Project provides hope, refuge
Published 1:38 am Thursday, May 29, 2008
to the opening of
house of transition
By DAN PARSONS
Standing in the rain Wednesday morning, David Godley couldn’t help but smile.
At 55, Godley can look back on a life marred by drug charges with new hope because he found help in turning his life around.
Through the program, Godley was given the chance to hold down a job for six months. He has done just that as a pressman for the Washington Daily News.
Like Godley, none of the dozens of people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Project New Hope Refuge House sought refuge from the rain, but they remained outside until Bishop Samuel Jones Jr., the project’s founder had honored those he serves. The event coincided with the graduation of 12 Beaufort County residents who, through Jones’ program, have held down jobs and stayed on the right side of the law for six months.
Jones and his wife, Regina, began Project New Hope less than a year ago as an extension of the mentoring and educational services they already provided through the Purpose of God Annex Outreach Center. The program works with local businesses to place those who have run afoul of the law in jobs. Jones and others working with him monitor program participants at their jobs to ensure they are succeeding. After six months, the participants graduate, if they meet all requirements imposed on them.
The Joneses have partnered with 23 businesses that have employed program participants. In eight months, the couple have put 94 area residents to work, of which about 50 have held down their jobs, Jones said.
The refuge house, formerly Annie’s Attic (a second-hand store run by Options to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault), will house four female Project New Hope participants during their stint in the program. A house mother will live with them, according to Jones.
Jones acquired the house in March. He and a team of about seven people, with in-kind donations from Habitat for Humanity and other local charities, prepared the house in time for Wednesday’s dedication. Tenants are scheduled to move in the first week of June, Jones said.
Mark Recko, executive director of the Washington Housing Authority, praised the Joneses for opening the refuge house, saying housing is “something near and dear” to him. He also praised the program’s graduates for identifying problems in their lives and succeeding in improving their circumstances.