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Purpose of God Project New Hope graduates on track for better futures

A woman who went from homelessness to safety and security for herself and her 10 children; a young man who put his past behind him to become a model employee at his job; another woman who overcame a bad attitude and turned her life around after legal troubles — these are real, everyday people whose lives have been changed for the better through the Purpose of God Project New Hope Program.

On Friday, eight men and women celebrated their graduation from the program at First Presbyterian Church. For the past 14 years, Project New Hope has helped local people overcome past circumstances to achieve stability and gainful employment.

“All the graduates have a job — every graduate is employed,” said Mother Regina Jones.

In some cases, participants have been held back in life by past mistakes and criminal records. Through Project New Hope, they are given the chance to put those mistakes behind them. Not only do they learn to improve their appearance and mannerisms, they also gain money management, resume writing and job interview skills that will follow them during their careers. Above all, they are encouraged to build up their confidence and sense of self-worth.

Faith Owens, who today works as a receptionist at the Purpose of God Annex, says she has become a better communicator and learned crucial money-management skills to help provide for her family.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, so I lacked the confidence for interviewing for a job,” Owens said during the graduation. “This program taught me how to be consistent and how to challenge myself.”

Joining Owens in graduating from the program on Friday were Joseph Carter, Jennifer Bostick, Willie Boyd, Annie Keyes, Stefon Little, Jamie Reason and Brianna Scannell.

Showing up in support of the graduates were several local elected officials, law enforcement officers and members of the faith community. Serving as the master of ceremonies for the event, District Attorney Seth Edwards praised the program for making a difference in the community.

“This particular program takes folks who have prior convictions on their record that have prevented them from getting jobs in the past and moves them along into the next phase of their life,” Edwards said. “It’s not just a program. It’s a program that works.”

Among the businesses employing Project New Hope graduates are the Purpose of God Annex, KFC, Pizza Inn, Hammock Source, Spinrite, Sphenodon Tool Company, Bojangles, IDX Impressions, Backwater Jack’s, Wendy’s, Walmart, Liberty Tax Service, Flanders Solutions, Food Lion, Speedway, Washington Yacht & Country Club, Inner Banks Legal Services, Roberson Cleaners and Grubb Brothers.

For more information about Project New Hope, call the Purpose of God Annex at 252-974-1484.