Helping Up Mission Alumni Association

Last Saturday about 30 graduates of our Spiritual Recovery Program  joined me at another Alumni Association meeting.  We had a great meal prepared by our kitchen and some wonderful sharing. These meetings are always meaningful to me, as I hear guys telling about their spiritual recovery journeys.
On Saturday, 2 of the earliest graduates on my watch were in attendance.  I became the Spiritual Life Director here in 2000 and Dale and Tyrone arrived in 2001, both graduating the next year.  Each shared what God has done in their lives since then – one with 10 years at the same job, high school diploma and college degree; the other now married and holding leadership responsibilities at church – it all made me feel like a proud papa.
Also attending were 2 of our newest graduates, Mike and Pat – one whom is in college and the other joined our staff.  Sandwiched in between were a whole bunch of grads from other years who also willingly shared their stories, as well.  Richard, a 2011 graduate showed off his new teeth, thanks to our Dr. Mary Lashley’s dental program here and the University of Maryland Dental School.  Maurice got his job when he was here, has been promoted twice and is now a site manager.  Bill shared about his 5 years with the same company – who gave his a chance despite his background – and also about being reunited with his son.  Bill also played music the next morning at our Sunday chapel service here. 
John was also here.  He showed up at another alumni meeting 7 months ago and brought another graduate, Jim, with him. Jim got honest that day and admitted he was struggling.  We encouraged him to come back “home” (that is how guys talk about this place) and let us help him.  Jim did, and graduated from our 6-month Graduate Spiritual Recovery Program last month.  Way to go Jim and John.  At this Saturday’s meeting, Reggie shared that he needed to find a job and got a couple of offers of help (including from the site manager) before the meeting was over. Jeff, who also works on our staff, suggested a special day when our alumni come out in-force and serve a meal to the underclassmen – as a visible demonstration of solidarity with them and a means of giving back.
I frequently say I love my job and this is why.  I am grateful to be here and fortunate to be able to see and hear all that is happening in guy’s lives.  A bunch of you have made contributions in your own way to help this process along.  The underclassmen and alumni of Helping Up Mission say thanks.
Still just one day at a time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director
PS If you are an alumnus and want to get in touch with us, contact And, in case you are interested in being a mentor at Helping Up Mission (and our upcoming mentor luncheon on Saturday 7/30), contact