My name is Carol…

September 18, 2009

My Name is Carol and I am 39 years old.  I’m humbled to share with you my story and how I succeeded through UMOM New Day Centers homeless shelter for families. 

My childhood was transient – always moving.  Hard to know growing up what stability is if that’s not what you are used to.  My mother worked a lot and was seldom home.  I grew up on sugar sandwiches…she was never there to cook when I was younger.  By the time I was 13…she finally started to get herself together, but my patterns were mostly formed by then.  That’s why I was 15 with my first child. 

I was 20 when my first daughter was born and 21 when my second daughter came into the world.   I married my daughters’ father and he was abusive before the children, after the children and during the whole relationship.  I always knew that I was supposed to live another way, a better way.  After years of struggling to finalize the divorce, I was finally on my own.

Like so many of the families at UMOM right now… I was employed at a job that I loved, and I lost that job.  I looked for another job everyday.  All I needed was to be able to earn an income and provide for my daughter.

Arriving at UMOM, at first I felt like, how did I get here, what am I doing here, and why me.  I was not so much embarrassed as I was mad at myself for allowing this situation to get to me. 

Having all the UMOM programs here on campus was important because discipline and guidance is one of the main reasons that the majority of us have ended up in this situation that we are in. Knowing my family wouldn’t go hungry meant better sleep at nights.

UMOM’s employment services gave me the opportunity to utilize the different employment engines on the internet, it gave me access to materials that informed of employers that were hiring at the moment.

It gave me one on one counseling with an employment specialist who took her job seriously, she told me what was needed and what was (t.m.i.) too much info, she told us what was proper attire to wear to interviews and took us to employment fairs, she also set us up with real H.R. personnel who conducted mock interviews with us.

Which is how I obtained my job.  Thank you Sue….

As a direct result of Sue’s efforts with employment opportunities, I was able to meet and eventually be hired by a great company.

That’s what UMOM does best……they understand the struggle of finding employment with a record…so do the groups that volunteer at UMOM…all of these working together is so important….it’s how I found  a great job!

The life skills I learned at UMOM are that there is no time like the present.  I am learning organizational skills and I have learned how to prepare for things.  If my life was to get any better than what it was, I had to do something and I had to do it now. 

My biggest success because of UMOM was finding employment.  That has been my biggest barrier to getting back on my feet, getting in somewhere to at least get the chance to prove myself.

My child’s future is now more goal oriented.  She now knows that you can mess up and everything just be gone so she has taken precautions for that not to happen, after she completes her junior year she will be going to South Carolina as a Cadet Private E-2 to train at boot camp in the United States Army…

Because of UMOM, my future is now able to be as bright as the Arizona sun.  I am well on my way to being my definition of a success story.  I say that because this program works if you work it but I am not finished, I still want more. 

I have signed up for the follow up program and will continue to receive guidance from the counselors and the staff at UMOM.  I am more than grateful that I utilized the services available at the shelter and grateful that there is such a program that actually helps those who really want the help.  I am proud to be able to stand here today to say thank you all for your passion in helping me and those other families that need and accept the water that you provide us to drink.

The community support I received at UMOM means a new outlook on life for me and my children.  It has truly humbled me and has given me the desire to help others.  Again, and ongoing THANK YOU.

We all wished it would be cooler when UMOM moved…

August 28, 2009

and we just learned that it will be!   (Be careful what you wish for!)  UMOM New Day Centers will move into our newly remodeled homeless shelter for families on October 10th.

After our General Contractor’s update to the construction committee last Tuesday morning, the committee determined that there are simply too many outstanding issues to be resolved by our General Contractor to allow us to move the clients on September 12th.  After a great deal of consideration by the committee and senior staff, it was determined that the move date would be changed to Saturday, October 10.

