Dinner a testament to Purpose of God valuePublished 7:16pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013
It’s not just a dinner — it’s an opportunity to stand and testify to the importance of the good influences and guiding lights for the youth of the community.
Purpose of God Annex Outreach Center’s annual dinner was held at All Saints Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church last month. The organization “thrives on empowering and expanding opportunities” for children, especially for the least served of the communioty: disadvantaged, at-risk and under-challenged youth, adults and families.
The program began with a welcome by Susan Walker, Beaufort County’s chief probation parole officer, and continued with brief attestations from a variety of people whose lives have been touched by Purpose of God Annex— by its afterschool and summer programs and by Project New Hope, which provides a second chance to those previously convicted of crimes, by teaching participants both life and job skills.
Representing the Purpose of God Annex was Bryan Martinez, a third grader at John Cotten Tayloe School. Martinez addressed the crowd from the podium as he talked about how the program has helped him since his mother asked Bishop Samuel Jones Jr. and “Mother” Regina Jones, directors of the Annex, to take his behavioral problems on three years ago.
“At the beginning it was so hard for me, because I didn’t want to follow any orders,” Martinez said. “But with the structure and direction of Bishop Jones, day by day, he was there for me to help change my attitude and become the gentleman that I am today. If God doesn’t touch (the Joneses’) hearts and minds with this beautiful idea, we wouldn’t have an opportunity in our town.”
Project New Hope participant Tekila Fonville also spoke to the assembled guests, explaining the circumstances that led her to a felony drug conviction and a five-month stint in the Hampton City Jail in Hampton, Va.
“I was not used to facing the consequences of my actions until then,” Fonville explained.
She said that though she had successfully completed her probation and paid her fines, she was still paying the price, unable to find work with a living wage because of the past conviction.
“The felonious mistake I made almost eight years ago follows me still,” Fonville said.
She said that Project New Hope was suggested to her several times over the past few years, but it wasn’t until February of 2013 that she enrolled in the program. Since, she’s started working as an office assistant at First Start Business Ventures, a company that will allow her to advance and grow.
“It’s all thanks to Project New Hope that I have regained my hope that I can and will reestablish myself in a community. For you not to support this program would be a disaster for people like me.”
Purpose of God Annex relies on both private and public funding for its services and enjoys the support of local law enforcement and judges. Like most nonprofits, the organization has at times struggled to fund its operations since the economic recession hit in 2008.
Project New Hope’s next graduation is set for May 24, 12:30 p.m., at the First Presbyterian Church of Washington.
For more information about Purpose of God Annex and their services or to make a donation, call 252-974-1484.