Helping Up Mission 2016 Graduation Banquet

We are very excited this year’s Graduation Banquet, taking place on Sunday April 24th, at Martin’s West. We are expecting 1,500 guests including a variety of community leaders… all celebrating the successes more than 125 men who have broken the grip of addiction and homelessness, and graduated from our one year Spiritual Recovery Program in the past 12 months!

Our banquet theme is “Inspiring Hope”. 500 men receiving help at HUM are on a journey of spiritual recovery and self-discovery that is inspiring hope in each life. In turn, the men are inspiring hope in their families, relationships, communities and workplaces as they return as men of character and contribution. It’s our prayer that you know YOU inspire hope in these men – and their families – through your prayers, encouragement and faithful giving!

And when you support the banquet, as a sponsor or ticket purchaser, or with a gift to celebrate the men, you are helping us reach our $400,000 banquet fundraising goal which helps our annual campaign provide for the needs of 500 men who need us to help them break the life-threatening grip of addiction and homelessness to discover a new life.

Tickets, Sponsorships, and Gifts

Individual tickets – Individual seats are available for $50.

Sponsorships – Sponsorship levels begin at $500 (Circle of Faith) and include the option of up to 10 seats at the banquet. Sponsorship gifts of $1,000-$2,499 (Circle of Hope) provide up to 20 seats. 

Celebration Gifts – Even if you choose not to attend, you can give a celebration gift, providing seats for graduates and family members who attend at no cost.


This Old Dog’s Got Some New Tricks!

Under the impression it would make him cool and popular, Jacob started drinking alcohol at age 14. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out…but the two of them did develop a cozy relationship and spent many years together — including through a marriage, children and a couple careers.

A former teacher, Jacob describes his 20 years before age 40 as an “alcoholic-in-training.” By 40 he’d graduated — with honors — as a certificated full-blown alcoholic!

At that point, drinking was no longer a party. It had become a daily chore — a job, which he really didn’t enjoy, but had to be finished every day.

Jacob worked until alcohol wouldn’t let him — in July 2012. By then, he’d drink until he passed out…and be angry he was still alive in the morning.

Jacob had been to recovery programs…and a few psych wards. He also had active spurts in Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, in October 2014, when he arrive for our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program at Helping Up Mission, he was already a few months sober.

Jacob remembers how he felt upon entering our front door. What he calls “the collective aura of HUM” immediately helped him feel at home…and the knot in the back of his neck slowly started to loosen.

On Saturday, at age 60, Jacob celebrated 2 years clean. He said it’s the longest time ever — since he started drinking at 14.

Now a HUM grad and still living in graduate transitional housing on our campus, Jacob’s also enrolled to be a 60-year old college freshman — studying addiction counseling.

He’s got something new he wants to pass on to others who might appreciate it.

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Jacob and me — guess which one of these old guys has only been clean for 2 years!
Sometimes the new guys at HUM get us confused.

One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Mentor Mo from the Projects!

Moses grew up in Baltimore’s inner city projects. He drank alcohol and smoked weed off-and-on for years…but once he tried heroin, at age 27, he couldn’t stop.

Couldn’t stop for almost 3 years…but Mo didn’t like the guy he became — and went into detox. When it was over, he was still craving the drug — so he decided he needed to do a lot more recovery work.

Moses’ family hooked him up with Helping Up Mission and he joined our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program in November 2014. The first few weeks were hard — still feeling the effects of withdrawal and still wanting to use.

But Mo also wanted a different way of life. So he focused the best he could, made some serious spiritual connections and hung out with people who were thinking like he was.

It worked!

Mo started feeling better about himself, which just intensified his efforts. He also made a choice to access all the things we do here — which he believed would help him in the future.

Beyond diligently doing his daily classes and work therapy responsibilities, Mo went to our Innovative Learning Center and started working on his High School diploma. He also signed up to take every afternoon elective group meeting we have –we call it HUM University — and received 8 certificates.

Mo also joined our HUM Back on My Feet running team and began networking with all the other BoMF folks outside of here.

Upon graduation from HUM one year later, Mo had his Maryland High School diploma, Maryland driver’s license and a job mentoring inner city children in Baltimore — and he thinks he’s found his calling!

Mo moved off campus last week but stopped by class this week and shared his story. It was inspiring to the new guys sitting there.

Inspired me, too!

One Guy at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Been a Great Year…Think I’ll Go Live at HUM!

All the undergraduates in our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program today arrived here in 2015. That means it wasn’t a great year for any of them.

No one said, “Things are going great for me…think I’ll go live at Helping Up Mission!”

So, on Monday, in class I asked guys what they’re optimistic about for 2016. I was inspired by what I heard.

Two guys who arrived just before the holidays were Eddy and Bobby.

