By Mikal McCurry
Montgomery, Alabama– Hope Inspired Ministries is a faith-based nonprofit organization that seeks to supply chronically unemployed and impoverished Alabamians with the necessary tools to attain and uphold employment. This ministry was birthed by retired military soldier and pastor Michael Coleman. Coleman saw a desire for work in the underprivileged communities in Montgomery; what he also saw was a lack of assistance for these individuals. In 2011, Coleman stepped out on faith and took out his life savings and a loan to start a ministry that would transform the lives of people. Now entering its 6th year, Executive Director Michael Coleman organized an Open House to celebrate the 5th Year Anniversary of Hope Inspired Ministries.
H.I.M provides free, 11-week training programs to eligible residents of the Montgomery and Birmingham area. The program is open to all Alabama residents, but bus transportation can only be provided for students that live in the Montgomery and Birmingham areas. Director of Marketing Elizabeth Richards says that the main purpose of Hope Inspired Ministries is to equip students to become self-sufficient and break the cycle of poverty. During the 11-week program, students are taught life skills, core values, time management, job skills, school curriculum, and how to keep faith in God despite their circumstances. During the final 3 weeks of the program, students participate in unpaid internships based on their skills and abilities.
To be accepted into this program, applicants must be at least 18, read at a 6th grade level, pass random drug screenings, and have a desire to change their life. Both Coleman and Richards both stated that the desire to change is the most important criteria; students who do not have the determination to turn their life around do not succeed in the program.
Although H.I.M. has strict standards, the ministry has had a remarkable success rate. 75-80% of students that graduate from the program are able to obtain and keep employment or have enrolled in higher education, and only 4% of graduating students relapse into their old habits. Personal testimonies from current and former students detail the impact of the program; all students have commented that the program positively transformed their life and mentality. Students also commented that the relational nature of this ministry sets it apart from any other transformative program.
Even though H.I.M has been highly successful to this point, Coleman states that the organization is always testing new methods and techniques to improve the ministry and provide better services for students. Coleman strives to love each student in the same way that God loves us–without judgement. He says that the ultimate goal of this ministry is to ensure that anyone in the Montgomery area that desires employment, and is willing to work for it, will be able to get a job.
To learn more about Hope Inspired Ministries or to give a donation, visit www.hopeinspiredministries.org
All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine. Copyright 2017.