It was the most painful moment of Stephen’s life. It was the worst thing he ever did. His parents told him to leave and never come back. Stephen thought it was the end. But it was a new beginning...
Life was never easy for Stephen. “My parents were addicts and couldn’t take care of me,” he recalls. “So I was adopted and raised by my aunt and uncle. To this day, they’re my real parents.”
But Stephen always had trouble fitting in at school. He was often bullied and struggled to make friends. In frustration, he acted out and got into fights. By middle school, he started skipping school and running away from home.
“I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and got into drugs,” he says. “I was a meth addict by 15. My parents tried to control me, but I rebelled. I started selling drugs and getting into trouble. I was in and out of juvenile hall. My whole family stopped talking to me.”
“I needed someone to give me a second chance, take me in with open arms, and help me get myself together.”
Deep down, however, Stephen knew it wasn’t the life he wanted. He loved his family and he hated what he was doing to them. And he was growing tired of going nowhere with his life. So he tried to straighten out and reconcile with his family — until the night he experienced a drug-induced psychosis and inadvertently attacked his parents.
After that, he knew everything had to change. But he also knew he couldn’t do it on his own. A friend recommended he come to Union Rescue Mission. “It’s exactly what I needed,” he says.
A Second Chance
“I needed someone to give me a second chance, take me in with open arms, and help me get myself together. They did that from day one. Their positivity, support, and the structure they gave me totally changed my life. They showed me that with faith in God and a little patience, everything will fall into place. And it did.”
Today, Stephen is clean and sober. He’s earned his High School Diploma and is about to complete his studies in solar paneling and join the workforce. But best of all, he’s mended his relationship with his family, which he says is better than it’s ever been.
“If it wasn’t for the donors who support Union Rescue Mission, I don’t know where I’d be. They gave me a second chance and a new start. I’m really grateful.”
Give more people, like Stephen, a chance to start a new life today.
CALL TO ACTION
WE MADE GREAT STRIDES IN 2018. NOW IT’S TIME TO FINISH THE JOB!
Looking Back at a Year of Accomplishments — And Facing the Future With Hope! The past year has been one of the most challenging times in Union Rescue Mission’s 127-year history. The number of precious people devastated by homelessness in Los Angeles is an unprecedented crisis that’s threatening our entire city — and URM’s resources, as well. Yet despite this cruel human tragedy in our City of Angels, your compassion and generosity has shined brighter than ever. Here are just a few of the highlights you made possible in 2018.
2018 Accomplishments and Highlights
Thanks to your support, URM added 13 more units to our Hope Gardens Family Center to help provide shelter and long-term support to even more precious mothers and their children.
URM hosted its first-ever 5K Walk fundraising event, and hundreds of compassionate participants like you turned out to help raise over $500,000 to help people devastated by homelessness.
Your 2018 gifts helped provide shelter, meals, and other support to help more families at Union Rescue Mission than ever before get back on their feet. URM is currently providing help to 107 moms, 10 fathers, and 261 children on our 4th floor alone — an all-time record at Union Rescue Mission!
Yet despite these accomplishments, we expect even greater challenges in 2019.
2019 Challenges to Come
URM plans to break ground on a new facility for up to 76 families devastated by homelessness in South Los Angeles County.
With your support, URM will continue to renovate our downtown facility to create space for an additional 170 single women.
Your 2019 gifts will enable URM to launch a new Intense Recovery Program for up to 30 single women who need help overcoming addictions and homelessness.
To meet the rapidly growing demand for shelter, meals, and long-term recovery programs at Union Rescue Mission, we must increase giving by 25%!
“I’ve been in and out of prison for more than 30 years because of drugs. I have an 8-year-old now, and I can’t live like that anymore. I’m grateful Union Rescue Mission is giving me another chance to be a better dad.”
— Ricky, 53
Union Rescue Mission Christian Life Discipleship Program
“I grew up really sheltered and never knew how to take care of myself. After two abusive marriages, I needed to change. Union Rescue Mission is giving me the skills to start my own business, so I can take care of my kids.”
— Raven, 35
Hope Gardens Family Center
“Last year, I was living on the streets, thanks to drugs. But Union Rescue Mission completely changed my life and gave me a new dream: I’m going back to college to study architecture.”
— Todd, 46
Union Rescue Mission Christian Life Discipleship Program
Your gift will provide TWICE as much help — and TWICE the blessing! Please give today.
Are You Making Plans for the Future?
There are many ways to plan for the future through your will or trust. A good plan will help you care for your loved ones after you are gone, plan for your own care, or even make a gift to Union Rescue Mission. What plan is best for you? Explore a variety of planned gift options to meet your needs and your goals by visiting www.urmgift.org.
NOTES FROM ANDY
In a Year of Heartbreak, You Give Me Hope
In many ways, 2018 has been one of the most heartbreaking years of my life. Every day, I witness an endless, tragic cycle of mothers, fathers, children, and single women seeking our help at Union Rescue Mission — more than I’ve ever seen before.
Skid Row is no place for these precious souls, especially when you realize that the number of registered sex offenders here has skyrocketed from 1,084 to 4,669 in the past year! It brings me to tears.
Yet I still have hope. One of the things I’m most proud of is that Union Rescue Mission is the only mission on Skid Row that will never turn away a family with children or a single woman who needs our help. Our hearts simply won’t let us.
Skid Row is no place for these precious souls...
And thanks to your compassionate generosity, I know we never will. Your dedicated partnership ensured that every family and every single woman who needed our help found it here last year — and I know your faithful commitment will continue as we face even greater challenges in 2019.
Through your gracious support we are not alone in the fight to end homelessness. You make this work possible.