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HopeWorks offers redemption in Memphis

Mark Lewis, John Anderson and Marques Curry of Ellendale Electric Company in Memphis, Tenn. (Photo from www.whyhopeworks.org)

Today the Memphis, Tenn., Commercial Appeal tells the stories of Mark Lewis and Marques Curry, two men with troubled pasts who found redemption through HopeWorks.
The benevolence program, established in 1988, meets in the basement of the Midtown Church of Christ in Memphis. The Sycamore View Church of Christ and Holmes Road Church of Christ also are involved in the work. the nonprofit seeks “to serve the poor through outreach programs that develop individual worth, encourage personal responsibility and promote the honor and value of work,” according to HopeWorks website. “By implementing a holistic approach through daily classes and meals, educational training and spiritual counseling, HopeWorks strives to break the cycle of crime, addiction and irresponsibility that traps so many in our city.”
The Commercial Appeal story describes the program:

Students learn job readiness skills, basic computer and Internet skills, take advantage of psychological and spiritual counseling, have a one-day-a- week Bible class, and share lunch each day with “faith encouragers” — mentors who help students stay focused on completing the program.
About 40 students divided into two classes go through the 13-week program, at a cost to HopeWorks of $3,000 per student. The group is funded solely by private donations.
There are random drug tests, strict attendance requirements, and rigid curricula and of course, some don’t make it. But for the ones who do, life is a very different experience.

Through the program, Lewis and Curry found employment at Ellendale Electric Company. John Anderson, the company’s owner, talks about their dedication in the Commercial Appeal story. All three men also share their stories in this video:

Are you involved with HopeWorks or any ministry that offers second chances to offenders? Does the current economy make it harder to operate such programs? Please let us know.

  • Feedback
    It is encouraging to hear that Christians organizations like this are reaching out to help those in need, especially during this rough economy. This a true example of how Christ wants us to represent him throughout our community and throughout the world.
    I am the co-founder of a Christian social service consulting agency (Dorcas Consulting LLC). We are currently working with an organization in Chicago called WIP (Women.In.Progress) that helps adult female offenders get back on their feet once they have been released, and we know first hand how difficult it can be to keep these organizations afloat. In Chicago, WIP is one of a few organizations that helps female offenders and funding is limited because of the economy, decrease in resources available to ex-offenders because of the state budget deficit, and also competition with other ex-offender programs that only service the male population.
    Even though it is a struggle we know that this is a ministry that needs attention and does not need to fall by the wayside. There are so many people who need the support and encouragement to overcome economic and emotional challenges that being an ex-offender can bring. Prayerfully with God we can help programs like Hopeworks and WIP to grow and flourish and continue to be a great impact in the community.
    Flora Harmon
    June, 11 2010

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