Because of you, thousands of lives have been changed for the better

Welcome to the 2012/2013 UGM Annual Report

UGM 2012/2013 Annual Report

President's Message

I write to you today, with heartfelt gratitude. As Union Gospel Mission enters its 74th year in service of the Metro Vancouver community, I am moved by the compassion and generosity of UGM's donors and supporters. Because of you, thousands of lives have been changed for the better.

Over the course of one year, I have had the honour and privilege of connecting with hundreds of UGM guests, and hearing about their lives. As you'll read in Alex's story, I am Here and I Belong, miraculous life transformations don't often happen overnight. Alex came to UGM for a meal, and after a few years, he was ready to seek recovery. As a result of his hard work, along with support from UGM staff, Alex finished the program and experienced a transformation in his life; he found hope, healing, and community. After the recovery program, Alex continued to receive support and stability through UGM's Aftercare program, and Affordable Housing.

Union Gospel Mission is committed to providing a comprehensive range of programs to help each individual through the stages of their unique journey. None of this would be possible without all those who contribute to UGM, whether it's through financial support, prayer, or volunteering. You are the reason we can keep our doors open year-round to help our community's most vulnerable.

Please, take a moment to read this Annual Report, and see what an incredible difference our supporters have made over the past year. We are blessed to partner with so many kindhearted individuals who share our desire to transform communities by overcoming poverty, homelessness, and addiction - one life at a time.

God Bless you,
William B. Mollard

Message from the Board

Each year at Union Gospel Mission brings new opportunities to build on past accomplishments and move forward with renewed energy for the work set out before us. The Board of Directors is committed to doing all we can to help bring about positive change in Metro Vancouver.

In the scope of what UGM has accomplished over the last 74 years, I believe we are entering an exciting new era. With the opening of the Women’s Day Shelter last year, and offering increased programming for at-risk youth this year, UGM is taking vital steps forward in its work to bring transformation to the Downtown Eastside.

Women and their children have historically had fewer options in Metro Vancouver than men, and often become subject to abuse and hardship because of this gap in resources.

In order to change the future of our city, we must continue to offer help to those who are struggling. By increasing and improving our services available to women and children, UGM is taking great strides in the right direction. It is my hope that all those who come to UGM seeking help will find what they are looking for, and that as women’s lives are being restored, there will be a notable difference in the community in the years to come.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank you for your compassion and care for those we serve.

Teresa Black Hughes
Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Teresa Black Hughes Chairperson Ernest Lang Vice Chairperson Ernest Lang Vice Chairperson

Executive Members

Robert Pasman Terresa Augustine Almira Chow George Ratzlaff Trevor Wilson Jim Barkman

Senior Leadership Team

William B. Mollard President Dan Russell Director of Programs Genesa Greening Director of Community
Strategies and Resource
Teri Jones Director of
Grace Lynn Reeve Director of
Human Resources

I am here &

I Belong

Alex's Story

Every person who walks through UGM's doors has a unique story
For many people, their first connection to UGM is through a meal
Outreach Workers provide ongoing support to help guests move forward in their journey. Pictured above: Alex and Fari, a UGM Outreach Worker
Throughout the A&D Recovery Program, participants receive one-on-one support from their counsellor
Many individuals who graduate from our recovery programs continue to find community at UGM
This year, Alex invited Fari to join him in the All Nations Canoe Gathering, during Reconciliation Week 2013

Life in Gingolx

I was born in 1961, in Prince Rupert, on the northern coast of BC. My parents died when I was very young, so I went to live with my grandparents in Gingolx (Kingcolith), BC. Growing up in my Nisga'a First Nations community, I was surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles, and I had a very close relationship with my grandmother. She was a strong Nisga'a woman, and when I was with her, I knew I was loved, I was safe, and I belonged.

Tragically, that sense of safety and belonging was ripped away from me when I was only 8 years old. There was a knock on my grandparent's door at 6am. Indian Agents had come to take me away to residential school and threatened to put my grandparents in jail if they resisted. I was put on a plane to a residential school in Alert Bay, BC, where I would face horrific trauma and abuse that no child should ever experience.

Residential School

At residential school, I was forced to abandon my Nisga'a language. When I learned English I learned pain. I was physically abused for speaking Nisga'a, but the deeper pain came as I started to understand the words they were yelling at me. They told me I was worthless. I was the wrong colour. I was destined to be a drunk. I was a waste of space. Those words cut me deep and stuck with me for most of my life. After a year, I was moved to another school in Port Alberni, where the abuse continued.

Altogether, I was kept away from my family for 2 years. During this time, I was sexually abused by two men, and suffered daily physical and verbal abuse. I was just a child. Nothing could have prepared me for these traumas. In the darkest moments, I would imagine myself at home with my grandmother, in my safe haven. This kept me away from the pain, the sexual abuse, and the suffering I went through. The shock of these experiences caused my mind to block out a lot of those memories throughout my teenage years.

