Surviving vs. Thriving

Posted by Union Gospel Mission Jul 5, 2016 12:00:08 PM

Through partnerships with businesses and the community in general, UGM helps men and women find jobs, jobs that allow them to support themselves, contribute to society and, as much as possible, tap into their gifts and passions. Residents begin to see that work is less about just getting by and more about making a meaningful contribution.

While helping with the everyday running of the community has always been an important part of life at UGM, in recent years, a more intentional focus on helping residents get back to work has resulted in the following:

  • Business Practicum Placements – Men and Women going through UGM Recovery spend 240 hours in unpaid staff positions at local businesses. The business practicum experience allows them to re-enter the workforce incrementally, rebuild their resumes and gain valuable job references.
  • Employment Ready Programs – Specifically directed at helping men and women overcome the obstacles to finding and keeping a job, caseworkers and job coaches candidly address hurdles such as felony records or gaps in work history. Confidence and basic skills are built through classes, training and a supportive community.
  • Social Enterprises – Safe-and-healing work environments at UGM Motors and the UGM Thrift Stores help people with long gaps in their work histories rebuild their resumes.

Wendy, Troy and Susan are three examples of people who gained the knowledge, confidence and tools necessary to get back to work.



“I used to hear people say, ‘Oh you need a job, you need a career, you need to grow within a business.’ But I never found that company I really wanted to do that with. But after going through the recovery program and finding out what my calling is, I’m actually doing it now… I’ve never worked for a more gracious company in my entire life, and that’s why I love working for Providence. It’s amazing because here, even though I’m a patient care coordinator, my bosses know that I want to further my education and I want to work in surgery. So, when I did my practicum, I got to shadow the hand surgeries and that was just amazing. During the first surgery, I was like, I want to start school tomorrow!”

UGM Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall

Employer: Providence Medical Group

Job highlight: “I like helping people. So when a patient calls in and they need to see the doctor, they need results or whatever, I like being able to get them there.”

Dream for the future: Going to school to become a Surgical Technician and Registered Nurse




“To one day be able to come home and know that I’m paying rent on a house, that’s my big goal in my life. I’ve already succeeded in a lot of my goals in the seven months I’ve had my job at the Union Gospel Mission. I’ve got my driver’s license. I’m paying on my child support. I’m paying on all the financial obligations I have. Union Gospel Mission has saved my life, gotten me back into the working environment, has gotten me a job, gotten me a car, gotten me all the things I need to do to get back into society to be a normal person. So I can look in the mirror and know that that’s Troy and be proud of that.”

UGM Employment Ready Program graduate

Employer: UGM Thrift Store Downtown

Position: Librarian – sorting and displaying donated literature

Job highlight: “Working with the donors, talking to them and letting them know how UGM has helped me and how the Lord has saved my life…I like to tell my story.”

Susan Woodall


“I’m going to attain a Master’s in social work and I really want to serve God in serving others. God – through the LIFE Recovery program – has saved my life and I want to help others with that…I would like to be an advocate for people with co-occurring disorders, where they have an underlying mental health condition and addiction of some kind. I have a heart for all the women that I spent time with and all those people out there who have a co-occurring disorder or mental illness and the barriers to service they come up against…And I can honestly say that it has been my experience at UGM that has fueled my passion to become a social worker and to help others.”

UGM Center for Women and Children

Position: Student, majoring in social work

Dream for the future: “I really want to help people the best way I can and I really think that’s by helping with social policy, being able to improve legislation for mental health and people with addictions, to increase resource availability.”

Fun fact: Senator for Lewis and Clark State College in Coeur d’Alene

You make it possible for men and women to find meaningful work!

  • 104 businesses throughout Spokane and Coeur d’Alene partner with UGM to offer job training and employment.
  • 325 men and women at UGM found employment in 2014 and 2015.
  • Year to date, 60% of residents have been hired at the same company where they completed their business practicum.
  • 90% of residents who’ve completed their practicum have found employment.
  • 50% of men in the Employment Ready Program have already found jobs.

Newsletter Response

Topics: Restoration, UGM Thrift Stores, featured, back to work, Vocational Advancement, business partnership

Click here to see all articles for the July 2016 issue.


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