Congratulations To Our Graduates!


Yesterday, Union Rescue Mission had the honor of recognizing 14 brave men who graduated from our  Christian Life Discipleship Program (CLDP). CLDP is an intensive year long program that affects the entire life – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social. Each of these men have had to face personal demons, mend broken relationships, and most of all—discover their true self as created in the image of God.

Graduates of the CLDP complete:

  • 156 Hours of Bible/recovery classes
  • 50 hours of Biblical 12 steps
  • 200 hours of Physical Fitness
  • 49 weeks of Sunday church attendance
  • 104 hours of devotions in URM Family devotions
  • 200 hours of participation in the Bank of America Learning Center
  • 1200 hours of work therapy in one of URM’s departments
  • 30 hours of individual counseling with a URM chaplain

Needless to say, we are very proud of each and every one of these men, and are excited to see how their future in Christ unfolds.


We also want to thank Keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Flores, from Church of the Redeemer for his rousing words on how this world is not our home. And for our musical guest, Lavonne Seetal, wife of our very own Reverend Walter Seetal, for sharing her stirring musical talent.

As all you courageous graduates move forward in your recovery, be reminded of what your fellow-graduate, Tramon, said in his speech,

“When the devil reminds you of your past, remind the devil of his future”


My Benefit Plan

When folks think of working at a Rescue Mission on Skid Row, they might first think of the heartbreak involved or the tough environment surrounding us on Skid Row, but I think about the amazing “recession proof benefits” that come with the job.  It’s a long list but I think my top three are Life Transformation, Joy and Gratitude…benefits I enjoy each and every day.  Let me share just a few examples of what I mean.

On Monday a graduate of our program that had been working/learning as an apprentice in our Development Department for a number of months walked into my office. He’d been hired full-time, and it was his first day. With tears in his eyes and a broad smile, he walked in with a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider (non-alcoholic), and asked a co-worker and me to join him in a toast celebrating his first day as a URM staff member.  How often do you get that reaction when you hire someone?

Another young man, a graduate of our program, and currently in our post graduate transition stage at URM, who is a straight A student, was hired as a part-time graphic artist.  In addition to receiving a badge with his name, photo and the word STAFF on it (standard issue for all URM employees) he was provided with a cubicle in the Development Department to do his work in.  Based on the huge smile, his sincere gratitude and genuine excitement over having a work space to make his own, you’d have thought he been given an executive office with an ocean view.

In chapel this week we received a double dose of Joy, Gratitude and Life Transformation!  First of all we named one of our EVS guys, a custodian, as the employee of the month at URM.  With that, Al received a standing ovation, his picture posted by the HR office, a free parking space next to our elevators, two $20 gift certificates to Subway, his name thrown into a raffle for a 1 week vacation at a nearby resort hotel, and lunch with me the CEO (which according to Al’s boss, is the punishment part of the awardJ). But what touched Al the most was the cheers he received from the men in our program, and the certificate that he received as the Employee of the Month.  He carried it around as if it was an Academy Award proudly sharing it with his friends and colleagues.

After celebrating Al, we were blessed by hearing the testimonies of three men preparing for graduation from our Life Transformation Program.  Each man shared a bit about what their life was like before coming to Union Rescue Mission, the journey they’ve been on for the last 12-18 months as a resident here at URM and most importantly what their life is like today.  It was a solid hour of cheers, tears and inspiration!

It is the thankfulness, gratitude for the little things that we experience every day that makes this such a fulfilling place to work and be involved.  And the best part is…you don’t actually have to be on staff to receive these benefits! Please join us for a graduation (we have one this Sunday, November 6th at 3 p.m.) schedule a tour or become a volunteer, to experience the joy that comes from seeing lives transformed every day.


Andy B.

Men’s Program Celebrates March 2011 Graduation


Men’s Christian Life Discipleship Program


Sunday, March 6th 2011


Graduation is something we celebrate three times a year with the men who have successfully completed the Life Transformation Program at Union Rescue Mission. Every one of these men have fulfilled the many requirements of the year long intensive course.

The program aims to transform lives, through the teaching of life skills, stepping through recovery, and instilling the knowledge and love of God. Men complete hours of Bible study, physical exercise, counseling, anger management, and other training. Graduation is the time where transformed men stand before everyone with the realization of their self-worth and a great sense of security through a new trust in God.

As part of the commencement ceremony, Dr. Robert Flores, President of LIFE Pacific College, shared a message as the graduation keynote speaker. His message focused on God’s gift of second chances and challenged the graduates to above all else, remain focused on God.

Twenty-three men recieved diplomas and were given celebration for all their progress and dedication. Chaplains, guests, and program directors prayed over our men as they will now continue into new lives as newly empowered men for God.

Union Rescue Mission celebrates with every new graduate and is thankful to everyone who continues to make this program possible!

March 2011 Graduates

Jeffery Hasley

Issac Lyons

Maurice McClelland

Blair McMurray

John Bales

Yuri Blanco

Anthony Garner

Luster Kelsey

Kenneth Lesley

Curtis Rogers

Theodore Sawicki

Luis Garcia

Santiago Guerrero

Edgardo Ortega

Oscar Palacios

Daniel Sheppard

Jon Chapelle

Leo Galloway

Joey Hernandez

Charles Lofthouse

Steven Martinez

Lauriano Santos

Walter Taylor III

Men’s Program Celebrates November 2010 Graduation

Three times a year, we have the great joy of celebrating our men’s Life Transformation Program’s graduation! For the men who have completed the one-year program and all of it’s requirements, it is a very special day to celebrate how far they have come.

Yesterday was no different as we honored 22 graduates in our November 2010 ceremony.  The graduates and guests heard an inspirational speech from Dr. Keith Phillips, President of World Impact. Cassie Sanchez, Worship Leader at Church of the Redeemer, also blessed us with her beautiful voice and sang several songs.

Thanks to everyone who helps make our Life Transformation programs possible; without you, we wouldn’t be here to help these courageous men and women make the steps to recovery and really change their lives.

Most importantly, congratulations to our graduates!! We are so proud of you.

November 2010 Graduates

Sean Donahue

Terry Fluornoy

Willie Gaines

Darrell Huggins

Joseph Montoya

Broderick Smith

Francisco Alvizar

James Glover

Carlos Herrera

Edward Maldonado

Franscisco Pedroza

Fredis Zuleta

Oscar Castelo

John Meyers

Austin Onyango

Nicki Sidebottom

Louis Stephenson

Steven Varga

Kenneth Jones

Eric Theirmann

Ronald Wells