When the Memories Returned

When I was nearly 20, I started having flashbacks from the severe traumas at residential school. It was like looking into a dream, a nightmare. I was filled with shame, and did not tell anyone what was happening. Unable to cope with the pain, I started to drink. The next few years passed in a blur. I moved back to Gingolx to live with my Grandmother. It was such a relief to be with her again. I felt the sense of belonging which I had been missing so desperately. I cut back on my drinking. I went to work and gave her half of every paycheque. It was a very special time.

Every person who walks through UGM's doors has a unique story
I was filled with shame, and did not tell anyone what was happening. Unable to cope with the pain, I started to drink."

After several good years together, my grandmother got ill and passed away. At that point, things went downhill again. I got into a bad relationship. We drank and did drugs together. After 7 years, my girlfriend left me and I started to unravel. Soon my drug use and drinking was out of control. I took pills, I smoked crack, I did powder. I started getting involved in serious criminal activities. As I went through the motions, I couldn't help but feel like the messages I'd heard as a child were true. I was destined to be a drunk. I was a waste of space. I didn't belong.

A Spark of Hope: Meals at UGM City of Mission

At 43 years old, my life had become unlivable. I knew I needed change, so I went to Miracle Valley, a treatment centre outside of the city of Mission. My sobriety lasted for 3 months, but in the end, the pain of my childhood was too much to bear and I relapsed. Drunk and confused, I ended up at UGM in Mission, because someone told me that they offered free meals. Week after week, I went there for the food, and slowly, I started to get to know the staff. I was surprised that they didn't seem to judge me. Their care felt genuine.

For many people, their first connection to UGM is through a meal

Soon, I was going to UGM almost every day. I started to make new friends, and I joined their choir. For about two years, this was my community, and that sense of community gave me hope. I attempted to quit drinking twice in that time. The UGM staff would take me to detox in Chilliwack. The second time I was in detox, a staff member helped me apply for UGM's Alcohol & Drug Recovery program in Vancouver.

I went there for the food, and slowly, I started to get to know the staff. Their care felt genuine."

Taking the Leap: Alcohol & Drug Recovery Program

Going into recovery was a scary time for me. I was afraid because I didn't know what I was going to do with all the empty space I had filled with alcohol and drugs. I was also afraid because of the religious aspect. My childhood abusers had hurt me in the Lord's name. I stuck it out, telling myself that I needed to get better, and I wanted to change my life.

Recovery was challenging and painful, but facing my past with the support of UGM staff and my peers allowed me to release the hatred and darkness I had been carrying around. That was a major turning point for me.

Throughout the A&D Recovery Program, participants receive one-on-one support from their counsellor

Safe Haven: Aftercare and Affordable Housing

After recovery, I continued to receive support and counselling through UGM's Aftercare program. When I finished the Aftercare program, I knew I needed to find an abstinence-based residence, so I applied to live in one of UGM's apartments. Living here has been different than living anywhere else. It's safe and clean, and I don't have to worry about people partying in the building. The biggest thing, though, is that I am surrounded by friends who support me in my sobriety every day.

A New Sense of Belonging

Everything in my life today is different because I'm sober. I've learned how to forgive and how to love. My childhood held some of the darkest points in my life, and the fact that I am here, able to share my story, is a miracle. Without the love and care I received at UGM, I believe my addiction would have killed me. Being part of a community gave me hope, and showed me that I could rise above the abuse and the lies I was told as a child.

Many individuals who graduate from our recovery programs continue to find community at UGM
Without the love and care I received at UGM, I believe my addiction would have killed me. Being part of a community gave me hope."

Today, I continue to patch together forgotten parts of my painful past so that I may heal, and I hold memories of my grandmother close to my heart – remembering her strength and love. I do my best to represent my culture with pride and dignity, and next year, I will be attending a very special ceremony where I hope to receive a Nisga'a name. To receive a new name, which is based on who I am and who I have become, would be a great honour and a sign that I have been fully reunited with my Nisga'a community. On that day, I am going to say my new name over and over.

Program Initiatives

Women's Day Shelter

Safety is a primary concern for women living in the Downtown Eastside, and after identifying a great need, UGM sought to create a safe place for women to rest, receive care from trained Outreach Workers, and get connected to life-changing programs. In February 2012, Union Gospel Mission opened its Women's Day Shelter, in partnership with the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre (DEWC). After two years running the Day Shelter, the need has only become more evident. We operate at full capacity on a regular basis. Our staff are now seeing more vulnerable women come to UGM seeking help, many who had never come through our doors before.