Eddy’s in his 40’s and arrived here with virtually no hope for the future. He didn’t come to HUM looking for answers; he was just desperate for some relief from his addiction.

But the first thing that happened to him here was a spiritual reawakening. Reconnecting to God, Eddy started to feel hope and purpose again.

Announcing, “I’m really optimistic about my life in 2016,” he shared about spending the weekend with family again — first time in a while!

Eddy had starting changing on the inside. Family could see it on the outside. And they were all feeling pretty good about 2016!

Bobby’s in his early 30’s and has battled alcohol addiction for over 22 years. He shared that, when he arrived at HUM in early November, he just wanted to die.

Hating himself and his life, Bobby just couldn’t think of any good reason to prolong it.

Family got him to HUM and, once here, Bobby also made a spiritual reconnection. Getting honest about his own issues, he found liberation and empowerment for his soul.

Bobby shared about how good it feels to believe again. And now — with a purpose for his life again — he’s starting to make plans and take steps toward becoming the man he once knew he could be!

I love my job!
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Steven’s HS Diploma, MD Driver’s License & Last Supper

Steven stopped by my classroom last week to say hi and I got him to share his story with the class. He arrived at Helping Up Mission for our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program in November 2011 and was desperate to find help to overcome his heroin and cocaine addiction.

Consequently, Steven was willing to take suggestions. Doing what we advised, he also took advantage of every opportunity available here.

There was an inexpensive framed print of DaVinci’s Last Supper on the wall of my classroom that reminded Steven of his grandmother’s house. So, while still a new guy at HUM, one day in class he asked if he could have it.

I didn’t want to set a precedent of guys asking for everything in the room, so I said “I’ll give it to you the day you graduate” — about 10 months later!

Well, he did…and I gave Steven the print…and he was grateful. But then he said, “I want you to keep it and put it back on the wall in the classroom. Hopefully it’ll inspire someone else to graduate, too!”

It’s still there today…with an inscription — Print Donated by Steven B… 2012 HUM  Graduate

But the pic wasn’t all Steven earned that year at HUM. He also received his Maryland high school diploma and Maryland driver’s license!

But not having a great place to go and nor feeling it was the right time to leave, Steven decided to stay on campus in graduate transitional housing and continued working here as a graduate intern.

But a later chance meeting with another guy in recovery got Steven a job offer — almost 3 years ago. Today he lives near work, but stops by HUM regularly.

He likes to visit the picture!

Steven's HS Diploma, MD Driver's License & Last Supper 1

One Day at a Time,

Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Come Home? Absolutely Not!

Five months ago Craig, 38, was struggling with his addiction. He had loving parents who cared about him…but this Craig wasn’t the same guy they knew and raised.

Just before arriving at Helping Up Mission for our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program, Craig spent a day with his parents and things went pretty well — so he suggested he might go home with them and stay a few days.

“Absolutely not,” was his father’s quick reply!

It devastated Craig…he felt rejected and unloved. Then — to make matters worse — his parents offered to bring him to HUM!

While Craig knew mom and dad were hurting, he was in so much self-inflicted pain, he couldn’t really consider their feelings. And upon arrival here, Craig felt absolutely hopeless.

He spent a lot of time with me — telling me about his pain.

But…day by day, Craig also began sharing insights he was getting about himself and his situation. After two weeks he didn’t even need to talk with me anymore!

Craig availed himself of almost everything we offer at HUM. If we were doing it here, he at least tried it!

When Craig completed the initial 45-day phase of our Program — also ending his blackout period — his parents came to celebrate with him…and even brought him home for an overnight visit.

Yesterday Craig told me he spent Christmas at home with mom and dad. They told him — if he needed a place to live as he was preparing to move on with his life after graduation from HUM — that he was welcome to live back home.

Since his name’s not on a lease anywhere, I suppose Craig is technically still homeless…but, in his heart, he feels homeless no more!

One Family at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Now, That’s Christmas Stuff!

For weeks now, friends of Helping Up Mission have been providing gifts for our men to give to their children at Christmas. We’ve been the recipients of a ton of stuff!

See — here and here.

Yesterday, Drew and Glen’s “Winter Apparel Drive” showed up here and our guys got another load of stuff for themselves and loved ones.

Then today, Christmas Eve morning, the folks from Giving Back, Linda’s Legacy were here in-mass. Carrying on the 30-year good work of Linda Greenburg in the greater Baltimore area, the GBLL family had their kick-off meeting in our Chapel.

All day long they’ll be distributing warm clothing to the city’s homeless. Of course, before they departed, they also left boxes and boxes of things for our men to have during 2016.

But the best part of the whole day was the attitude of guys here at HUM. Man after man came up to me — looked me square in the eye — and sincerely shared how grateful he was for all the work we did to help them make Christmas wonderful for their children.