Please help us spread the word to those you have contacted about the move! We still have many opportunities to help throughout the months of September/October leading up to the October 10th move. All groups that have already organized a project prior will still be able to carry out those projects. There is plenty to do! If you would like to change your project date, or add another, please contact Jessica and she can work to schedule those.

Thank you again for your patience, heart, and helping hands. The families and staff at UMOM are very excited to move to the new campus on October 10th and are hoping to share this moment of UMOM’s history with you.

To see all the progress and support put into helping prepare our new campus; check out UMOM New Day Centers facebook page.  

Please contact our volunteer coordinator Jessica Gardner if you are available to assist, jgardner@umom.org 602-889-0859. 

Thanks for your help … and your flexibility!

My name is Miriam. I am a forty eight year old homeless mother of two.

August 21, 2009

***The following story is in Marian’s own words***

I will begin by telling the story of my past, and the circumstances, which have brought me to UMOM.

I was born in Montreal Canada on September 28th, 1960 and adopted to my parents at the age of three months. My parents, both caring and successful, had full intentions of raising a family of eight adopted children from different ethnic backgrounds. I was a good student in my younger years.

As a child I was always drawn to healthcare.  Often I could be found watching surgical procedures instead of cartoons.  When I turned 16, my parents divorced and I was devastated.  Staying at home was just too painful for me, so I left my family home and set out on my own. I spent many years traveling around the world, visiting underprivileged countries and learning about other cultures.  During this time, I saw starvation, lack of healthcare and suffering that I never new existed.  I developed a yearning to help sick and the needy people that never left me.

After visiting the United States, I met my first husband and had a son, Aaron.  I was granted permanent resident status in 1985. My husband and I decided to make our home in Anchorage Alaska.  We created and maintained two successful businesses and gave back to our community when we could. Ten years later, having grown apart, we decided to end our marriage. At the age of thirty, I remarried and had a second son, Terrance, who resides with me now.

After divorcing once again, at the age of forty, my second son and I moved from Anchorage to Phoenix to try to rebuild our lives.  It was a devastating breakup and both my son and I experienced a great sense of loss. I created a plan to pursue my education and to obtain my degree in nursing. 

I settled in Phoenix, met a man, and moved into a nice home in Mesa. I put my education on hold to help support my family, working as a waitress during the day and being a home maker and mother at night. 

Thus begins my downward spiral.

In 2001 my son’s father showed up on my doorstep from Hawaii.  My ex husband and my boyfriend got into a fist fight in front of our house and I was upset, got into the car after I had been drinking and was pulled over.  I completed all the terms of this sentence with flying colors, however in taking care of these terms, I had to miss several shifts at work and, eventually, lost my job, then my house.  All of our belongings went into a storage unit and we moved into a weekly rental in Tempe.

My ex-boyfriend took everything I owned from our house and our storage shed, including my vehicle, and destroyed anything that was left over. All of my documents (immigration documents, green card, etc.) were gone.

Once again having to start over, with no family in United States for support, I was devastated. Finding a job was impossible without any of my immigration documents and replacing them cost money I did not have.  I had enough money left over to rent a small studio for my son and I, but soon, the money ran out.  Being resourceful, I learned that I could recycle metal for pennies. We were able to stay at friends houses, on and off, until my son and I were literally living on the streets of  Phoenix. 

In 2005, we were officially homeless. My homelessness effected every aspect of my life, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Shame and regret consumed me. 

Not having any identification to prove my residency made the next years of my life almost unbearable. I was not able to obtain employment or get any assistance for my desperate situation.  I struggled continuously every day to keep going, seeking help from local churches. Terrance would go to school during the day and we would meet on the lawn at 4.00pm of the Salvation Army every afternoon.  They would take us to different churches throughout the neighborhood, were we would get fed a good meal and a cot to sleep on for the night.  We did this every day for three weeks.

