Sharon and Jodie’s Story

Sharon and Jodie

"The Mission gave us a safe place to stay and helped us find a better life."

"There's a lot of people on the street who need so much help. I'm thankful that [UGM is] here to help them."

Sharon sat in the van, watching her daughter sleep, heartbroken that her child’s life was falling apart because she wouldn’t take her medications. 

“My daughter is bipolar and schizophrenic, but she felt she didn’t need them.” 

Without her medications, Jodie’s disorders caused paranoia and erratic behavior, which often frightened people around her. “She got worse as time went on,” Sharon says. 

Finally, their landlord asked them to move out, and they found themselves sleeping in their Kia Sedona van. But most of the time, Sharon didn’t sleep. 

“I prayed we’d find a safe place to stay and that Jodie would realize she needed help.” 

God answered her prayers for safe shelter when their doctor referred them to Simonka Place, Union Gospel Mission of Salem’s women and children’s shelter. 

I “felt totally relieved because I had a bed to sleep in,” says Sharon. “It felt good to be in an actual bed, stretch out, close my eyes and sleep.” 

With the help of medication and therapy, today Jodie is mentally stable and finding joy in living. 

Jodie works away at a puzzle in the day room at Simonka Place.

“Before, I wanted to stay away from people, but not anymore,” she says. “I even volunteer at the Mission Store and it’s a lot of fun.” 

Restorative Services Manager Jerri Hunt is encouraged by the strides Jodie has made. “One of the most valuable differences is the connection to services she now has since coming to Simonka. Jodie is now working with vocational rehab and Marion County Behavioral Health, which affords her a mentor, counselor, a prescriber, a job coach, and art therapy.”  

As Jerri put it, this is a huge blessing not only for Jodie, but also Sharon. 

Sharon loves volunteering, too, and has spent time working at the front desk. After she and Jodie get their own place, she plans to continue volunteering at the Mission. “They’ve helped us so much and I’d love to be able to help someone else.” 

This Christmas, Sharon and Jodie are excited to celebrate the restored hope they have been given—and want you to know just how grateful they are. 

“The Mission gave us a safe place to stay and helped us find a better life.” 


You can change the face of homelessness for other families like Jodie and Sharon this Christmas. Give today to help us meet our year-end giving goals. Every dollar will be matched up to $100,000!  

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