Program invites those looking for 2nd chance

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

An opportunity for some residents to find a second chance and a new hope presents itself at the end of this month.

Purpose of God Annex, a Christian nonprofit, kicks off its 2016-2017 programming for Project New Hope, a free, nine-month program that provides extensive instruction to those who need help either getting re-acclimated to society after jail or those who are simply having a hard time getting their lives together, according to Bishop Samuel Jones, founder and president of Purpose of God Annex.

The program has gone through a bit of a reformation through new partnerships. Purpose of God, through coordination with the Beaufort County Detention Center, Covenant Church in Washington, Ruth’s House Domestic Violence Shelter, Zion Homeless Shelter and Kitchen and others, has formed a coalition to pull together resources that will benefit program participants.

Some organizations involved simply refer potential participants; others such as the Beaufort County jail, through cooperation with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, play a role that prepares those who are incarcerated to possibly enter the program, according to Jones. Convenant Church has allowed the nonprofit use of a wing of classrooms in its building, the old P.S. Jones Middle School, to host classes, according to Jones.

Through the expansion, Purpose of God has been able to offer more classes, and many volunteers have stepped forward to offer help in instructing participants, Jones said.

Classes such as money management and marketing, communication, computer, grammar, mock interviews and dressing for success have given the program’s students access to tools that help them land jobs, and in turn, provide for themselves and their families. The program and classes have also given structure to the lives of those participating, according to Jones.

Participants are given help in prioritizing their needs during the program, something Jones feels is important, he said. Often, those who are in and out of the court system are financially distressed and overwhelmed by a number of issues they face, including paying child support, paying court costs and lawyer fees, finding a place to stay, a lack of skills and employment and many other problems, Jones said. Prioritization allows them to face each issue separately and come up with solutions to eliminate the burden.

Jones also conducts a prison ministry each week, a recruitment tool where he and a member of his staff visit the jail to talk to inmates about enrolling in the program once they are released.

“Project New Hope has gained a lot of respect in the prison system, especially in young men that want to get out and learn about reentry back into society,” Jones said.

The program celebrated the graduation of 25 people in May, all of which left the program employed and equipped to succeed, Jones said.

“Every class, I try to make sure that part of the graduation includes they have a job,” Jones said.

Jones said the program has been able to successfully help combat crime and decrease repeat offenses because it offers options for those in and out of the courts and provides a way to succeed and function as a productive, law-abiding citizen.

“We’re excited about the program starting back up,” Jones said. “We want these folks to come out and receive the help they need. We’re here for them, and we want to constantly keep Beaufort County a safe place to live and visit.”

Project New Hope starts Aug. 30 at 9:30 a.m. when enrollees will attend orientation. The nonprofit is always looking for new volunteers to help instruct classes, according to Jones.

For more information, call Purpose of God Annex, 1015 E. Sixth St., Washington, at 252-974-1484.