In July 2007, the last day of my stay at the Salvation Army, I was a victim of a violent assault by a stranger while scrapping for metal. I was injured with a slit throat and over 40 cuts on my body and taken to the hospital.  My son spent the next 10 hours alone at the Salvation Army not knowing if I was dead or alive. I remained in my hospital bed in shock, full of pain killers, not knowing where I was. 

Because I was homeless, the hospital sent me back to the church in an ambulance after 10 hours, despite the seriousness of my injuries.  I reunited with my son and the church brought me to a domestic violence shelter, where I was allowed to stay for thirty days.  I continued recycling metal to make a few dollars to survive, in spite of the trauma from the assault. After our stay at that shelter was over, I found a room for my son at Tumbleweed Homeless Shelter for teens so I could be sure that he was safe.  Meanwhile, I continued to recycle metal so I could pay his program fees and continued my stay on the streets of Phoenix.

As the time ran out for my sons stay at Tumbleweed, I found UMOM New Day Centers, a family emergency shelter in Phoenix.  My son and I were accepted into the program after being on a waiting list for six weeks. 

Thus begins my salvation. 

At UMOM’s homeless shelter for families, I began to rebuild my life.  After accomplishing what I needed to, my son and I were accepted into the 2 year transitional program at UMOM. As far as I am concerned, UMOM New Day Centers saved my life.

Since I began my residency at UMOM, I completed all that was expected of me and I continue to maintain my responsibilities in the program to this day.  With the help of the UMOM Employment Specialist, I was able to begin the process of acquiring the necessary immigration documents and birth records for both my son and myself. It would take six months to receive my green card and to receive the information from Canada that had been destroyed. During this waiting period, I personally sought out counseling services from Dynamic Living to heal the trauma I had experienced.

With no immigration documents, my options were still limited, but I was able to graduate the Goodwill Computer Class through Gateway Community College.  Finally, after receiving my immigration paper work, I became eligible for DES and TANF benefits. This allowed me to keep up with my program fees at the shelter and get a cell phone. Meanwhile, the Employment Specialist and I worked on updating my resume, while my case manager created a case plan and helped me stay on track with my goals.  I was referred to Vocational Rehabilitation, received a vocational case plan, and was able to get help with education expenses and my rehabilitation needs.  I worked with the on site Crisis Counselors at the shelter when I needed emotional support and took full advantage of any help that was offered to me for my full financial, emotional and spiritual recovery.

With the help of Vocational Rehabilitation, and my Employment Specialist, I revisited and recreated my plan to pursue my education and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. 

For the first time, it seemed this dream was actually going to come true.  I forged on ahead, letting nothing stand in my way.  Since beginning school, I have been awarded several scholarships and have won awards for my academic achievements.  I currently maintain a 4.0 GPA.  I am so proud of my accomplishments in the last year and a half, and I finally feel that I have become the person I have always knew was buried beneath my pain.

I feel the experiences I have been through have made me stronger and more focused.  I have no more time to waste.  I have a lot to give as a person who has lived through some extreme situations and I have learned some powerful, and painful, lessons.   I have confronted and addressed my demons, faced my past, and believe that I have rehabilitated myself.  With help from my new support system and some new, healthier tools of survival, I am confident I will never revisit that life.

I am dedicated to my education and to give back to my new community, paying it forward whenever possible. I have truly changed the course of my life and I am committed to being an upstanding citizen in my community.  I count my blessings every day.

UMOM New Day Centers Culinary Arts Program

August 14, 2009

Do you see yourself as a chef, restaurateur?  Or perhaps you picture yourself as a baker, pastry chef, cake decorator, or bakery café owner. Do you have the experience and credentials you need to gain access into the restaurant world? 

According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry now employs nearly 13 million people and is expected to add two million jobs over the next decade.* Skilled, dependable workers are in demand to fill those positions.  

UMOM New Day Centers Culinary Class Graduates

UMOM New Day Centers Culinary Class Graduates

UMOM New Day Centers, Arizona’s largest shelter for homeless families helps prepare clients with the experience and credentials they need to become the chef they dream of, or the pastry chef they never thought they could. 

