The Mission After the Mission
Union Gospel Mission thrives on the donors and volunteers who graciously devote their time, money, and energy to assist the daily operations of the mission. The help of all donors and volunteers contributes to the success and sustainability of what the mission does. In addition to having regular volunteers, the mission also has “high impact” volunteers. High impact volunteers effectively give, at least, four hours per week of their time. They resemble staff members since they spend much of their time at the mission affecting the core of Union Gospel Mission’s ministry; however, they do not receive pay. Paul Schramm displays his quality of a high impact volunteer as the aftercare director for the men’s LifeChange program.
Paul has volunteered, for a little over a year, helping graduates of the LifeChange program to transition and establish themselves within the community outside of UGM. He helps the men by meeting with counselors to determine the greatest needs of each graduate, helping them to connect to resources such as housing, education and jobs. In addition, he focuses on getting the men established with church and faith communities. He refers to this as “the mission after the mission,” referring to life outside of the mission upon graduating.
A couple of years ago, Paul reached out to talk with various people from the community because he wanted to make a difference. One conversation led to another, landing him in a vital role at UGM. Having worked with former inmates who gradually adjusted to life outside of confinement, Paul felt volunteering with the men from LifeChange as a natural fit with what the LifeChange program does to help men transition back into the community. Paul said, “I was honored to meet a lot of the folks here and see their heart and passion to see lives being changed.”
An aspect that he enjoys about volunteering in the LifeChange program simply has to do with people. “It’s all about the people and the relationships, not only the staff here, but the residents … Just really giving them hope and the resources that they need and want. Just being part of that is really a privilege.” The Aftercare program has created excitement -- the men hope to strive for opportunities in regards to education, finding housing, a job, and being part of the community in a healthy way.
I asked Paul what he would say to a person who may be struggling in life with drugs, addiction, or homelessness if the person had the opportunity to get help at UGM. Paul replied:
“It’s really an awesome, awesome opportunity to turn your life around. This is a place that is full of hope and just full of people who really become part of your family who join with you and celebrate the steps that you take to be out in the community. We all hunger for that community and those relationships. This is really a family here of people who just love to gather and help one another out there.”
Thank you, Paul, for your faithful service! Without volunteers like Paul, Union Gospel Mission’s work and LifeChange would not be possible.
Watch more about Paul: http://youtu.be/KAZh5iOgDNg
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