Hope Inspired Ministries expanding into Lowndes County high schools

Published 6:55 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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Four new staff members recently joined Hope Inspired Ministries — three career coaches and one data entry technician. These employees serve the ministry by assisting in existing career training services and to work toward expanding those services into Lowndes County high schools.

“God has been so amazing opening up new doors to reach people in and around our organization but especially in Lowndes County,” said Executive Director John Bowman. “We serve individuals in our program from 18 years of age and up. We have had students in their 60s wanting to reset their life and get it back on track with God’s plan.”

Former HIM student Demetrist Porter joined the ministry as a career coach after graduating from the program in October. Porter said HIM helped reveal her life’s purpose, and now, she is giving back to her community to do the same for others.

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“I feel I have found my purpose,” Porter said. “This is something that seemed like I would never be able to do but God changed things and made it happen for me. I asked for His wisdom and this is what I got.”

The recent award of an Alabama Department of Commerce’s Delta Regional Authority Grant has allowed the ministry to expand services into The Calhoun School and Central High School in Hayneville on Jan. 3. Seniors who participate can earn Alabama Certified Worker and ACT WorkKeys Certificates, and two of the new career coaches will help students achieve those goals.”

“This is God opening up an opportunity to impact and change lives before they turn into a 40- or 50-year-old HIM student,” said Bowman. “We will be able to impact them in high school and place them straight into the workforce as they leave school.”

Jennifer Reaves, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native, moved to Alabama in 1995 and retired from a 27-year career with the Montgomery Police Department in October.

Reaves joined HIM with a desire to continue serving the community.

“I want to give back, to help give direction, focus, and hope in a manner that is personal,” Reaves said. “I feel like this is a calling. I’m meant to be a servant, to help other people become their best version of themselves.”

Alecia Lyles, a Mobile native and Letohatchee resident taught high school English language arts in Mobile, Hawally, Kuwait, and then at Central High School in Hayneville.

After leaving the school system, a friend told Lyles about HIM’s upcoming high school initiative, a call she now sees as divine intervention.

“It was really divine intervention,” Lyles said. “I wasn’t looking. I was generally burned out after the pandemic but I have wanted to teach since I was a little girl. So, when this opportunity came, I realized I can still teach but in a different capacity.”

Lowndes County native and The Calhoun School graduate Patricia Smith Jones works at HIM as a data entry technician. She helps the ministry track all data required to satisfy the grant as HIM career coaches serve in local high schools.

Jones said she was browsing social media when she saw an advertisement for openings at HIM.

“I knew people who graduated HIM,” Jones said. “When the ad appeared again, I decided to apply. So, here I am. I will enter data and make sure the information is entered correctly as a clear and accurate reflection of the people we help. I love serving people and helping people whenever I can.”

Site Director Jessica Fails said career coaches will teach soft skills like getting to work on time and completing employment paperwork.

“We also help them with personal growth and getting needed documentation,” Fails said. “They’ll be able to get the same things we offer our students at our site.”