 The UMOM New Day Culinary Arts Program, lead by Chef Donovan Rainbolt, is 12 weeks long, plus a two-week internship at the end.  The program focus is to introduce the “Culinary World” to UMOM’s clients who have not had the chance to experience it and to those who need a refresher.  While in the class they learn all the basic kitchen skills from the proper form of holding a knife to creating a menu with a nutritional breakdown.

While enrolled, they have several opportunities to gain hands-on knowledge and experience, including:  

  • Daycare food:  The students study the different food programs that UMOM follows to garner an understanding about the many different guidelines that restaurants, shelters, and institutional kitchens have to follow.  They also assist with preparing food for UMOM’s childcare programming.  Since the class has been in place, three UMOM graduates have gone on to work at other shelter/soup kitchens, including Native Connections and Salvation Army.
  • Client food: As a class lesson, students create menus for lunches served at UMOM, as well as in-house dinners, for which they must stay within budget.  This gives each student the opportunity to be chef for a day, work with and lead peers, create his/her own dish, and build a sense of pride and self-confidence.  To date, four students have obtained work in different restaurant-style kitchens, including The Left Seat, Phoenix Pizza and Subs, and The Ritz.
  • Catering:  UMOM has an entire catering operation at its facilities, which provides a host of opportunities for the culinary students.  Catering has very rigid guidelines from sanitation, ordering, and pricing per person as compared to institutional cooking. This element is very valuable to the UMOM New Day Culinary Arts Program because it teaches students how to conduct themselves with the public.  This is important for people who are homeless, as often they are shy or insecure with strangers.  This program helps them develop self-confidence and learn how to communicate well with the public – and the communications skills they develop also help them prepare for job interviews.  Since UMOM began its catering component, one student has gone on to work with Continental Catering.  
  • Ordering/ Dry Storage:  Students learn about food handling; how to check in large orders of meats, fruits, vegetables, and other items; how to extra attention to the treatment of frozen foods, and how food orders are to be received.  UMOM has taken culinary students on tours of Sysco’s warehouse to observe its ordering and storage methods, as well as a number of food shows.  Two of our graduates have gone on to become store room managers at The Left Seat and A.J.’s.  Another four graduates have become waitresses or cooks at local restaurants and used the skills they learned by completing our program.

When the students graduate, they receive a food handler’s card and a Chef’s jacket.  They also earn a Certificate for program completion and, for many of our clients, it is the first certificate they ever have earned – and it truly is a point of pride for them and their family.

Whose life will your donation touch?

August 7, 2009

One of the most vital services provided by UMOM New Day Centers is the redistribution of items donated by the public.  All of the clothing, appliances, furniture and other usable donations received provide a direct benefit to the homeless children and adults of UMOM.

  • All UMOM New Day Centers Families receive clothing upon arrival – Clothing donations should be clean and undamaged; please consider the self-respect of those who will wear your old clothes. By giving our homeless clients only the clothing we would wear ourselves, we’re valuing them as people and as equals. 
  • Clothing donations are especially needed by the women staying at the Watkins Overflow Shelter who have limited articles of clothing which wear out quickly and must be replaced often.
  • Our Domestic Violence Shelter is able to provide families with donated clothes which are critical for mothers and young children who must flee their homes because of domestic violence or abuse. Often these women and children leave under dangerous circumstances with only the clothes on their backs.
  • Employment services are able to provide families with suitable business clothing to interview in and then once employment is secured, properly outfit them for their new position.  
  • Housekeeping is able to provide families with items such as bedding, towels, and hygiene items.
  • Follow-Up services can assist homeless families re-entering housing with needed household items such as blankets, kitchenware and personal care products as well as essential items such as mattresses, dressers, kitchen tables, sofas and chairs.  All items must have no tears or stains and be structurally sound.
  • Families earn vouchers to obtain additional clothing and household items enabling those on limited income to stretch their budget farther.
  • Provide a revenue source for UMOM New Day Centers.  Clothes that are in poor condition, stained, torn or otherwise unusable are sold for recycling. 

