanks to those who have given generously to Union Mission, the support Joe received is available to those still in need.

Recovering Health and Hope: Everett’s Story

Recovering Health and Hope: Everett’s Story

Stopping the cycle of drug addiction and incarceration takes strength and support. Fighting those battles while homeless takes determination. For Everett Moore, leaving behind homelessness meant a literal journey of miles to reach the help he so desperately needed.

Waking up after another night of drinking and using drugs, Everett knew he needed to change his life.

“Something just hit me that said ‘Man if you keep going on this way, you gonna end up back in prison,” he said.

Everett left Florida and headed to his stepmother in Folkston, Georgia. But, as Everett discovered, crime and drugs are everywhere. Soon he was drinking and using drugs again, his life just as hopeless as before his long journey.

“I found myself laying in the middle of the road in Folkston, Georgia, on highway 40 in the middle of the night and a car was coming,” Everett said. “I couldn’t get out of the middle of the road.”

He crawled to the side of the road and narrowly missed being run over. He spent the night in the ditch on the side of the road, still unable to move. The next morning he went to the local police for help.

“They took me to the Folkston, Georgia hospital,” Everett said. “My blood alcohol level was 2.4.”

The hospital in Folkston sent him to drug and alcohol rehabilitation in Savannah. After completing his rehabilitation, Everett knew he couldn’t go back to his family in Folkston or return to his life in Florida.

“I was through with that,” he said emphatically. “I was working my steps.”

Everett entered Union Mission’s emergency shelter for men, Grace House. The structure and the support of the 90-day program at Grace House helped Everett maintain his sobriety and provided him guidance when he was struggling to rebuild his life. Staying at Grace House gave Everett the tools to change his life for good.

“I work now at Benedictine Military School for Boys,” he said.

Everett’s journey took him from drug addiction and homelessness to full-time employment and a home. The skills he learned at Union Mission helped make his happy ending possible. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, Union Mission can provide help to those like Everett who are still working to leave homelessness behind for good.