We assist men and women as they transition back into society by pairing them with mature mentors, providing a variety of work experiences and helping them locate affordable housing and supportive churches.
Zachariah’s story is written in ink all over his body. His mom died when he was 12. He never knew his dad. At 13, the gang became his family. The 1 and the 8 scrawled on top of his head mark him as a member of the 18th Street gang, a distinction he cannot easily escape.
“My personality and the way I look conflict big time.” Zachariah became a Christian in prison, but when he got out, he couldn’t find a job. He and his wife separated. “I just got real depressed. I gave up.” He started using drugs, stole a car and ended up in prison for the third time. When he was released in December 2011, Zachariah once again determined to live life a new way, but this time, God brought him to UGM.
“All my prayers were like, ‘Lord, please help me find a job. Let people see me for myself and not what I look like.” Zachariah needed the hope that his future would not be determined by his past. He started volunteering at the UGM Thrift Store and was eventually hired full time. “I love it here. I love to serve. The group of people here is awesome. Never in my life have I had the support like I do now.”