Helping homeless

This is a Team I Can Win With

Donnie DeeBy Donnie Dee

As a former NFL Football player, I know I’m only as strong as the team. And in my first 45 days here as CEO and President, I’ve become in awe of the team here at San Diego Rescue Mission. This staff, the volunteers, the Board… they are all here for the right reasons.  And I’m confident that God positioned us together strategically to be a solution for our homeless neighbors.

During these first weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the staff through “All Staff” meetings, one-on-ones and a survey – which by the way, revealed that 74% of our staff said they feel a sense of “calling” to the Rescue Mission. Through these interactions, I’ve learned just how committed the team is. Here are just a few examples:

We have staff members who drive 1.5 hours every day from Temecula/Murrieta, and another who drives 2 hours from El Centro.

We have a program director who worked a 16 hour day (more than once!) because a Residential Advisor (RA) was ill.

Our Children’s Center director has taken our clients’ clothes home with her and washed them in her own washer and dryer.

We had an RA perform chest compressions on a client who was unresponsive until paramedics could get there and give her a diabetes shot.

Childrens Center

Our Children’s Center director has taken our clients’ clothes home with her and washed them in her own washer and dryer.

We had 10 of our Board Members attend the first board meeting with me as president – and  7  attended our clients’ graduation in July.

Just recently, I had a program director show up in my office in tears. She was distraught over a client who had to be discharged from the program due to a code of conduct violation. The director knew that if this individual went back to the streets, it would be the worst case scenario. We sat down, and worked together to see how we could get her back on track – back into the program.

Those are just a handful of examples showing the commitment of this staff.  They aren’t doing it for the hours, the pay, or a stress free work environment. They do it for the homeless, hungry and hurting people we serve every day. I’m inspired by the work they do.  It makes me want to strive to serve them even better.

Part of my mission in my first weeks here, was to assist in the decision and hiring process for two key positions.

As many of you know, our VP of Programs stepped down a month before I got here. As we conducted interviews to find the perfect replacement, we realized that our strongest candidates were those who already worked here.

Helping homeless

Winning means eliminating homelessness one life at a time.

We ended up promoting two long time staff members for the roles. I’m so pleased to announce that Jeremy Dawsey- Richardson, formerly Program Director of the Recuperative Care Unit is our new VP of Programs. And James Pope, formerly Men’s Center Director, will be filling the newly created position of VP of Evangelism and Discipleship.  This new position is designed to create a greater awareness around the spiritual development aspect of what we do. You’ll be hearing more about Jeremy and James, and their new roles, in the upcoming months.

As discussed in my last blog post “A New Calling Revealed,” I knew God had a plan for me.  And what I’ve experienced and seen here in my first 45 days has helped to confirm that I made the right choice. In my 27+ years of ministry, I don’t believe there is a more worthy cause that I’ve ever been associated with.

Not just because we feed and house homeless men, women and children, but more importantly, (and unlike other Government-funded nonprofits) we have the freedom and blessing to talk about faith and God. Together, we work to address issues of the heart and spirit.

Jesus changes lives and that’s the game changer!!

God Bless,

Donnie Dee

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of homeless and hungry guests from San Diego County will come to our table this Thanksgiving season for hot, nourishing meals.

That’s more than 115,800 meals here in our dining room!

Each $2.05 you give provides 1 more of those meals – and opens the door to important Rescue Mission services that are often the start of a new and better life.

Your gift now will help provide meals and so much more by Thanksgiving! Give generously to feed all those in need this holiday season.

 

 

 

RSVP ASAP

 

Our Give Where You Live summer campaign is in its final weeks.

The challenge of caring for homeless and hungry folks in San Diego County is never done.

Offering a helping hand to our neighbors in need makes all the difference! Nourishing meals for people who are hungry, safe shelter for people who are homeless, and all the help possible for people taking bold steps to transform their lives through God’s love.

Please accept our invitation and impact lives right in your own backyard by sharing a gift below. Thank you!

 

 

 

A New Calling Revealed

By Donnie Dee

Donnie DeeI never planned on becoming the next President and CEO of San Diego Rescue Mission. I was enjoying my work as The Director of the Tom Landry Associates for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  It had been a fun season of watching my kids play college Basketball for USD and UCI, and volunteering my time on Christian Boards such as Worship for Kids. Of course, we were donors to the San Diego Rescue Mission, but becoming the next President and CEO? That was not my plan.

