The biggest reason I enjoy my duties at Helping Up Mission is the guys whom I serve. The men in our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program average 39 years of age, 19 years of active addiction and 3 years of incarceration. They come here to begin working on their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Most guys quickly embrace the family atmosphere we try to foster here. Our house is now their house and they have certain responsibilities to keep their house nice. So, one of the first things that happens to them once they join our Program is that they are assigned a work therapy assignment. Almost every aspect of the Mission is carried on daily by Program members. Under staff supervision, they run food service, environmental services, the laundry, maintenance, security, transportation, our Innovative Learning Center and the Program Office. They are also responsible for the supervision of our Overnight Guest Services which provides nightly food, clothing and shelter for up to 50 homeless men, every night of the year.
While every man does not exactly act like a diamond in the rough, many are very conscientious about their responsibilities to God and the house. This became particularly evident to me again recently, as we opened our brand new Overnight Guest Services dorm on the lowest level of our renovated 1029 East Baltimore Street building. In recent days, Louis had been a frequent guest of our Overnight program. He is in a wheelchair and our men have come to know and appreciate him.
But the entrance to our Overnight Guest Services dorm is down a flight of stairs that would be very difficult to navigate Louis down in the evening and up again in the morning. Our men who oversee this program were very concerned that Louis would not be able to access our building so they interceded with our staff on his behalf. We built this new building to care for the men we serve and they wanted to be sure Louis was not left out.
Of course, the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore and the Helping Up Mission Board of Directors were also concerned about Louis (and others!), so they legally and physically tied our two adjacent building (1023 and 1029 East Baltimore Street) together. Louis is supposed to get on the elevator located in 1023 and then join everybody else in the 1029 dorm.
I am glad we can still take care of Louis, but I am just as happy about the love and care the men in our Spiritual Recovery Program have for those whom they have been called to serve. This is a great place to be – for Louis and me.
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director