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Upon initially meeting Union Rescue Mission Manager of Development Alexander Cornejo, one would never guess that he was a former meth addict and a graduate of the non-profit organization’s Life-Transformation Program. Fifteen years sober, Alexander shared his story with volunteers from The Agency and Giveback Homes on Saturday, August 20, as they spent the day serving meals to the homeless and passing out over 1,0000 socks donated by Bombas.

Alexander was introduced to the Life-Transformation Program (Christian Life Discipleship) in 2001 by his father, who was already in the program and encouraged him to join as well. It wasn’t until Alexander was arrested for credit card fraud and drugs a couple of days after his father’s graduation from the program and subsequent death that the idea of joining it became a serious endeavor for him.

Alexander spent nine months in the program. Afterward, he was offered a job as a low-level assistant at URM, which eventually led him into his current position.

The Life-Transformation Program is just one of many services offered to homeless men, women, and children in dire need of assistance, and URM strives to provide each person with the support they need in order to transition into a better means of living for themselves and their families. From the Gateway Project, which offers single adults the chance to escape homelessness by offering personalized solutions within just 30 days, to The Hope Gardens Family Center which serves as a haven for women and children as they transition to independent living, there are many long and short-term options for individuals to choose from.

Each program or service is designed to offer guidance, support, and hope for a better future. A benefit of many of these programs is assistance with gaining employment, education, and training, with many participants becoming direct hires at the URM itself.

“About 18% of our staff are ex-members of the program,” says Alexander.

Thanks to the support and sponsorship of many leaders and corporations over the last 125 years since URM opened its doors, the organization has been able to provide those experiencing homeless who occupy L.A.’s infamous Skid Row with the resources they need to get off the streets for good. From free meals and health care to other extensive programs and services, there is no stone left unturned as URM serves to continue its mission to provide a better future for those in need.

One of the biggest sources of  support for URM is its network of individuals and organizations who volunteer their time and effort to their cause. To learn more about how you and your group of friends, family, and colleagues can participate in one of URM’s volunteer programs, visit their website or call 213-673-4860.