Yet, even more than that…when we finished this afternoon — because of schedules and responsibilities — some guys weren’t able to get some things they’d hoped to have for their kids.

We really didn’t have anything else left…but, to a man, they said to me, “Well, that’s okay you guys still did a lot for all of us!”

Now That’s Christmas Stuff!

When we have more gratitude than we do things, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

So, to all our wonderful friends who’ve supported us all year — and especially at this holiday season — all the men of HUM send their thanks, gratitude and appreciation!

“A merry Christmas to us all!”
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Christmas for Mitch & the Kids

Over the weekend the Taylor Foundation and Taylor Technologies hosted 30+ Helping Up Mission guys at a Christmas-gifts-for-kids-of-HUM-men event!

This year the foundation sent over 27,500 boxes of Christmas gifts to Third World countries and also supported the children of men in our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program.

The Manchester Blue Sox baseball team and others also showed — including Nick, the 1,000th grad in HUM history who, today, lives and works in the greater Baltimore area!

Together we wrapped over 2,000 individual gifts for HUM kids!

Interestingly, many of our guys who went to wrap were not fathers of the children who would receive these gifts! They just wanted to help someone else. One of them was Mitch.

An energetic young guy, Mitch has a passion for life. And appreciating the way drugs made him feel, he thought they would really help him put it all together.

They didn’t…

So, at 26, Mitch managed to lose his children, marriage and career. Arriving at HUM, he was ready to try something different. But it wasn’t easy settling in here and “taking suggestions” from our staff.

But Mitch wanted to change and was open to hearing what we were saying. It took a little while, but his mind cleared and he decided to get with the Program.

It’s been 4 months and we talk quite a bit, now. Mitch is amazed how often God shows up in so many different ways in his life on a daily basis.

Of course, I told him God’s been doing this kind of thing for him all along, he just wasn’t “tuned in!”

So, this Christmas there’ll be lots of happy HUM kids…and quite a few grateful — and growing — HUM dads!


One Life at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

It’s A Very Merry HUM Christmas!

Helping Up Mission has been operating in Baltimore since 1885, always focused on the community’s disenfranchised citizens. Today we have 8 different programs with 500 men in residence — most in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

While we have wonderful year-round support from some special partnering organizations and the community as a whole, during the holidays — between Thanksgiving and New Year — the men of HUM are inundated with blessing of food, clothing and even gifts they can pass on to loved ones.

For the 9th year in a row, the folks at BPFE have provided Christmas gifts for the children of HUM men. Last week guys went to Target and picked out the gifts, themselves.

Afterwards, in class, some shared their thoughts with me.

Brandon actually got his gifts wrapped and to the house before his daughter got home from school that day. Dad, who’s living here and not at home, was able to put the first gifts under the Christmas tree for her!

She was so excited and dad was having his best day in a long time. For Brandon, it felt good to be clean and responsible.

Donnie came to HUM from another state. Last year he promised his daughter a special gift for this Christmas and it’s probably the one thing that has bothered him most about being here — there was no way he could get her that gift!

But Donnie was able to go to Target and purchase exactly what he promised — and even had enough left over to buy her something extra!

HUM is blessed by having so many wonderful friends in the community who believe in what we do and step up to make a difference in the lives of our guys…and their families!

Merry HUM Christmas to All!
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director

Phil’s Anonymous Friend

I got a 5-page update from Phil last week…about his daily work responsibilities here at HUM.

In our Learning Center he helps men earn their high school diplomas. Phil’s focus is teaching basic computer skills — now required for all Maryland High School diplomas.

Phil’s first assignment last fall was an older HUM man with no appreciation for computers. A good Alcoholics Anonymous guy, himself, Phil didn’t even tell me this man’s name. I’ll just call him Anonymous.

Anonymous, 60, was working on his high school diploma but despised computers. Phil asked A what he really wanted to do on the computer.

His response was to be able to email his sister, catch the daily Orioles sports news and read the New York Post online!

So they got started…first with keyboard basics, then the internet. By the end of their first week, A created his own email account, composed and sent messages to his teachers, and accessed his account on his own.

The next week A send his first message to his sister. She was so happy to hear from him…and they began corresponding back and forth.

Meanwhile A was now checking Orioles scores and news. He also realized he didn’t need to spend $1.50 for the NY Post because he was reading it online.

Brother and sister became pen pals as she could see the new man he was becoming — the man she always knew he could be. It was so powerful, she invited A for Thanksgiving.

A’s brother, with whom he’d hardly spoken for a decade, was also there. Sis had been telling him about the different A she had come to know.

They had a great conversation together. Bro even drove A back to HUM and asked to be included in the email stream!

Anonymous was overcome with joy…and Phil was pretty moved by it all…me, too!

Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director