Hope Inspired Ministries welcomes new career coaches

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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Hope Inspired Ministries (HIM) of Lowndes County welcomed two new career coaches this summer – Dakus Sankey, Jr. and Mary Beth Mote. Both coaches have a Lowndes County connection and come to the ministry with a passion for equipping people with the tools they need for success.

“Mary Beth lives here in Lowndes County,” said HIM site coordinator Jessica Fails. “Dakus attends a church here and his family is from here.”

Sankey earned an associate degree in science from Trenholm State Community College and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Athens State University. He is a Montgomery resident who has worked with the Friendship Mission in Montgomery where he became familiar with HIM ministry efforts.

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“I was working for the Friendship Mission, a homeless shelter in Montgomery and some residents were taking courses with Hope Inspired Ministries in Montgomery,” Sankey said. “I was leading a Bible study and they saw how I was teaching them. I saw they had a position open, and I applied.” 

With a background in student financial aid, Sankey comes with skills that enable him to guide students through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process. That experience, coupled with time worked in with Bank of America allows Sankey to advise students on handling financial matters.

“People need to have an understanding of how to balance money,” Sankey said. “At Bank of America, I always took time to break things down so people would have a good understanding and peace of mind.”

The coaches work with high school seniors and The Calhoun School and Central High School in Hayneville, serving around 69 students, Fails explained. The effort is part of the ministry’s second initiative in local high schools and represents the first full year of services to Lowndes County high school students.

With the entire school year ahead, Fails said the program will expand from last year, continuing to prepare students for life after high school, whether that will include college or a career. In addition, coaches will break students out into smaller groups and to also bring in outside speakers.

“We’re planning to bring in speakers from colleges and the workforce to help students get acclimated,” Fails said. “They are preparing to go out into the real world so we’re trying to help guide them and give them different opportunities. We want them to know more about what’s out there.”

Mote is originally from Union Springs, AL, where she grew up, and lived there until she moved to Lowndes County in 2005. She graduated from Bullock Memorial School in 1997 and attended both Troy University and Auburn University Montgomery. 

Before joining the staff at HIM, Mote worked as a recruiting director for New York Life where she saw the career impacts on the life of people who lacked knowledge of how to prepare for the workforce.

“I was on the hiring side of things and saw where there were gaps for people who lacked knowledge of [job readiness],” Mote said. “I have followed Hope Inspired Ministries, and they work they are doing, so, when a position opened up, I was right here in Lowndes County, so I applied.”

Mote lives in Hayneville with her son Reid, and their dog, Gabby. She said she is excited to help open the door for students to the world of opportunities that await them.

“There are so few opportunities in Lowndes County and so many people travel outside to work,” Mote said. “So, students don’t always know what is out there for them.”

Both coaches have already been in the classrooms at each high school, working with students who are still adjusting to a return to campus.

“We’re slowly making progress,” Mote said. “Students are getting situated in the schools, and we are getting to know them and starting to go through collecting information we need for the program. I’m really excited already about some conversations we’ve had with kids and the ideas they have about what they like to do. We are excited to help them figure out how to make their ideas a reality.”