Have you ever wondered -
Where do the homeless go? How do the hungry eat? Who helps the addicted recover? What do single mothers in crisis do when their family is falling apart?
When the dark place inside begins to take over, that dark stemming from the hopelessness and despair of situations that put a person out of control in their own life, there is an open door in Pittsburgh at the Light of Life Rescue Mission to bring light back to their lives.
The Light of Life Rescue Mission has a holistic approach. They help people to get the education and skills they need to recover from addictions, become stronger, better parents, and overcome poverty, among other issues. They work to “empower men, women and children to overcome extreme adversities and gain essential tools for lifelong achievement.” They provide services for creative learning, treatment referrals for mental health, activities for developing social skills, Bible studies, after-care and mentoring.
Pittsburgh Gives Day of Giving is upon us – today, October 3, 2012. Light of Life needs your support to light the way for others in crisis. Help them with an online donation and have your gift proportionally matched by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s $750,000 match pool!
“We radiate life by empathizing with the needs of the communities we serve, partnering in the healing process, as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make spirit-filled disciples,” is a message of positivity found within the Light of Life website.
Jessi Marsh, Director of Development at Light of Life, says, “We serve people in crisis from all over the Pittsburgh area. People come to the mission through many places. They come in from the street and from rehab facilities. They will come to Light of Life for a meal and learn about the additional services offered. Some people come right after being released from incarceration and others are referred to Light of Life by other nonprofits.”
Wherever they come from, their lives have gotten to a really dark place. Many people may sit back and think, “that could never happen to me. I could never be homeless; never become addicted, never be so down and out that I need a rescue mission to provide a roof and meal for my survival.” But if you ask the people finding strength and services through Light of Life, many of them would tell you they thought the very same thing.
I like this video that highlights their walk event while giving us some statistics to think about.
Light of Life also operates a Christian recovery program for single mothers and children in crisis. The Mission offers a 9–18 month program and assists women and their families with subsidized apartments, assistance with transportation, household and childcare needs, and 20 hours per week of counseling, education and training.
“Suffering the effects of abuse, addiction and poverty, most women enter the program incapable of functioning in a parental role. This need is addressed by teaching recovery and parenting skills and strengthening the family unit through outings and activities,” Marsh adds about the program.
The following is a story of hope and determination resulting from Light of Life’s help:
Debra’s struggle with drugs and alcohol began when she was 21 years old. Using alcohol and crystal meth to ease inner turmoil, she found herself in jail in 1987, charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
After spending three years in jail, Debra was determined to lead a better life. Her faith was stronger and her self-esteem had improved. Debra remarried, had four children and attended college—graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and art.
However, her 21-year, second marriage was dangerously unhealthy—racked with emotional and physical abuse. Then, in 2007, Debra started using crack cocaine and immediately became addicted. Once again, her life spiraled downward.
The situation worsened. But in 2009, Debra mustered the courage to leave the situation. Settling her children in with a friend, she entered Light of Life’s recovery program for women and children.
“The program forever changed and saved my life. The counseling, parenting, and co-dependency classes were incredibly helpful; Bible studies were crucial to my recovery.”
Light of Life continues to change lives and positively impact communities year after year. Support them on Day of Giving and mark your calendar for their upcoming event:
More Than a Meal Gala,, October 25, 2012
Come join us at this year’s “More Than a Meal” Gala, being held October 25, 2012, at the beautiful LeMont Restaraunt in Pittsburgh!
The evening will feature delicious food, a silent auction, and inspirational testimonies of life transformation. This is a great opportunity to partner with Light of Life and to celebrate 60 years of providing services to poor and homeless men, women, and children.
You can register for the Gala at LightOfLife.org
There are so many facets to the work at Light of Life that can’t possibly all be shared in one post. Please read more in their latest newsletter to see how others, like Pittsburgh-area native and former Pittsburgh Pirate, Sean Casey are pitching in to make a difference with the Light of Life’s mission. You can also check out and follow the Light of Life blog,
Simply Put – We can talk about the problems in the world. Or we can set out on a mission to fix them right here in our communities. Take part in being a solution and give to Light of Life on Day of Giving or find volunteer opportunities in their Mission.
College graduates become the pulse of Pittsburgh while finding their own beat.