Please continue your support! Your donation can make a big difference in the lives of children and adults in need.

Donation Drop Off:

UMOM New Day Centers                   Mon-Fri 9:00AM-3:00PM

3320 E. Van Buren                              602-275-7852

Phoenix, AZ 85008

 

** New Facility as of September 7, 2009:

UMOM New Day Centers                   Mon-Fri 9:00AM-3:00PM

3333 E. Van Buren                              602-275-7852

Phoenix, AZ 85008

The Power of Volunteering!

July 31, 2009

Volunteers are an important part of UMOM New Day Centers. We need volunteers to lend their expertise in a variety of areas — administrative, counseling, painting, cooking, construction, gardening, teaching, and so much more.   When you volunteer, it not only makes a difference in someone else’s life, but it brings joy to your life. 

Have you ever had a volunteer experience that gave you joy, made you feel appreciated, or left a lasting impression?

We thought we would share with you a volunteer experience that did indeed leave a lasting impression:

Volunteers – even after almost 20 years they still remember – that’s the power of volunteering! 

From: John

Hello Candace,

It was nice meeting you today – and talking about the UMOM restoration/construction project I was involved with years ago.  I thought maybe you’d like to know more about it – so, I’m forwarding some emails between Salli, my wife Kay, and myself.

John

From: John

Salli,

I’m forwarding Kay’s email and information about the UMOM project that I participated in with her office – some years back.  It was fun, and we did a great job (if I may say so) on restoring the two burned out units into one larger family unit, and then furnishing it with things from our homes, including linens, blankets, etc….  Thought you might like to know about this.

John

From: John
Kay,

Salli spent last Thursday – with a group she belongs to – painting one of UMOM’s facilities. 

See her email below, for a group activity she is encouraging our office to participate in – on September 19th….. 

The reason for this email….  I thought I’d tell Salli about your office’s participation with UMOM and the rebuilding and furnishing of the partially burned unit at the UMOM property over on Van Buren Street (somewhere).  Can you tell me what you remember, what, where, when, etc., so that I can tell her about it.  I remember helping with construction work, and we donated some furniture.

John

From: Kay
When I was working for AT&T, we became involved in a project to give back to the community.  We renovated two apartments at the UMOM location on Van Buren.  The apartments had burned.  We made the two apartments into one large apartment.  We had to remove walls, burned wood, drywall, etc. then rebuild.  People donated their time, materials, tools, furniture, etc.  It took months to do and we got teams of people to come in each weekend.  One employee’s husband spearheaded the construction work and did a lot of the work.  But everyone chipped in.  This project included different divisions at AT&T  so it wasn’t just our workgroup.  It was a great team building exercise and made everyone feel good, including the family that was able to move into it.  We were able to meet the family once the apartment was finished.

In addition, we spent a day painting the fencing around the property one day.

Don’t remember when this took place, but it was probably 20 years ago.

K

Heartwarming family; keeping their eyes on the future. *Names have been changed.

July 24, 2009

March 2009

Maria  and Jesse entered the UMOM emergency shelter program on 1/6/09 with their 5 month old son, Johnny.  This is the family’s first time being homeless. 

 Before entering UMOM, neither had a high school diploma.  Additionally, Jesse was experiencing severe vision problems.  This made it difficult for the couple to find secure employment with adequate income.  With income at such a low level, the couple did not have the financial resources to live together and raise their child in a home.

 Since moving into UMOM, Maria and Jesse have enrolled in and begun attending full-time classes to obtain their GEDs. 

 Sam now has medical coverage through AHCCCS, has completed several eye exams, and is following up with referrals to specialists to develop a treatment plan. 

