Clay has been mentoring men at Union Gospel Mission of Salem since 2004. “I see potential in these people that far exceeds anything,” he shares, adding that many of these men at the Mission lack belief in themselves because no one has ever encouraged them. 

Navigating life together

Every man and woman who joins the New Life Fellowship program is required to find a mentor to help them navigate the complex issues of life. Time has shown that a successful recovery comes by fellowship, communion, and accountability with others.  

“A lot of these guys, I look at them and I say, ‘You know what’s wrong with you? Absolutely nothing. You’re a child of God. The problem is, you’re a good guy and you’re the last one to find out,” says Clay. 

Building trust

Regularly, he meets with these men and builds trust as their friendship grows.  

“Most of these people mentor me after they get out on their own – very inspiring,” says Clay, who was first motivated to volunteer as a demonstration of his gratitude to God who transformed his own life. 

Finding equal footing

Mentorship isn’t complicated. There is no guidebook, no credentials that must be earned, and no rigid structure. Clay has seen success in his mentees because he’s dedicated, consistent, and genuinely loves these men with the love of God, finding equal footing with them regardless of their history. He also throws in a dose of tough love and candor. 

“If we only see people in the place and time we meet them and judge them based on that, it’s pure emptiness,” advises Clay. “We need to get close enough to people to see what’s on their heart. And for some, that scares them to death because they don’t even know what’s on their own heart.” 

Scripture says, “for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7. 

Mentorship is critical for men and women who are recovering from addiction and homelessness. If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor, contact Hannah at hberry@ugmsalem.org for information. We are always looking for people who have proven maturity, are emotionally healthy, are an encourager, and have experienced brokenness in their own life. 

 

You can join people like Clay in changing the face of homelessness. Give today. 

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