Volunteer Profile: Paula Harkin

Last fall, Paula Harkin volunteered to answer phones at one of Union Gospel Mission's radio-thons. She fell in love with everything she learned about Union Gospel Mission. The very next day Paula called to offer an idea that came to her after hearing about UGM’s LifeChange recovery program. Paula and her husband Dave own the Portland Running Company and she had an idea to help residents' physical well-being outside of UGM while they work on the rest of their recovery within the walls of UGM.

Paula pictured in the neon green shirt. Photo courtesy of Paula Harkin.

In early April Paula and a group of running mentors launched the Union Gospel Mission Monday Lunch Run Club. Paula and her mentors set off from the UGM lobby at Third and Burnside every Monday with any interested LifeChange residents, staff or volunteers on a run/walk around the downtown esplanade. And earlier this month a group competed in their first official run in the Starlight Run.

“When I think about why I personally am involved with the UGM Run Club my thoughts go to how much love and support I receive from our running community and how our running community knows no boundaries or discrimination. Good people sharing their lives through running and sharing and goal setting.”

Walking & running club_1

Walking & running club_1

“The members of the UGM Run Club hold a special place in my heart, I am thankful I have the opportunity and resources to do something that supports these men that have enough courage to confront their issues and change their lives.”

Paula’s team of running mentors, several of whom also serve in other volunteer roles, include: Doug Goebel, Stephanie Henstrom, Brittney Forster, Chad Linnerooth, Amanda Davidson, Todd Briscoe, Jeff Krause, Katie Christianson, and Jarrod Gans.

Watch the group run featured on Portland's KPTV Fox 12 .

Contact CJ Entringer, volunteer director, at cjentringer@ugmportland.org if you would like to volunteer at Union Gospel Mission.