But God had a different plan for me.

It started when a friend forwarded me the job description of the new position and said “This is you!” Strategic Leadership, Visionary, Operations Management, Fundraising…  all things I have much experience with and was currently doing for FCA.  In the months that followed, my new calling was revealed through the interview process.  Amos 3:7

I was deeply impressed by the Board of Directors. I have a lot of experience dealing with different types of Boards, and this Board really stood out. I saw a genuine love for the Mission in each of them.

I was inspired by the staff. Their commitment was unwavering – from helping the clients to sharing their love of Christ. This was a team I wanted to help build, support and serve.

I was moved by Herb’s leadership. I toured the Mission and saw first-hand what he helped build the past 15+ years.  I caught his vision.

The Dee Family

Meet the Dee family. Known as a sports family involved in sports ministry, they are looking forward to this new journey. Johnny (USD) and Jenny (UCI) both played college basketball and Jackie ran cross country in college. Donnie was drafted by the NFL and went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks. (Photo from San Diego Union Tribune)

One afternoon, while touring the Emergency Overnight Shelter, I congratulated Herb on the incredible accomplishment of being able to shelter, feed and care for 80+ women and children each night. His response moved me further. “It’s not the 80+ individuals who stay here that I am concerned about. It’s the 200+ that I am not able to get in here that I think about most often.”

I was moved, but still found myself fighting with God. Is this what you want me to do? Why me? Why now? And that’s when I was challenged by a verse I had read many times.  Proverbs 21:13

“The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.”

That’s when concern and compassion started to become passion. God was allowing me to hear the cry in a fresh way. This was my new journey, my new assignment.

So here I am, the new CEO and President of San Diego Rescue Mission. I’ve made a commitment to serve and support those who work most directly with our clients and to make sure they have the resources, prayer support, and direction to make a greater impact.

I am looking forward to making this American’s Finest City –and it can’t be until we figure out the problem with people being homeless. In fact, San Diego has the 4th largest homeless population in the country.  We want to be part of the solution.

In addition to President and CEO, I am also the Chief Fundraiser. I believe that donors give to causes, but they invest in results. I plan to show results. I’m looking for men and women who want to invest – which is a much bigger commitment than giving. If we are going to make an impact in this community like we want, it’s going to take true ministry partners.

As I start this new calling as President and CEO, I look forward to getting to know each of you, our supporters, and continuing to build upon this great organization that has stayed so true to its original Mission for more than 60 years.

God Bless,
Donnie Dee
Donnie Dee

Give Where You Live

 

97 days of summer… and 97 days of meals to provide. That’s $185,612 for meals alone!

Give Where You Live is your chance to make a HUGE impact right here in San Diego County this summer. Because you don’t have to go far to see people in desperate need.

Please give now! Your generous gift will provide our community’s homeless and hungry with so much: hot meals served with love… nights of rest in a safe bed… and the hope they need to build brighter futures.

 

 

 

Larry Perry

Staff Spotlight: Larry Perry

Larry Perry, Lead Janitor at San Diego Rescue Mission

“There are so many miracles that come through the Mission, and I am one of them. I’m a living miracle, all thanks to God and the San Diego Rescue Mission,” says Larry.

Meet Larry Perry, Lead Janitor at San Diego Rescue Mission, and a very special member of our team. His story is an inspiration and his positivity and joy for life is infectious!

Larry first came to the Mission in September of 2009 after living on the streets where he faced a number of life changing struggles, including, sadly, his wife being murdered. He was at a point in life where his family wanted nothing to do with him because of the poor choices he had made, and he decided he couldn’t continue down that path any longer. He was determined to make a change. That’s when he joined San Diego Rescue Mission’s 12 Month Residential Recovery Program, where he received the tools and support needed to strengthen his relationship with God and transform his life. After a year of hard work and determination, he graduated and was offered an internship here at San Diego Rescue Mission. In 2011 he completed the internship, and his journey with the Mission continued as he was hired on as staff. Larry has been here ever since.

