On Tuesday, October 20, UGM held an open house and dedication for the new DeRuwe Center, an annex to the Men’s Shelter and administration building. The new building houses an expanded Vocational Education Center, 17 offices, a fully equipped video and audio recording studio, four classrooms and a large multi-purpose room.
The Voc-Ed Center has 25 computer stations, compared to eight in the old center and makes use of current technology for teaching classes. Because of time spent in the center, hundreds of men per year will be challenged to face their fears around education and break through the labels that made them believe they weren’t smart enough to learn.
Jobs are a critical factor in breaking the cycle of homelessness and addiction. The new DeRuwe Center gives UGM Men’s Recovery a greater ability to educate and aid men in finding fulfilling employment. By offering help in job searching as well as preparing a resume, the expanded Voc-Ed Center gives men the confidence they need to re-enter the workforce.
Additionally, statistics show that more than 50 percent of all jobs in today’s market require computer proficiency, and UGM is now equipped to provide men going through our programs the skills they need to be hired in careers that match their dreams. And as men discover their interests and abilities they are able to thrive as contributing members of society.
A legacy gift from Milan and Gladys DeRuwe made the new building possible. Milan DeRuwe grew up on a sheep farm in Southeast Washington. He knew his dad hoped he would take over the family business, but Milan dreamed of going to college to become an engineer. And that’s what he did.
Reflecting on his long career as an engineer with Chevron, he said, “My education changed the whole direction of my life.” In later years, Milan joined the UGM Board of Directors and a new dream was born. He wanted to see the men coming through the Mission have access to education and resources that would open doors to fulfilling careers. Upon his death, he left a large gift toward that end.
Milan was married for 52 years to Bernadine. After her death, he remarried Gladys Callahan, and the two of them enjoyed serving meals at the Men’s Shelter together. Seeing the impact firsthand, Gladys caught the vision, as well, and chose to add to Milan’s legacy.
UGM is grateful for the DeRuwes’ generosity in helping educate men and break the cycle of homelessness and addiction. The dedication served as a time of celebration for the new space, and we were honored to have Gladys cut the ribbon for the opening of the new DeRuwe Center.
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