Johnny is happy and healthy, and when he is not feeling well, he always enjoys a visit to our nurse at UMOM.  The family recently applied for and was accepted into our transitional housing program. 

 The family plans to continue saving money, obtain their GEDs, continue with treatment for Jesse’s vision problems, and find employment while raising their son together.

July 2009

There is much more to the story.  He has had his first corneal transplant last week; and actually saw out of the eye last Friday.  He will have the second one in a few months. 

He has been approved for SSI—-so this should help the family with their income until they are back on their feet. 

 They are both working on their GED’s; and are determined to continue their education now that they are well on their way.

Most excitedly, they are expecting their second baby in January. 

They are such a nice family.  She has totally been his eyes and the manager of the family.  I can tell already that he is ready to step into his place…

More families falling into homelessness! More reasons to be inspired?

July 10, 2009

 

UMOM New Day Centers isn’t surprised by recent news releases reporting the rise in the number of homeless families across our country.  UMOM’s main campus for homeless families received 134 requests for service more than we could provide service for in the month of June.

To see the full story: http://tinyurl.com/lfsqqd

So with stories like this that can leave you with a heavy heart, it may seem difficult to find good stories that inspire or uplift you.

Here at UMOM New Day Centers shelter for homeless families, we are inspired and uplifted everyday.  How do you ask? 

While it may seem very simple, helping others is a powerful thing. 

We are inspired by the homeless families of UMOM who everyday make great strides to regaining their self-sufficiency.  They uplift all of us with their commitment and dedication to creating a stable and healthy home for their children.

We are inspired by the endless number of volunteers who give their gift of time and energy.  We are uplifted by the support of the community. We are uplifted by the generosity of our donors.

If you are looking to read stories that will inspire and lift you, maybe we can help.  We have developed this blog as a way to share our stories and to inspire others to help.

We hope you will come back each Friday for another inspiring and uplifting story.  You can also follow us on Twitter: @umom, Facebook  & YouTube by searching for UMOM New Day Centers.

BUILDING FOR A NEW DAY

June 24, 2009

 

It all began in June of 1964, when the Arizona Methodist Church Extension Society (AMCES) began an urban ministries program to provide relief for transients. In the early 1970’s, programs were expanded and in 1973, the Metropolitan Phoenix Council (MEPCO) was created to reflect a broader geographic scope of the United Methodist Outreach program and also addressed problems of hunger by providing direct services and opening a food bank.

1985 brought the creation of the Southwest Desert Conference and the dissolution of MEPCO.  The Southwest Desert Conference incorporated United Methodist Outreach Ministries, Inc. (UMOM) to coordinate national and local mission projects.  

In 1989, homelessness became more apparent, numbers increased so rapidly that UMOM, with the support of the City of Phoenix and City of Mesa, started overflow shelters.  Homeless individuals were bused to the shelters, housed in armories, churches or abandoned hotel or wherever space could be found.  Churches volunteered to provide an evening meal to the residents of this shelter program.

In 1992, UMOM began to offer shelter for some singles and 15 families with 32 children in an emergency shelter program by renting rooms at the site of the old Sands Resort Motel near 32nd Street and Van Buren.  In 1994, with the assistance of the City, State and Desert Southwest Conference, UMOM purchased the 7 1/2 acre facility.

Programs were expanded to include SW Human Developments Head Start program for the children, a full service kitchen, a thrift store to provide free or inexpensive clothing to the families, and case management were provided, and a life-skills and educational program were developed.  During these years, the center expanded to provide emergency and transitional shelter to 96 families, serving more than 300 men, women and children nightly.

UMOM New Day Centers quickly became Arizona’s largest homeless shelter for families.

In 2005, as UMOM looked to the future, it was evident that the 60 year-old Sands Resort Motel was aging quickly and no longer able to meet the agencies needs. Plans were made to replace the Sands Hotel with a larger facility, capable of accommodating UMOM’s expanding programs, staff members and families. 

