“A Step in the Right Direction”

“A Step in the Right Direction”

Fred’s life has changed since he first stepped onto the Rescue Mission campus.

Five years ago, Fred came to the Rescue Mission Emergency Shelter. He had just been released from jail after a three-month incarceration. “When I came out (of jail) I was starting all over, I was down and out, and you have to pick yourself up and start all over again,” he said.

While at the Rescue Mission, Fred began working to create a new life for himself. After a few months at the shelter, his case manager connected him with the program staff at Gifford Place, which provides permanent supportive housing on the Rescue Mission campus. Soon, Fred was able to move into a room.

"Living at Gifford Place – it’s a community and most of the time everyone works together."


Now, Fred has the additional responsibility of serving as Resident Assistant, which includes a variety of duties such as preparing rooms for new tenants. 

Last fall, Fred joined the Ambassador program at the Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse. This collaboration between the Rescue Mission and the Salt City Market provides participants with job skills and training, along with employment. Four days each week, Fred puts on his bright yellow Ambassador shirt and takes the short walk to the market to start his shift. The easy commute, he says, is one of the many benefits of the job.

"I like working as an Ambassador. There’s no pressure with this job, and you get to work with a lot of different people."


As an Ambassador, Fred walks around the market with the other Ambassadors providing a second set of eyes for the security team, as well as interacting with customers, answering questions, providing directions, and helping with other information.

According to Fred, one of the people who helped him the most during his time at the Rescue Mission is Ambassador Coordinator, Danita. 

"She’s helped me in a lot of ways, and has taught me a lot as part of the program."


Fred calls the Ambassador program a step in the right direction. And with the skills he is learning during his shifts, and through required trainings, he hopes to find full-time employment in the future. He would also like to move out of Gifford Place and into his own apartment.

Fred says he’s thankful for all of the support he has received from the Rescue Mission.

"When I came to the Rescue Mission I was down, with nowhere to go and nothing bright to look forward to. I didn’t know where my next dollar was coming from. They helped me get my life back together."


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