It’s been just over two years since Melissa graduated from Union Gospel Mission of Salem’s New Life Fellowship program and a lot has changed.
Once, Melissa called a tent her home. Now she has an apartment.
In her homelessness, she felt deep, hurtful isolation. Today she has friendships that have spanned the years.
Fear, depression, and addiction used to rule her. Now she knows how to combat her old demons when they try to pick a fight.
Melissa could hardly muster up enough energy to make it through her four-hour work therapy shifts at Simonka Place. These days, with ease, she works an entire shift cooking at a local Salem restaurant, works out at the gym, and walks her dogs when she returns home.
Melissa used to feel like God was a demanding boss. Now she sees Him as a gracious and loving Father.
Melissa’s life has been transformed.
“I’m one of those people where if I’m going to commit to something, I’ll commit,” she says.
While she admits the ride hasn’t always been smooth since she left Simonka Place, she has a network of encouraging people and a healthy, consistent lifestyle to help maintain accountability.
“You have your support network, I have the girls I was in program with, I have my mentor,” says Melissa. “We’ll call each other… We’re really honest with each other. There have been very few little slips, and I’ve been able to get right back on track because of what I’ve learned.”
Being that UGM is community-connected, we rely on others in the Salem-Keizer area to best fill the needs of our guests. Melissa is grateful for the organizations that united to help her get back on her feet and thrive, including Bridgeway Recovery Services and Salem Alliance Church.
When you give to UGM, you are supporting long-lasting life change in people just like Melissa. Give today at ugmsalem.org to change the face of homelessness, one story at a time.