Hope Inspired Ministries seeks to serve the chronically unemployed by preparing them to obtain and maintain employment. We will do so in a manner that develops individual worth, encourages personal responsibility, and promotes the value and honor of work. Each student will be guided in the achievement of their chosen career through specialized classroom and on-the-job training. It is our intent to introduce a way of life that promotes the development of the emotional, physical, and spiritual maturity in each student.

 
Hope Inspired Ministries    is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible. 

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Awesome Speeches from Awesome Students!


We had a terrific night this past Thursday at our graduation!  The speeches that the students deliver seem to get better and better with each class.  As we always do after a graduation, we want to share their speeches with you.

 

However, before we get to the speeches, there is something else I want to introduce you to...it is the H.I.M. pledge.  This is a series of principles that all of our graduates pledge to live by to the best of their ability from here on out.  This had been adapted from Mike Rowe's S.W.E.A.T (Skill and Work Ethic Aren't Taboo) pledge.  

 

"The H.I.M. Pledge"

1. I believe that I have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that "happiness" and the "pursuit of happiness" are not the same thing.

2. I believe there is no such thing as a "bad job." I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it's up to me to make the best of them.

3. I do not "follow my passion." I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.

4. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can't afford.

5. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.

6. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.

7. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning.

 8. I believe that I am a product of my choices - not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face.

9. I understand the world is not fair, and I'm OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.

10. I believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

Our first speech will be by Michael Pettway:

MichaelPettway

"Good evening, my name is Michael Pettway.  Before I came to Hope Inspired Ministries, I was in a very dark place I didn't believe in myself.  I didn't believe that I could accomplish anything.  I had a very controlling marijuana problem.  I couldn't get the jobs I really wanted or deserved because I couldn't pass drug tests.  But today after coming to Hope Inspired Ministries, I can truly say I believe in myself.  I know now that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, but what I really learned here is to look deep into myself and work on my character flaws.

 

Now these days I've learned to think positively about any and all situations.  I can pass a drug test now and that makes me feel so very proud of myself.  Now I'm on the right path in my life; I can look toward my future in a positive light.  I can see myself owning my own home someday.  I can visualize myself in a rewarding career.  I can also envision myself with a bank account.   

 

I have enjoyed the learning experience of my internship at ADECA and appreciate my superiors Mr. Freddy Fox and Mr. Jeff Vanguilder and all of the wisdom they shared with me.   For me, this class has been life changing.  I had an interview for a really great job at Progress Rail Service on Monday.  They called me back on Tuesday and offered me the job.  I start April 21!

 

But none of this would have been possible if not for my wife Anita Yvette.  She has always believed in me when I didn't believe in myself; she never gave up on me and she paid all the bills while I was in this course. To her I'm truly grateful.  I always have and will always love you. 

 

To my instructors Ms. Leanne, even though we butted heads twice you gave me a chance and didn't put me out of the program and to that I'm truly grateful. To Mr. Michael, I want to thank you for allowing me to enter Hope Inspired Ministries and to Mrs. Ashton, and Ms. Barbara thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Thanks to the lunch providers and our teachers, like Ms. Brenda, who helped us with math.  I also would like to say thank you to Mr. Wayne Hilgers, my mentor, for all your help and encouragement.  To my fellow classmates, good luck on your future endeavors and God bless each and every one of you.  Thank you."

More speeches to follow in the coming days!

For Him,
Michael

Have You Ever Heard Of “Code Switching”?

(3/17/14)

    We were blessed to have a friend of the ministry, Denise Dukes, a speech therapist, come and speak to our students last week. Denise was asked to come and talk to our students because many of them have trouble enunciating their words properly which affects their ability to communicate effectively. 

    Denise explained to our class (and to our staff), the concept of code switching. While I probably will not do it justice, the code switching is the ability to communicate effectively with one group and then immediately change to communicate effectively with people from a different culture, background, etc.

     The reason this is such an important issue for us is that many of our students are used to only speaking to family and friends which is a part of their culture. But when at work and required to communicate people in a more formal and proper manner, the communication system breaks down. While we understand this was a problem, we didn't realize the problem had a name to it.

     Denise spent some time teaching our students some methods to learn to enunciate their words more clearly. She also is going to help our students who speak softly and don't know how to project their voices. We are beginning to understand just how serious of an issue this is and that we need to spend more time in this area in order for our students to successfully transition into the workforce.

