Union Rescue Mission is celebrating our very own Hope Gardens Family Center’s first anniversary. What a difference a year makes! Last year, in this season, we had just won a very challenging battle and began moving a few moms and children from the dangerous streets of Skid Row, to the safety and peace of Hope Gardens Family Center. Now, 30 moms, 55 children, including 10 precious babies, live in very supportive transitional housing, and 22 senior ladies live in permanent supportive housing, all surrounded by coastal redwoods, shady oak trees, beautiful flowers, and walking paths – all amidst tranquility and beauty.
We have established a Boy Scout troop, a Girl Scout troop, along with a Cub Scout troop, and our walls are plastered with pictures of children whose lives have been changed and are now on the honor roll in their respective schools.
Just this week, the neighbors somewhat near Hope Gardens, who had opposed us very effectively one year ago, asked us to come to their neighborhood meeting and team up on an issue that may affect their safety as well as ours. What a joy it was to walk into the Kagel Canyon/Dexter Park Community Building and feel a welcome and peace – I was humbled as this was not the case one year ago. I attribute this welcoming experience to their willingness to give us a chance, and our fantastic Hope Gardens team, led by Scott Chamberlain and Scott Johnson, managing this great challenge in a way that kept all of our promises to the neighbors and set up a fantastic environment in which our moms, children and precious senior ladies could prosper. This was difficult and courageous work – I applaud our team.
This welcome was also made possible by our donors, who stretched themselves and gave sacrificially to provide the needed resources so that we could hire staff and produce an environment that was conducive to positive life transformation – they helped us keep our promises. What a difference one year and a multitude of faith and courage can make in the lives of our women and children! Blessings, Andy B.