Brad and Stephanie Hunter own Caramel Kitchen. As business partners with UGM, they're helping single moms get back to work to support their families.
I saw this quote on a reader board near the Mission recently, “The best social program is a productive job for anyone who’s willing to work.” Read more >
There’s a good kind of tired. That kind where you’ve put in a full day of hard, physical work. You got dirty. You sweat . . . Read More >
Eight local business leaders recently participated in UGM’s Engage! work seminar on how to keep a job and earn a promotion. They spoke to... Read More >
As part of her recovery, Dionne Varney needed to find a new career. Before coming to Anna Ogden Hall, she spent 14 years in the adult entertainment industry
Young and old. Washington and Idaho. Individuals, churches and businesses. Look how you teamed up to care for the poor in 2012.
family breakdown, substance abuse
Chris’ mom went to prison when he was three for selling cocaine. His dad hung himself when Chris was eight. “My life completely flipped upside down. One day I was hanging with my friends, going to school, and the very next day, I was halfway across the state with foster parents.”
After two years, Chris moved to Spokane to live with his grandparents. He started using drugs in high school and got kicked out. At 18, he was on the streets. He tried the Mission for a while, but at that point, “I was like, I know everything. Don’t talk to me.”
In the waiting room of the law office where she now works, Gigi Leger described her old approach to life: “What I struggled with and what sent me into a downward spiral is feeling I had to be me-dependent, that I owed my daughters a certain standard of living that I had to provide, and I had to own anything that could go wrong. What that ended up meaning was me living beyond my means, trying to control everything, trying to be the sole-provider, operating in crisis mode because I was making a lot of bad judgment calls and then failing dismally and really beating myself up about it…I felt like I had to do it all on my own.”
Gigi graduated in June from the Union Gospel Mission’s recovery program at Anna Ogden Hall. During her program, she completed a business practicum at Casey Law Offices and was subsequently hired as a legal assistant. A single mom for most of her adult life, Gigi was used to managing on her own. The most difficult part of recovery, she said, has been admitting that she needs help.
Barely over 5 feet tall with red hair, Gigi has a lot of spunk and is quick to laugh at herself. Even when she was at her lowest, she said, she wouldn’t admit she needed help. “Of course, I was like, I don’t need an 18-month program. I just need to get a job. I just need to get back on my feet.” During the orientation for Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, however, she realized that while she could probably do that, “I can guarantee that inside of six months, I’d be right back where I started because something was fundamentally broken in me.”
Gigi decided to seek healing for what was broken and joined the recovery program. “I had ah-ha moments all the time. One of the biggest ones . . . and these things when they happen are like earth shattering almost, but they’re kind of no-brainers, too. Another resident was talking about how far they had come and how long they had been clean, and I remember thinking, I can’t do it. There’s no way that I will ever be strong enough to live the life that I’m supposed to lead. And then, just out of the blue, it came to me . . . I don’t want to say it was God talking, but clear as a bell, it was like, ‘Bingo! You’re right. You can’t, and you don’t have to.’ That’s the whole point.”
Gigi’s move from me-dependence to God-dependence centered on a favorite Bible verse – Jeremiah 29:11. “It was like a mantra,” she said: “God has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. He knows what He’s doing. I’ve opened myself up to His guidance, and I need to trust that He does have plans to prosper me.”
While many pieces of Gigi’s life are falling into place – she has her own apartment, a job with a company she loves, and she’s reunited with her daughters – she also emphasized that God-dependence is a daily choice: “I’m the same person I was going in. I have the same human frailties. I have the same temptations. You know, that broken world is not going to go anywhere. It’s still there, but I know I have the tools to handle it now. I know what my frailties are. It’s sort of like being God-dependent has put a beacon on those pot holes. I know where they are, but I also know where to find the answers. I know where to find my strength. It’s in the Lord.”