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3 min read

Making Way for Miracles: Meet Dan, UGM Men’s Shelter Manager

 UGM Men’s Shelter Manager Dan McLellan works hard to create a safe, healing environment for every guest and resident, and he works hard to ensure that each man gets the opportunity to encounter the Life Changer Himself: our Savior, Jesus. 

 

2L7A3257-2UGM: How and when did you get involved with Union Gospel Mission? 

 

Dan: I volunteered out at UGM Camp when I was younger, so I was aware of UGM. In 2011, when I was in need of part-time work in college, I came on as the weekend and evening cook at the Men’s Shelter and have worked here since.

 

UGM: What are your most defining responsibilities in your current position?

 

Dan: As the Men’s Shelter Manager, I have several key responsibilities. The most defining responsibilities I have are maintaining a safe and healing living environment for up to 200 men at a time and ensuring they are given great opportunities for reaching their goals and ending their homelessness through case management or one of our programs. This is only possible with my Creator’s help and having a great team of staff and volunteers empowered to do their jobs well. With God’s help and a great team, amazing things happen.

 

UGM: What do you see/experience daily that you want the public to know?

 

I think the public would be interested to know what resources are available daily and what the community is like here. We don’t serve homeless people; we serve men and women who are diverse individuals experiencing homelessness for often very different reasons. The individual clients we serve are not “different,” as many may think, but very much representative of our community, our family, our sons and daughters; and they desire restored relationships and to rejoin the larger community as active, contributing members. Helping clients figure out what specific barriers they face and offering opportunities and empowerment to overcome those barriers is the daily work we do.

“We don’t serve homeless people; we serve men and women who are diverse individuals experiencing homelessness, for often very different reasons.”

 

2L7A3292UGM: What do you love about your job/the men/the shelter?

 

Dan: I love the relational aspect of my job—really connecting with men and seeing life change take place. Much of the recovery and life change that take place here could be described as nothing short of a miracle, and that never loses its excitement.

 

UGM: What do you think God is doing in the homeless population/men you oversee?

 

Dan: Warren Wiersbe has a great quote on ministry: “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.” This is a great test for any activity as a working definition for ministry and especially true here at the UGM Men’s Shelter. God is using us—the staff, the volunteer team and the generous community partners—to meet human needs, both physical and spiritual, for His glory.

 

UGM: What have you learned/how have you grown over the years? 

 

Dan: I have learned and grown so much over the last ten years, and I am so thankful that UGM has invested in me as an individual. That’s something I will always be thankful for. My first day on the job, I came in to talk about work possibilities, but they actually had an urgent need for weekend kitchen work, so I was hired basically on the spot. The skill I had to offer was the ability to cut meat and process wild game. Since we were still accepting “road kill” from the state at the time, that was something to offer (haha). I have had six job titles here, between the old Crisis Shelter for Women and Children and the Men’s Shelter. I have gone from meat-cutting to program and staff management, but the biggest growth has been personal. It’s impossible to work at an organization so focused on personal growth and recovery and not be changed. You either have to move on or grow; you can’t sit idle at UGM, either as a staff member or a client. It has been a great blessing to be here over these very formative years, both professionally and personally. (And these days, I only process wild game with my wife while on vacation.)

 

UGM: How can people get involved/pray?

 

Dan: UGM is great because people really can get involved—we need them! They can donate and provide part of those much needed “divine resources” referenced earlier, and that is very important as we are privately funded. Keeping the men, as well as the staff and volunteer teams, in prayer is greatly appreciated, as we face some heavy issues here at times, if not often. Also, meaningful volunteer opportunities working directly with the men in the shelter—and frequently even paid shelter positions—are open and available. Anyone interested should reach out, and we will get them connected!

Click here to sign up for a volunteer overview. >>

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