Ongoing Recovery: pursuing dreams and giving back

Posted by Union Gospel Mission May 14, 2014 4:08:29 PM

On the Road to My Dream Job

By Trinity McLaughlin, 2013 Recovery Graduate

Trinity_McLaughlin recovery graduate

In the words of my favorite musical, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” In high school, I loved sports, especially basketball. After I knew I wasn't going to make it as a professional basketball player, I started loving the game for the strategies of how to win the game. I was good at seeing things and analyzing numbers. 

As I grew up, I found a great job in which I was working with numbers, but I wasn't ever satisfied because it wasn't my dream job - being a college basketball coach. Stress and depression started taking over my life, and I quit that job to go get some help from UGM Women's Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall. I graduated from the program in June 2013.

In that program, I decided to take some big risks when it came to going after my dreams. I am nearly finished with a master’s program in Sports and Athletic Administration at Gonzaga University. The program requires internships in three different areas of the sports world: coaching, ticket sales, promotions, marketing, research and so forth.

After some research and interviews, I chose to work as an intern at Lewis & Clark High School as an assistant basketball coach for the JV and Varsity team. I learned so much about how to be a great basketball coach. 

After one of our games, I found out our team would forgo practice weekly to go serve dinner at the Union Gospel Mission Men's Shelter. I was shocked and thrilled at the same time. I always knew when I coached a basketball team we would give back to the community, so it filled my heart with joy to see the program I decided to intern with teaching their players to give back to the community.

high school basketball players serve at Union Gospel Mission

Before serving dinner, the players got an overview of the ministry and heard a couple testimonies from men in the program. Then I told the players how I had been a resident and graduate of the program. It was dead silent, and some players’ mouths actually dropped open. On the outside, I look like a person who loves basketball and wants to help others succeed. On the inside, who knew somebody so “normal” would actually need an amazing grace-based program like this? My addiction was not drugs or alcohol, but in how I related to people; the program is for anybody who wants real life change.


To serve dinner, we split our large group into two smaller groups. While the first group served, the second group ate dinner. They looked like they were all having a fun time and enjoying being servants. They would smile and greet all those who came through the line. Halfway through, we put the second group on the line to serve

It was about a week before Christmas, and some of the girls started singing carols. The people coming through the line started singing along and clapping for the girls who were singing.  It made those people's day. 

As a coach, it brightens my day when I see the players I help coach making other people's day. It shows that we are actually doing something right. Some of the girls looked uncomfortable at first but warmed up to the people as they started talking to them and hearing their stories.

Being a part of a program that gives back to the community and shares the same mission as I do means I am in the place God wants me. Giving back means the world to me. I still try to go back to Anna Ogden Hall as often as I can because they gave me the fresh start I needed to rejuvenate my life to go after my dream of becoming a basketball coach.

Being able to serve at Lewis & Clark High School is just icing on the cake.


Trinity graduating with a Master's degree in Sports and Athletic Administration

Want to explore ways you might partner with UGM to "give back" like Trinity writes about? Click on the link below to download your FREE e-book.

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Topics: giving back, Volunteers


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