Connected for Life
A Mentor Feature
Whole-person recovery isn’t a single decision, a season of sobriety or even completion of a 16-month program; it’s a lifestyle. UGM alumnus Keith Kautzman has chosen to live the recovery life by providing mentorship to men completing UGM LIFE Recovery and moving back into society. Keith has eight years sober, two years at a job he loves and has just purchased a house of his own. “I’m excited to be in a place where I can give back.”
He met Derick this winter, and they connected easily. “We do have a lot in common,” Keith told us. “I was in and out of jail my whole adult life, and he’s done prison time. Not that our lives have been the exact same, but we do understand one another, and I’m able to show him what’s possible, going forward. It’s not about being perfect but staying in relationship with the people who care about you and with God.”
Derick is completing UGM Men’s Recovery and being honored in this month’s Commencement celebration. We praise God he has a close friend in Keith and a community of supportive brothers and sisters at UGM. Launching a new life as a God-dependent, contributing member of society can be one of the more challenging parts of the recovery journey. That’s why every UGM alum is connected to a mentor. We are not meant to face our challenges alone.
“As long as you maintain the support and stay connected, you’ll be all right.” - Keith Kautzman
Creating Space for Recovery
A Volunteer Feature
Steve and Kathy Ridley offer friendship to men who may not have even begun their journey toward recovery. As weekly meal servers at the Men’s Shelter, this couple reaches into the lives of men from a wide variety of backgrounds. “Men come in, they look rough; their lives must be chaos,” Kathy shared with us, “but you know exactly what’s going to happen for them that evening: They’re going to have a shower, they’re going to put on some clean clothes, have a warm meal. There is love, rules and routines, and that works wonders for their self-worth.”
Recovery can only begin where there is safety and acceptance. Kathy and Steve have been through their own trials and understand the time, effort and grace needed for deep healing to take place. “It’s not just us plopping food on their plates,” said Kathy. Steve added, “We’re getting to know them by name, forming a connection with them. I’m grateful for that.”
It’s the investment of community members like the Ridleys that makes the first steps to real change possible for men, women and children exiting homelessness.