In 2006, the $18 Million HELP (Housing, Employment, Learning and Purpose) campaign began with a church campaign under the leadership of Bishop Minerva Carcano as Honorary Chair and Rev. Dr. Kelly Bender as Chair. The church portion of the campaign raised the first $2.5 million and from there, $6.5 million in Government funds were secured. The remaining $9 million was raised from foundations, corporations, and generous individuals under the leadership of Doug and Gwen Parker and Andy and Lucy McCain as campaign co-chairs.

Within three short years, the ambitious funding goal was met.  It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for…TIME FOR A NEW DAY…

The outpouring of support for this campaign has been phenomenal.  “We are grateful to have the generous support of the United Methodist community behind us. Paradise Valley United Methodist Church was the first contributor to the campaign with a gift of $500,000 followed by more than $2Million from generous congregation members. They were instrumental in starting our campaign off with the momentum it needed to be successful.” says Darlene Newsom, UMOM CEO.

Funds raised from the campaign are being used for the purchase and renovation of the Days Inn and Super 8 hotels located across the street.  UMOM is scheduled to move their staff, programs and families into the renovated facility later this summer.

The new campus will complete UMOM’s expansion and as funds become available, provide support to a total of 156 families or more than 550 individuals everyday — two-thirds of whom will be children.

The new facility will also have a larger and updated dining facility able to deliver three nutritious meals per day and support the Culinary Training Program.  The expanded childcare Development Center will be able to support an increase from 80 up to 120 children plus offer childcare for infants to age 5.  The expanded Wellness Center will provide permanent on-site care replacing a current twice per week mobile resource offering counseling, child development screen, medical screening, and referrals for medical and dental needs. 

On the current campus none of the rooms have cooking facilities.  On the new campus, all of transitional units will include kitchenettes, allowing families to enjoy meals together as a family and learn everyday cooking and budgeting skills.

 The Clothes Closet will continue to seek donations of clothing in new or gently used condition to help meet the family’s basic needs of clothing.  Donations of hygiene items, baby furniture, towels, bedding, housewares, pots, pans and dishes will continue to help UMOM meet the everyday basic needs of the families.  The Clothes Closet will close to the public with the move and as a result, will no longer be able to accept donations of knick-knacks and other miscellaneous items.

The impact of this new facility is immense – increased housing capacity for families, providing safer more secure living, enhanced and improved services, specialized domestic violence support, and a large indoor space for family and teen activities.

This recent testimony and story from Marcella truly epitomizes how important UMOM New Day Centers programs and services are for families: “I am a strong independent person who wants more than anything to be able to provide for my family. However, like many these days, I have found myself in a situation that I never thought I would – homeless! We arrived at UMOM on my son’s birthday. Not the gift you want to give your child. Even though it is homeless shelter and not where anyone wants to find themselves, I knew that it was a start to getting back on our feet. And UMOM is more than a shelter. It has everything you need. The case managers provide guidance, and that is exactly what I needed. The employment program helped me recognize barriers to employment and the confidence to resolve them. And most importantly – UMOM’s education program has allowed me to do something I would never have done, study for my GED. I know my GED will mean everything – it will help me to obtain better employment, help create opportunities for me that I would never have had. Because of UMOM, our future is brighter, we have something to look forward to – our life will be stable, secure, and full of options!”

The ability to complete this campaign during these challenging economic times is a true testament to the community’s support of UMOM’s ability to provide needed services for homeless families.

As we look to the future, UMOM has rolled right into the phase II of the capital campaign with a goal of an additional $5 million to complete the project. So, if you didn’t have a chance to donate yet to UMOM’s capital campaign, you still have the opportunity!

Volunteers are needed to help ready the new campus and assist with moving programs, staff and families.  To learn how you can get involved, contact UMOM at 602-275-7852 or visit www.umom.org.