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.