A Safe Place to Heal: Tess’s Story

Photo of Tess

 

Article by Amber Mitchell, Intern

STORIES OF SUCCESS

A Safe Place to Heal: Tess’s Story

Tess worked as an angiographer in an ophthamology clinic in Savannah. Paid well, she was able to take in one of her daughters and two grandchildren, taking care of all household expenses. However, things shifted greatly in her life when she began to have major health issues. She had back surgery and gradually began having pain in her hands, in which she could no longer perform her job. Tess decided to try working as an Uber driver, but due to her pain, this attempt did not last long.

In October 2016, Tess began to have an incredible pain in her hips and would be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and later with Rheumatoid arthritis. This stressful time of unemployment and health concerns was worsened by the verbal abuse occuring at home, resulting in depression. Her counselor advised that she apply for disability and look for a shelter to escape the verbal abuse.

“I knew nothing of this world. I had always worked since I was 13, provided for my entire family, raised 3 girls on my own…”

After a brief stay with her sister in Wyoming, Tess arrived back in Savannah, homeless. After a 3 month stay at Inner City Night Shelter, she was ready to give up. “I told the Lord I can’t do this anymore. If I stay here come winter time, I’ll commit suicide.” The next day, the case worker found a place for her. “I just broke down and started crying”, Tess says. She’ll never forget the pivotal day she arrived at Union Mission’s Barnes Center-March 13, 2018.

Tess says that Union Mission saved her life. It was extremely hard being homeless while also dealing with her medical conditions. “People look at me and say, …you’re disabled?…You can’t see my disability…you can’t see the pain.” Being at the Barnes Center has helped her obtain all of her medications, has greatly improved her mental health through counseling, and has provided a safe place for her to heal.

“Being homeless, you find out very quickly who does what and who can offer you what and this [Union Mission] is the most rounded organization there is-there is nothing [else] like this in Savannah.”

 

Help Provide a Fresh Start

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

 

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

STORIES OF SUCCESS

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.

 

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

STORIES OF SUCCESS

A NEW NAME FOR A NEW BEGINNING

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.

Stories of Success: Shannon’s Story

Stories of Success: Shannon’s Story

Photo of Shannon and her 3 sons

 

Article by Amber Mitchell

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Moving Forward: Shannon’s Story

When life gets hard, you cling to the ones you love to get through. But when you find yourself homeless with your children, it can be that much harder to pull through those tough times.

Shannon Fox was going on vacation with her 3 sons, when she received a phone call that her house had burned down. With an insurance settlement and a job offer in California, she set out with her sons in hope of a fresh start, but the move presented challenges. The cost of living was expensive, so they began living in their car and on the beach among other homeless camps.

“We did a lot of beach bumming….we stayed in the car, but it was easier doing it there because there were showers on the beach and just a lot of people there that are already homeless that could help out, but there weren’t a lot of resources for families.”

After abruptly being fired from her job and with no other options, she made a move to the Atlanta, GA area, but when living arrangements fell through, they continued living in the car. Shannon found work at several temp agencies, but “with temp work, the assignments end so fast….and it was hard to get 2 months of consistent paychecks to prove that I can afford to be in a place.”

Eventually, Shannon called a resource number that led to the services of Union Mission’s Magdalene House. Shannon says that Magdalene House has allowed her to get access to proper mental healthcare, and access to referrals and resources she didn’t know existed before. “I just really want to thank the whole organization, but mostly Ms. Rachel, she’s been fundamental in getting me everything I need”, she says. With a potential job offer, she is excited for the possibilities to come. When asked about the future, Shannon says she sees herself and kids “in a home with their own beds, maybe a little garden.” To those facing a similar situation, Shannon says, “Don’t give up. Somebody will know something that will help you.”

Help Provide a Fresh Start

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

 

Stories of Success: Anthony’s Fresh Start

Stories of Success: Anthony’s Fresh Start

Photo of Anthony

Article by Emily Bressler

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Fresh Start: Anthony’s Story

Anthony, age 39, came to Union Mission through the state’s Re-Entry Partnership Housing Program. The Re-Entry Partnership Housing Program helps connect returning citizens leaving the prison system with service providers in order to help them successfully reintegrate into the community.

Anthony arrived at Union Mission determined to learn from his past mistakes and move forward with his life. Anthony took the personal initiative to use his time in the program very wisely. Anthony obtained gainful employment, purchased his own transportation to get to and from work and most importantly, reconnected with his daughter.

“Anthony is making excellent progress with his personal
goals. Those goals started with his decision to partner with
Union Mission in his recovery.”

To date, Anthony is still employed, still working toward being the best father he can be and finishing the remaining conditions of his sentence. Anthony is making excellent progress with his personal goals. Those goals started with his decision to partner with Union Mission in his recovery. He has displayed a willingness to accept personal responsibility, be impactful with a meaningful work ethic and place the importance of family above all. Union Mission wishes Anthony continued success on his journey toward being the best that he can be, and thanks all of the community members that help Union Mission make his journey possible.

Help Provide a Fresh Start

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

Stories of Success: Peter Takes Control

Stories of Success: Peter Takes Control

Peter and his granddaughter

Article by Emily Bressler

STORIES OF SUCCESS

Taking Control: Peter’s Story

Peter served our country as a medic in the U.S Army. After he retired, he worked 20+ years in the plastic manufacturing industry in Walton, Kentucky. Peter would often visit Savannah with his wife and kids for vacation during his long career.

However, working long hours and constantly standing on his feet took a toll on his body. His knees and back pain made everyday tasks difficult, all while struggling with addiction.

His addiction was tearing his family apart and his wife told him that he needed to get help or else he would not live long enough to see his children grow up.

“Every time I got a pay check  I  would say,’I’ll pay that bill next week. I’ll pay that  bill next week.’ Eventually, my family had enough.”

In September of 2007, he decided that he wanted to start his life over again in a place that he loved visiting, Savannah. With a one way ticket in hand, Peter embarked on a trip that would change his life.

Peter knew that he wanted to come to Savannah to get sober. When he arrived at the Greyhound bus station, he was lost in this unfamiliar part of town. With help from a stranger, Peter got in contact with Salvation Army. From there he was referred to Union Mission for housing and substance abuse treatment.

“One of the hardest things was that people never believed me when I told them I was homeless. They said that I had clothes on and was clean, and they didn’t think that I could possibly be homeless. I had to let them know that the only reason I looked so good was because I was staying at Union Mission.”

With his determination to make a better life for himself and with the support from Union Mission, Peter was able to end his addiction. After the completion of the substance abuse program, Peter moved from the shelter  to Union Missions’ transitional housing program.

“I never would have thought that I would be homeless. Things happen and some things were out of my control. My disability took over, and I couldn’t function the way I used to. And I had a problem on top of it. But I got rid of my problem.”

His family saw the changes in his life and was able to see that Peter was truly a new man. Almost one full year   from the date that Peter came to Savannah, his family drove down from Kentucky to pick him up and take him back home.

Exactly 10 years has passed since Peter utilized the services offered by Union Mission. He is doing extremely well in Walton, Kentucky. He is married to the love of his life, and they live together happy with their three  dogs.

Union Mission exists to help people like Peter  retake control of their lives and leave homelessness behind. Thank you for sharing hope and help in  our community.

Help Bring Hope to the Holidays

Your donation can help someone just like Peter 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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