See how UGM Women's
programs are changing lives

Healing Hands – A Volunteer Story Mary's Story

Teen Programs

Most of the children and youth we serve throughout the year live in the Downtown Eastside, where they must fight hard to make positive choices amidst peer pressure to do drugs and get involved with gangs. We have identified a need for increased programming and support to the vulnerable youth we serve. As a result, this fall, UGM introduced two new teen programs. Our Co-ed drop-in provides teens with a safe place to connect with peers, staff and volunteers throughout the week, while our new Youth Leadership Program helps teens develop leadership skills which they practice by planning and running special children’s programs.

See how UGM Children & Family programs are changing lives

Why Camp Matters Erin & Adrian’s Story

The Gateway Program

Every day, Union Gospel Mission’s Outreach Workers connect with individuals struggling with addiction, and facing a host of barriers which hold them back from a life of healing through recovery. In an effort to help remove these barriers UGM introduced a new program called Gateway in June of this year. Gateway provides up to 10 individuals at a time with a safe place to rest, stabilize, and regain physical and mental strength. Distractions are stripped away as Gateway participants meet with UGM staff daily to set attainable goals, and start taking steps towards those goals. There is a strong emphasis on recovery, whether that means applying for UGM’s recovery program, or another more suitable program.

See how UGM A&D Recovery programs are changing lives

Jemal’s Story Johnny’s Story

Church Internship Program at UGM New Westminster

This year, UGM New Westminster introduced a new Church Internship Program (CIP). Internships may run for 3, 6, or 9 months and are available to people who are 18 years or older. This unique experience allows interns to experience hands-on outreach work and ministry. It includes an educational element for those who are seeking God's call upon their lives and who wish to learn more about putting their faith into action. It is our hope that interns return to their churches equipped with the knowledge, skills, and passion needed to help their church reach out to people in their community who may be struggling with poverty, homelessness, or addiction.

See how UGM New Westminster is changing lives

Gary’s Story

Case Management

Outreach at UGM is all about building relationships with community members with the ultimate goal of helping people transform their lives. Through UGM Case Management services, staff are able to assess the individual needs of those we serve, and work with them to set attainable goals and create longer-term action plans. Through this process, we have helped many individuals apply for and gain housing, get into recovery programs, and find employment. Staff partner with external agencies, such as mental health clinics and legal services, to make sure each individual has their best opportunity for success.

See how UGM Outreach programs are changing lives

Insider’s Scoop on Shelter Randy’s Story

Bringing the vote to the DTES

One consistent barrier for many people in the Downtown Eastside is a lack of proper identification. Without ID, finding safe housing, opening a bank account, cashing cheques, or even the most basic right to vote, become nearly impossible. Early this year, UGM’s Community Engagement team worked with Elections BC on an outside-the-box idea to have prescription pill bottles recognized as valid ID. After a diligent vetting process, the initiative was approved and through the combined efforts of our neighbourhood colleagues, Elections BC and UGM, we contributed to help deliver over 400 DTES community members to the polls in order to vote. Getting DTES residents out to the polls in an initiative UGM has committed to replicate every municipal, provincial, and federal election going forward.

See the impact UGM’s Community Engagement team is making

Summer Connect Eastside Stride 2013

Contributions in Action

Here's what donors like you made possible last year:

  • 52

    A&D Program Graduates (39 Men, 13 Women)

    John graduated from our A&D Program 5 years ago. Today, he works as a trained Outreach Worker at UGM, providing tangible support to those who need it most

  • 461

    Kids attended summer camp

    By providing children in need with an opportunity to spend time outdoors, play together, and make connections with camp counsellors, camp has the power to make a life-long impact

  • 23,702

    Nights of Emergency Shelter

    UGM’s Emergency Shelter has 72 beds and is open 365 days a year

  • 320

    Food hampers provided

    Each Christmas hamper is put together with love and care, and hand delivered by UGM staff and volunteers

  • 3,954

    Volunteers worked with UGM

    The compassion and generosity demonstrated by UGM volunteers helps ensure that our programs can operate successfully run year round

  • 82

    Job placements

    After completing the recovery program, Robin worked with UGM’s Employment Counsellor to register for training in a new line of work, and get the job he was after

  • 294,899

    Meals served

    Each meal at UGM is an opportunity for trained Outreach Workers to connect with community members and provide information on our range of transformational programs

  • 696

    Referrals were made to other service providers

    UGM is connected with many other service providers in the Downtown Eastside, and we offer referrals for affordable housing, financial aid, other recovery programs, and more

  • 4,619

    People received clothing


    Hygiene Kits were distributed.

    Clothing and hygiene kits provide essential day-to-day items for those who are struggling to make ends meet

Financials 2012/2013


Donations & Income


Donations & Income







Other Income













43% Outreach & Recovery

19% Housing

10% Education & Engagement

4% Other

& Development








Thank You for Your Generous Support

Please continue to partner with UGM as we feed hope and change lives throughout the new year