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Graduation 2022: Celebrating life transformation

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Congratulations to the men and women in our community for their amazing accomplishments this past year in their journeys toward independence.

We recently gathered for our annual Graduation to celebrate our program clients — now graduates! — who have made significant breakthroughs in their goals toward thriving and independence. The Bowery Mission’s staff and supporters joined the graduates, current program clients, alumni, and their family and friends at Central Presbyterian Church, a partner of the Mission. Together, we recognized the accomplishments, heard stories of perseverance and victory, and rejoiced in Christ’s transforming work in the graduates’ lives over the past year. 

We are grateful to witness God’s power and the miracles our graduates have experienced in spiritual formation, connection to community, physical and emotional wellness, sustainable income, secure housing and life skills. See what’s possible through the compassionate support of friends like you. 

Did you know?

Each year, The Bowery Mission’s faith-based Residential & Community Programs offer a safe, healthy and trauma-informed environment for hundreds of adults in crisis. Some seek healing from past traumas, like abuse, addiction, homelessness or violence. Others are looking for meaningful work to build a career for the first time, or to rebuild a career after a period away. Most have few safe places to turn. Clients benefit from holistic and individualized care, including ongoing consultations with licensed social workers and counselors committed to equipping them with the tools and opportunities they need for life-long success.

Celebrating a special moment in the lives of our graduates and The Bowery Mission 

Each graduate we celebrated had unique circumstances and experiences with homelessness, loss, addiction or other crises. Over the past year, they collaborated with our staff to develop individualized goals and action plans toward independence. And this is no small achievement! The graduates completed the counseling, coursework and necessary benchmarks — they’ve met specific criteria and demonstrated growth. We heard directly from graduates who shared about their struggles and how they overcame them during their time at The Bowery Mission. 

Meet Mona

Despite struggling with life-controlling issues and unhealthy relationships, Mona was able to make life work and build a successful career as a bookkeeper. But when COVID-19 hit, the emotional toll of loneliness made life extra hard, and she fell back into unhealthy coping mechanisms. Thankfully, she was able to find community and receive support at The Bowery Mission and make significant steps forward in her life. 

“I am a child of God and he put me back together and now I am living a good life.” — Mona, Program Graduate

Meet Leslie

Leslie was a driven and hard-working young woman, getting her first job working for an auto insurance broker at age 12. Later, she took the civil service exam, which opened the door to working at the Small Business Administration followed by a role working under former New York Attorney General Robert Abram. However, at age 23, her life completely changed when her dad died of leukemia. Thinking drugs could help take away the pain, she spiraled into addiction. She found her place at The Bowery Mission to turn her life around, and has since been ministering and caring for others by using her life experiences.

“I graduated in 1992…I can truly say thank you to The Bowery Mission for helping me get on the right trajectory.” — Leslie, 2022 recipient of Mary Bell Community Engagement Award

Awards were presented to clients and graduates for various areas of achievement. These annual awards recognize leaders in our community for inspiring others in the pursuit of life transformation. 

  • Fostering Community Award: For regularly displaying acts of kindness and service toward others, expressing words of encouragement, embodying a positive attitude and amicably resolving conflicts. The awardees are current clients and considered peacemakers among peers. 
  • Leadership Award: For exemplifying qualities of a leader including timeliness and ability to support community guidelines, and fostering a spirit of cooperation and community among peers. The awardees are 2022 graduates who are leaders in communicating well with staff and whose overall disposition inspires others to successfully meet their goals. They have demonstrated grace under pressure, a positive attitude, as well as progression in their own journeys toward independence.
  • Mary Bell Community Engagement Award: In honor of our former colleague who recently retired after 25 years of faithful work, many of which were spent in our programs for women. The recipient is an alumna who exemplifies a life of service and care for others, is actively engaged in her community and reflects the message of The Bowery Mission by extending the hope and love of God to those in need.
  • James Macklin Community Engagement Award: In honor of our dear colleague and Director of Outreach. The recipient is an alumnus who exemplifies a life of service and care for others, is actively engaged in their community and reflects the message of The Bowery Mission by extending the hope and love of God to those in need. 

“It was healing to be around women who understood the experience of homelessness on a personal level.” — Irene, 2022 recipient of Leadership Award

Hope for the future

The men and women that we celebrated at Graduation have demonstrated resilience and determination to overcome their challenges, and are now moving forward to new lives of renewed hope. We are grateful for our staff, volunteers and donors for creating a community of love and care to make this all possible. Together, we congratulate the graduates in their successful breakthroughs and accomplishments in their individual goals such as regaining sobriety, reconnecting with family and faith, and obtaining sustainable work and housing. It is an honor to walk alongside them in their journeys toward independence!

“At The Bowery Mission now, through the power of Jesus Christ, you have found home. You are flourishing — congratulations.” — James Winans, CEO

How you can get involved

This celebration of life transformation — made possible by friends like you — is not just what feels good, but is based on real, measurable results. Together, we see the fruit of God’s work in neighbors who have come through our Red Doors seeking new life from struggles with homelessness, poverty and other crises.

Learn more about our four strategies to rebuild hope for neighbors in need, including our Residential & Community Programs, and the principles of care at their foundation. And to impact more lives in our city, please consider making a gift today.