Not sure what you want to do after you get that college degree? Join other bright, talented graduates in a year of service with PULSE, the Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience.
PULSE partners with local, Pittsburgh nonprofits to develop men and women into the next generation of servant leaders in our city. Placement nonprofits receive a young, talented, university graduate to build capacity in their organization while participants receive valuable job training and skill development.
For the past 18 years, they’ve worked with over 100 nonprofit organizations (both large and small) in Pittsburgh including the Western PA Conservancy, Andy Warhol Museum, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Venture Outdoors, East End Cooperative Ministry, and the Union Project.
What makes PULSE pretty unique is that the recently-graduated students live together. These participants share meals, household tasks, and life together. As a result, they grow and develop as individuals and as a cohesive group of young people who are working to make change in Pittsburgh.
PULSE is a Pittsburgh nonprofit participating in the annual Pittsburgh Gives Day of Giving. By giving to them on #12DOG (Oct. 3rd), you will be giving to Pittsburgh communities for years to come as this year’s participants become tomorrow’s leaders. By supporting their mission and vision during the 24-hour donation marathon, you will increase your gift with matching funds from The Pittsburgh Foundation.
As a huge added bonus for PULSE on Day of Giving, an Anonymous Donor is adding to the pot – up to $1000 dollars. This has the potential for up a match of $35 per DOG donor. That’s a more than 100% match for any $25+ new donor who tweets after they donate. So in addition to your donation, PULSE will receive a:
- $25 match for every new donor to PULSE
- and an additional $10 match for every donor who tweets #12DOG and #PULSE12DOG in post after they give.
By my calculations, that means every one who initially donates $25 on DOG at PittsburghGives.org, actually donates $60 if you take just 30 seconds to tweet about it. That’s on top of the match funds they will get from The Pittsburgh Foundation. Is it too obvious to say that should get your pulse racing? Go DOG!
Chris Cooke, executive director of PULSE Pittsburgh says of potential donors, “Their support helps grow and develop PULSE participants into servant leaders, helps other local nonprofits address and meet the challenges facing their organizations, helps the neighborhoods of East Liberty and Garfield and its residents, and helps to serve the neglected and marginalized in the city of Pittsburgh.”
Two of the nonprofits who partner with PULSE share how valued the PULSE participants are to them.
Myrna Newman, Executive Director, Allegheny Cleanways
- “PULSE allowed us to increase our capacity during a time of transition and financial insecurity. I was able to focus on other things while our programs continued to flourish thanks to the work of our PULSE participant. We are ending the year at a much better place than we began. This is in no small part the result of having partnered with PULSE.”
Alexa Belajac, Director of Education and Community Engagement, WYEP 91.3 fm
- “I honestly don’t think our work in Propel Schools would have been successful without our PULSE participant. She was level-headed, confident, and loving with our students. I give her a ton of credit for the way she presented our organization to the Pittsburgh community.”
The reward of being mentored by PULSE, as shared from the viewpoint of several participants. (each participating org is linked)
Maggie Graham, East Liberty Development, Inc.
- “It’s impossible for me to name all the ways I’ve been impacted by PULSE. I’ve discovered passions, personally and professionally. I’ve made life-long friends. I’ve been given the opportunity to serve, take ownership of projects and gain job experience. But most importantly, PULSE has instilled in me a sense of self-confidence and the knowledge that I can and will make a difference in Pittsburgh.”
Anna Pawsey, Union Project & PULSE
- “I can’t quite imagine how different life would have been without PULSE. The past two years have been the best “after college” decision for me. I’ve grown as an individual and young professional because of the people around this program; supervisors, housemates, alumni and neighbors. If I wouldn’t have done PULSE, my community and network of individuals would be completely different.
Joel Wildermuth, Angels’ Place, Inc.
- “PULSE gave me the space and opportunity to do some exploring on a personal and occupational level before deciding what I actually wanted to do with my life. If it hadn’t been for this experience I wouldn’t have the clarity or direction for my life that I have now.”
Jenny Blosser, East End Cooperative Ministry
- “Without the opportunity to experience PULSE, I would never have built the confidence to believe in what I could offer the world.”
.Simply Put – Keep PULSE beating to cultivate successful leaders for tomorrow – and don’t let them miss out on those additional matching funds!