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Burnside Shelter

In Service at Shepherd’s Door, Tiffany sees herself in Connect women

Women of Connect, from left: Deanne Gillock (Connect Women's Program Manager), Gina, Nicole and Tiffany

Women of Connect, from left: Deanne Gillock (Connect Women’s Program Manager), Gina, Nicole and Tiffany

Our New Life Ministries are life changing. For the men and women who dedicate themselves to breaking the chains of homelessness and addiction, the results speak for themselves. And for those who commit to an additional year of Service, this goes twofold – especially for Tiffany.

Nearing the end of her year in Service job-training program, Tiffany has spent her time in vocation with the women at the Burnside Shelter in the Connect program. Connect is part of Portland Rescue Mission’s Pathways Ministries, and is a three-to-four month program for men and women looking to gain stability in their transition off the streets and into a job and permanent housing. Connect houses up to 36 men and 16 women.

In Tiffany’s Service role at Connect, she builds relationships with the women in the program and serves in a discipleship and mentor role for them. She leads a life group, keeps the clothes closet organized, brings women to their meetings, and most importantly, she is available to be a listening ear and friend to the women in the program.

“I really enjoy my role here. … I’ve gotten something from each of them personally and I can see a lot of myself in everyone of these women,” Tiffany said. “I’ve been where they’ve been, and I know how hard it is to be out there.

Service resident Tiffany

Service resident Tiffany

“It takes a lot of courage to decide you want to change your life and get in a program. It’s not easy, but God makes it possible.”

For women like Kaja, who is a Connect participant, having Tiffany around for her and the other women in the program has been invaluable. Kaja says Tiffany’s story provides a level of connectedness that brings a depth to the Connect program that’s very special.

“Whether you’re a teen mom, or have an addiction, are even a mom at all, or have had issues with schooling or faith, you can always make some sort of connection with Tiffany,” Kaja said. “There are about 80 different avenues with her you can connect with.”   

Deanne Gillock, the Connect Women’s Program Manager, elaborated on Tiffany’s role as well: “Tiffany’s No. 1 priority is people because she has an awesome story and a past that God has used and will continue to do.

“She loves people right where they’re at. … Tiffany can sit for like an hour if someone is having a bad day and just listen to them. And I think that really means a lot to the women.”

With only two months left to go, Tiffany’s story continues to permeate throughout Portland Rescue Mission. Once lost, frustrated and homeless on the streets, Tiffany’s life is completely changed.

Come July, she’ll graduate from her year of Service along with one other fellow woman in Service and five more Shepherd’s Door graduates. It’ll be a celebration perfectly suited to take place in the month of Independence Day. And it will be the end to a chapter in Tiffany’s life that’s destined, still, to lead to even more new and exciting ones.

“I really do believe my experience here is going to lead somewhere,” Tiffany exclaimed. “I don’t know where or when, but I think it’s going to make a big difference.

“And while I’m anxious since I don’t want to leave here, I’m excited to get started.”

(In case you missed it, read more about our last Jubilee where Taylor, Vivian, Denise, Kim and Jeanette all graduated in early May).