Published 9:50 am Sunday, March 2, 2008
When two brothers, one 32 years old and the other 28 years old, publicly apologize to their mother for causing her many sleepless nights, something’s had a meaningful influence on their lives.
In the case of Roland and Derrick Lawrence, that something is the Purpose of God’s Project New Hope Refuge Intervention, a program designed by Bishop Samuel Jones and Mother Regina Jones, founders of Purpose of God. The program is designed to help at-risk people turn their lives around.
Project New Hope Refuge Intervention works, according to the two brothers. Washington and Beaufort County, not to mention other places, could use more programs like the one the Joneses have developed and implemented.
A program that takes criminals, works with them and turns them into productive members of society, deserves support. That’s what some employers and others in the greater Washington community are doing, supporting a program that produces positive results.
As meaningful as those words are, perhaps the words about the program that will have the most impact on the community came from employers who hire program participants. Those words speak volumes about the influence the program is having in the community.
Tshombe Biggs, assistant manager of the Washington Wal-Mart, had this to say about the store participating in the program: “We’ve hired two people, and it’s working out great. We appreciate being able to be a part of it. What they’re doing is a fantastic thing, and we’re privileged to be a part of it.
When a program that rehabilitates people like the Lawrence brothers, admitted criminals and drug dealers, impresses a police chief, that program is worth noting. Mick Reed, Washington’s police chief, apparently is impressed with the program.
It’s likely that Project New Hope Refuge Intervention is working because the community supports it with more than just platitudes. The community is supporting the program by making financial contributions to it. With those financial contributions, the community is investing in the program.
It looks like that investment is paying off by providing participants life skills and job opportunities to help improve their futures.
District Court Judge Regina Parker, who had one of the brothers in her courtroom in the not-so-distant past, may have said it best when it comes to recognizing just how influential the program may become.
Washington, Beaufort County and North Carolina need to invest in programs like Project New Hope Refuge Intervention. If they don’t, they’ll need to build more jails.
It’s clear which option is the best investment.