Beating the Odds: William’s Story of Success

Beating the Odds: William’s Story of Success

Photo of William and Mr. Robert Simmons of DCS


Article by Amber Mitchell, Intern


Beating the Odds: William’s Story

Sometimes, it takes certain circumstances to bring about change in your life. After spending time in prison, William knew that he wanted to change his life and “beat the odds”.

William came to Union Mission through the Re-Entry Partnership Housing Program after spending years in prison. With the help of his parents and Mr. Robert Simmons of The Department of Community Supervision (DCS), William was able to enter the program in January of 2019 after being released from prison. The program helped by providing clothing, housing, and meals for 90 days while he transitioned, helping him get back on his feet. William states, “If it wasn’t for Robert Simmons and Joi Baker of Union Mission providing transitional living, I don’t know how I would have made it. They help me see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“They helped me mentally and emotionally get in the right direction.”

Five months after being released from prison, things are definitely looking up for William. He is currently employed, just got his license back, and has moved into his own apartment. He has reestablished a relationship with his daughter, and will even be taking her to Disney World this summer. He says that he has learned that “good things can happen doing it the honest way.” When asked what he would say to others in similar situation, William states that “you have to make a decision to change the way you are living. You have to choose what you want to do with your time and try.”

Help Provide a Fresh Start

Your donation can help someone just like William rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and provide hope for a better tomorrow.



Michael Traynor | Board Chair




In my last Chairman’s Column, I referenced the importance of an  organization-even  as established (1937) as Union Mission (UMI) – taking inventory and revisiting the elements of their Mission/Vision/ Strategic Plan. Since there is much wisdom in the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, here is Union Mission’s Strategic Plan presented in a Venn Diagram.

You see  the  intersection  of  “What  UMI is Deeply Passionate About”, “How UMI Utilizes Its Resource Engine” and “Where UMI Is Best in Class”. Union Mission is an aspirational organization focused on how to be Great, not just Good. However, a key component of Great, is to remain focused with piercing clarity on how to produce the best long term results for the Savannah Community, while concurrently exercising discipline/restraint in not dabbling in areas not a core competency.

In summary, UMI’s Mission/Vision is to provide a hand up to clients with the epiphany and desire to PARTNER with us in our 90 Day Program of  housing and supportive services. The Resource Engine that fuels  success  is  UMI’s  ability to attract the right people (5 Cs)  as employees who then enhance our culture/reputation/brand/leadership thus generating emotional goodwill in the Savannah Community. If Union Mission can concurrently maintain a sustainable business model via managing expenses/ generating revenue, our sustained cash flow will allow us to have substantial impact, even a GREAT IMPACT in Savannah while helping so many.

Stories of Success: Mark’s New Name for a New Beginning

Stories of Success: Mark’s New Name for a New Beginning

Photo of Mark “Dave”
Article by Emily Bressler
Mark entered  Union  Mission  over  a  year ago. He was admitted through the Returning Citizen program. However, his experience with homelessness started 10 years prior.
In 2009, Mark experienced a traumatic mid-life crisis. His wife suddenly passed away, he lost his auto accessory business, and his house all within  the  short  span of a month. He began to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol in order to deal with the pain and heartache that he was facing. The path he was forging led him  in and out of prison. Eventually, a judge was able to see something in Mark and promised to help him get the treatment that he so desperately needed. Mark was able to enter the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment, RSAT, to begin receiving treatment. After nine months in RSAT, Mark knew that he couldn’t go back to his hometown because he would start to repeat his old patterns and routines. To truly start fresh, he needed a new environment. One of his counselors at RSAT was able to refer him to Union Mission.

“Coming to Union Mission saved my life”

Union Mission has been able to provide more than a warm place to stay and a hot meal. While at Union Mission, Mark has received the mental health counseling that he has needed in order to move forward.

Mark has since decided to start going by his middle name “Dave.” Dave explained that when he came to Union Mission he wanted to leave his past behind him. “When I was “Mark”, he got me in a bunch of trouble and didn’t help me out so I divorced him and that’s why I now go by “Dave”. This way I can keep from going back to Mark’s personality.”
Dave is currently receiving treatment for a medical problem, but he has big plans for life outside of Union Mission. Once he is healthy, he plans on returning to work in the auto accessory industry. One of his goals is to start traveling for pleasure. He wants his first stop to be Charleston, SC.

Help Write A New Ending

Your donation can help someone just like Mark “Dave” rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind. Your gift today can change lives and provide hope for a better tomorrow.

Thank You Donors, Volunteers, and Community

Pat Youngquist | Executive Director



Thanks to our staff and community supporters for making the first half of the year such a success. Since January, Union Mission has provided emergency and transitional housing services to 174 men, 21 women and 37 children, and 204 people have remained in permanent supportive housing, free from the dangers of living on the street. UMI’s counseling center has also provided 522 clinical mental health sessions to 64 community members.
With the support of the business community, key individuals, government officials and volunteers, UMI raised more than $250,000 at this year’s Raising Hope– our most successful fundraising event to date. Our sponsors played an important role and we are proud to actively partner with them throughout the year to help those most in need. UMI was honored to recognize Don and Kaye Kole as two long- time supporters at this year’s Raising Hope. Their continued involvement has been instrumental in our organization’s efforts.

Again, thank you to our donors, volunteers and community members for allowing UMI to have such a positive impact in our local community. UMI is privileged to partner with people to end their homelessness through housing and supportive services.

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

-Jane Goodall

An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

Event Honorees: Don and Kaye Kole
Thank you to everyone that made Union Mission’s 4th annual fundraiser, Raising Hope, a huge success. Together we raised over $250,000 to help support homeless individuals here in our local community. The event gave Union Mission the opportunity to recognize two long-time community advocates, Don and Kaye Kole. We also heard from former Mayor of Albuquerque, NM, Richard Berry, who praised UMI for their cutting edge efforts to improve the current state of homelessness in Savannah and encouraged the 400 philanthropy-minded community members in attendance to continue helping those most in need.
We are grateful for our passionate and committed donors, volunteers and supporters. They play an integral role in ensuring that UMI can continue to provide emergency shelter, clinical mental health counseling, permanent supportive housing,  HIV/AIDS   services, and culinary arts training to local community members in need.


Union Mission is a registered 501(C)3 non-profit organization. 85¢ of every dollar donated is used for housing and supportive services that help partner with people to end their homelessness.