Yesterday, part of Skid Row was turned into a winter wonderland for our Annual Christmas in July celebration! With overcast skies, temps in the low 60’s and 20 tons of snow on the ground, it really felt like winter to us here in “sunny” Southern California!
Families from both URM and Hope Gardens got to enjoy the festivities. Kids were able to throw snowballs at Rev. Andy, who tried to prepare himself with goggles and gloves!
Meanwhile, volunteers served tasty treats like cotton candy, snow cones, and popcorn. There was an amazing illusionist, Greg Riley, performing magic tricks, and a dunk tank!
For lunch, Subway graciously provided delicious sub sandwhiches for everyone. After lunch, all the kids were able to meet Santa Clause and receive a present! The day was a lot of fun – we are already looking forward to next year!
There was no shortage of fun this weekend thanks to the help of several special groups!
On Thursday night, we kicked off the 1st of 6 “Nights of Star Wars” on the roof. URM families enjoyed popcorn, brownies and cookies thanks to Calvary Church Pacific Palisades. People brought blankets and chairs to camp out on the roof while enjoying the show! Kids and adults alike enjoyed this great time to just hang out with one another and forget about life’s other concerns for the night. Everyone is looking forward to night # 2 this Thursday!
Then, on Saturday,our guest women enjoyed a day of pampering! The ladies enjoyed shoulder massages, facials, pedicures, gifts and snacks. It felt like a local salon for a few hours including lots of talking and laughter! This event was a much needed diversion from typical life on Skid Row. We are so grateful to Sister Self for taking the time to come treat our ladies!
Later that night, Mt. Sinai praise dancers (ages 3-11) ministered to our guests. An amazing 13 children and 10 adults came to Christ! Our wonderful youth minister Chris Mason shared hope and encouragement and Michael on the 4th floor ministered in song as only he can! Not only were we thrilled to have the praise dancers share their gifts with us, but we are celebrating precious souls coming to the Lord Jesus!
It takes a lot of work to do what we do here at URM, and we couldn’t do it all without the help of our many volunteers! In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we honored some of our standout volunteers! A total of 10 volunteers made it down to our Tuesday morning chapel for a special recognition in front of our staff and guests.
Without the help of these and other faithful individuals and organizations, we would not be where we are today!
Thanks to everyone who gives of their time to make an impact here on Skid Row – you are appreciated!
2010 Volunteer Appreciation Attendees:
Ahman Banes & Shawn Gendall representing Calvary Church – Pacific Palisades
Keiko Ichikawa, representing The Bridge
Sean Brazil, VP of the URM Club at San Marino High School
Bel Air Presbyterian
Merrill Lynch/Bank of America
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kitty Davis-Walker
(213) 673-4585 or (213) 507-5562
“HELP & HOPE COMES IN THE FORM OF AT- RISK YOUTH WORKING TO BUILD A BETTER COMMUNITY”
Sylmar California (April 22, 2010) — On Saturday, April 24, 2010 more than 100 youth volunteers from Bel Air Presbyterian Church and Cloud & Fire Ministries will converge on the grounds of the Union Rescues Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center as they have for the past year building, repairing, constructing and restoring buildings around this Oasis of Hope nestled in the foothills of Sylmar California. Activities for this Day of Service will begin with a brief program and special visit from Councilman Richard Alarcon.
Who: Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center in partnership with Bel Air Presbyterian Church and Cloud & Fire Ministries (YouthBuild) will showcase the extensive construction work done by the helpful hands of at-risk youth from Cloud & Fire Ministries.
What: A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the completion of Bel Air Presbyterian Church and Cloud and Fire Ministries (YouthBuild) team will start the Day of Service by putting the finishing touches on a wing of classrooms to be dedicated on this day at noon.
Where: URM’s Hope Gardens Family Center located 12249 North Lopez Canyon Road, Sylmar California 91342.
When: Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Why: To assist the Union Rescue Mission in providing a beautiful campus of quality transitional housing for senior women and single mothers with children experiencing homelessness.
Union Rescue Mission CEO, Andy Bales said “The youth from Cloud and Fire have transformed Hope Gardens’ educational wing with their tremendous work, and have impacted other children and youth for years to come”.
About Hope Gardens Family Center
Hope Gardens Family Center a program of Union Rescue Mission is a Transitional
Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing campus that gives single mothers and their children, and senior women experiencing homelessness a chance to move out of despair and rebuild their lives. Hope Gardens Family Center helps women transition from homelessness to independence within 12 to 36 months through long-term rehabilitation programs, services and spiritual care designed to support and empower each individual and family. For more information, please visit our website urm.org
This week, we have had the pleasure of having the 8th grade class from Foothills Christian Church volunteer. The volunteering is part of a 7- year tradition the school has set up; each year, the 8th grade class completes a unit on Homelessness in America. At the end of the unit, they are able to come down to Union Rescue Mission to experience serving and see first hand many of the issues they have been learning about.
We are very grateful for all the students and their hard work this week – not only have they been a tremendous help with kitchen work and laundry, but they have brought smiles and laughter to many of the guests!