November 2017

Over the past several years, Union Gospel Mission has seen an increase in the number of young moms with children coming to our shelters.

“Helping young moms in crisis is vastly different than helping single women,” said JoAnn Zajicek, Director at the UGM Center for Women & Children. “You have the abuse, the addiction, the unhealthy coping mechanisms, but you also have women trying to be good mothers when they haven’t been parented well themselves. Sometimes you have children raising children. They desperately want family and, consequently, are often drawn into unhealthy relationships. We have to teach them how to stay present in discomfort, how to do the difficult work of being a single parent without numbing or running away.”

Barely 18 when she came to the Center, Martha is an example of the new face of homelessness.

Growing up without a father, Martha started partying at 13. “It was just my mom raising me and that’s just not the way that God designed it so when we step out of God’s design, then the enemy has so much room to move and destroy and kill and steal. So there were a lot of things stolen from me definitely.

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The Gift of Mothers

Tasked with raising five boys, my mom was an expert at energy management. She knew we needed to keep busy. She played baseball with us, worked alongside us in our daily chores – weeding the garden, pushing a mower over our hilly acreage – and taught us the value of hard work – inside and out. We took turns in the kitchen with her, learning to cook. I was the caramel expert in our house while my brother Steve mastered fudge. Her mantra was simple: You work; then you play. When we fell into bed at night, we were tired.

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“A great way to share God’s grace”

Ronnie Hazard was retired, widowed and living alone in a big house in Leavenworth when she asked God how she could serve him best. He put it on her heart to serve at a women’s shelter, and the nearest one she knew about was the Union Gospel Mission in Spokane. She sold her house and moved to her new home in Coeur d’Alene in a span of three months.

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