As the Lead Janitor, Larry supervises house keeping and is responsible for overseeing nine clients. He works hard each day training his team of clients with cleaning techniques so they’ll have skills necessary to contribute to the community on their own after they leave the Mission. “I’ve come a long way,” Larry says, “I was just a lonely housekeeper before, and God decided he wanted me to do more!” One of Larry’s favorite parts about working at the Mission is the opportunity to talk with others and share his story to instill hope. “I can relate to most of these people that come through the Mission from the streets. I know what life is like on the streets; I went through it all. But, I made it and look at me now! I’m clean, living on my own and paying my own bills. I give God all the credit and glory and all I can do is thank him.” Larry enjoys sharing his story with those struggling because its proof to others that they can get through anything, and the Rescue Mission is their opportunity to take the leap of faith and to trust God.

One of Larry’s main janitorial responsibilities has always been the Recuperative Care Unit, which has become a sentimental aspect of his job. There he enjoys playing his morning gospel music for clients while getting to know them and their stories, encourages them to keep fighting, and witnesses them overcome their battles. He’s influenced a handful of residents who have joined the Men’s Center upon their release from the RCU. Recently, Larry was even acknowledged in a graduation speech where the graduate whole-heartedly thanked him and gave him credit to his success.

The piece of advice Larry always carries with himself is to always trust and keep faith in God; He will not let you down. “God is able, no matter what we do in life. If we turn our life over to God, He’s able to change it around. The hope is there, just waiting for someone to grab it,” Larry explains. Utilizing his own inspirational story as proof, he encourages others to trust God and follow Him back on the right path. “I tell them ‘look at me – it’s real.’ There are so many miracles that come through the Mission, and I am one of them. I’m a living miracle, all thanks to God and the San Diego Rescue Mission.”

Larry is now 7 years clean and sober living on his own, making his own decisions, and has completely transformed his life for the better. “My life has turned around and I have my family, kids, and grand-kids back in my life! I’m finally wanted by them and it’s the best feeling in the world!” Larry is truly a success story and an inspiration to anyone out there going through hard times. His story is a reminder that there is always a silver lining through the hardships.

Angela Ford, Aftercare Coordinator here at San Diego Rescue Mission

Staff Spotlight: Angela Ford

Angela Ford, Aftercare Coordinator here at San Diego Rescue Mission

“I love working with our clients and instilling hope. Being able to serve God’s people is something that I’ve been destined to do,” says Angela.

Meet Angela Ford, Aftercare Coordinator here at San Diego Rescue Mission.

The Alumni Aftercare program was created for clients who are re-integrating with society after successfully completing and graduating from our 12 month Residential Recovery Program. The purpose and goal of the program is to provide resources, encouragement, and support while promoting self-sufficiency. That’s where Angela comes in!

Angela is our newest Aftercare Coordinator. She was previously employed at Jane Westin Center where she worked closely with the mental health community, and several clients who were formerly and currently clients at San Diego Rescue Mission.

On a daily basis, Angela provides supportive services to graduates of the Residential programs as well as to those who are nearing graduation. Some of these services and tasks include checking in with clients on job readiness and aiding with resumes, applications, job searching, mock interviewing, and providing overall emotional support as clients work to transition back into society. “I always do my best to help our clients with an open heart and integrity,” says Angela.

The hope of the Aftercare program is that through Christ, and the tools each client has been given in our programs, they will have a full understanding of how to maintain sustainability while living independently, and overcoming any of life’s challenges that may arise.

Angela shared a story about a client she met in late January who right off the bat declared he didn’t like people and didn’t trust anyone.  She explained that was an issue he would have to overcome and suggested that he find someone to be accountable to. He continued to insist that he didn’t trust anyone.

“Finally, I got him to commit to having an accountability partner. He called me about three weeks later and asked if I would be that accountability partner,” explained Angela. “He said he felt comfortable around me and thought I would keep him on his toes!”

A few months later, the client received some difficult news concerning his health and went to visit Angela to talk it over.

“I encouraged him and spoke life to him and shared testimonies of what I have seen God do with my own eyes. He then told me that when he received the news, the first thing he thought of was to call me, not even to drink, which is what he would have normally done. This was huge for me. It blessed me tremendously and after he left, I cried. God is good and I just kept thinking about his goodness,” she recalled.

Those enriching experiences with clients are what motivates and inspires Angela to work for San Diego Rescue Mission. “I love working with our clients and instilling hope. Being able to serve God’s people is something that I’ve been destined to do.”