Other positive trends we are seeing with this class:

   Internship providers are letting us know that our students possess a positive attitude and good work ethic.

    It is likely that several of our students will have the chance to be hired right out of their  internships because they are doing such a good job.

    Some students are spending extra time in the computer lab learning and improving their  Microsoft Office skills such as Excel and PowerPoint.

Thank you all for your support, prayers, and encouragement with this class. While we have had to dismiss more than we had hoped, we are very excited about the long-term potential of those who are set to graduate in a few weeks.

For Him, Michael


Moments Like These Make It All Worth It

(2/21/14)

    Our life skill that we are focusing on this week has been on relationships. We teach our students to identify each person in their life in one of three categories: mentor, menace, or mystery. A mentor is someone that desires the best for you and one that you need to draw closer to in your life. A menace is someone that is not truly interested in your best interest and therefore need to exclude from your life. A mystery is someone that you have not yet determined whether they are a mentor or menace and therefore need to establish healthy boundaries with until that determination is made.

    One morning in a discussion with the men, I challenged them to foster the positive relationships (mentors) they had in their lives. I asked them to identify those who they were closest to and to let them know how important they were to their lives and how much they loved and appreciated them. This is something that was a novel concept to them.

    One student who is 18 years old said that he could not do that with his mother. When I asked why not, he told me “because if I tell my mom I love her and appreciate her, she will think I am playing her”.  I believe there are a couple of reasons for this response. First, he has been guilty of emotionally manipulating his mother in the past and she would naturally question how genuine he was if he, out of the blue, showered her with love and praise. Second, it is symptomatic of what plagues many men which is, we are scared to express genuine feelings and emotions for fear of what people will do with them. In fact, in inner city culture, it is a sign of weaknesses to cry or even express sadness and pain over almost anything.

    Nevertheless, I convinced him to not predetermine his mother’s reaction and communicate to her how he felt. The next day I asked him if he did it. He got this smile on his face, pulled out his phone, and said, “Let me show you”. Here is a picture that I took of the exchange:

Text






When I asked him how that made him feel he rubbed his chest and said, “All warm inside.” Hopefully this is one lesson that truly sank home.

For Him,

Michael


Loving Them Enough to Let Them Go

(2/14/14)

    The events of this week remind me of an encounter between Jesus and a rich young man. Most of you know the story…a young man wants to know how to obtain eternal life. The young man was obviously very religious by the fact that he was great at keeping the law. But Jesus challenged him with a deeper truth which is that he had to love Him more than his wealth. The young man was willing to give Jesus part of his life but not all of it. So the young man turned and walked away from Jesus.

    While there are many great lessons that can be gleaned from this meeting, one that is impressed upon my mind is how Jesus let this man just walk away. He didn’t chase after him and say, “I was just kidding” or “I will compromise the truth for you”. The truth is that Jesus loved this man like He does all of creation. He wanted him as a disciple…but on Jesus’ terms and not the young man’s terms.

    This week I had to dismiss four students; two men and two women. I found no joy in doing so at all. In fact, my heart aches over their situation. We desperately wanted them to become successful. However, much like the rich young man in the story, they wanted to do it on their terms. They wanted what was being offered (a chance at future employment) but were not willing to make the changes necessary to be successful.  The reality is that they have not hit rock bottom yet. They want to change but do not want it enough to actually go through the challenges to accomplish real and meaningful change. It is kind of like me and eating sweets… (but I digress).

    This is actually a situation we face daily…when to let go and when to hold on. I pray daily for wisdom and for God to lead me to a proper understanding in each case. A simple test I try to apply is asking myself this question, “Do I want this for the student more than he wants this for himself?” If the answer is “yes”, then I have to love him enough to let him go, pray that he soon hits his bottom, and returns with an attitude that says, “I am now ready to become what God has created me to become.” I ask that you pray this for all our past, present, and future students.

For Him,

Michael


The Ongoing Drug Problem

(02/10/14)


There has been a lot mentioned in the news lately in reference to drug abuse. It ranges from the extreme of the heroin overdose of Philip Seymour Hoffman to the legalization in Washington and Colorado of recreational marijuana use. Regardless of where you stand on the legalization of marijuana use, we need to understand how it hurts those are fighting to get out of a life of poverty.


    Here is why I believe it to be so harmful. Almost all of our students have spent their lives running from real emotions such as anger, pain, sorrow, etc. If they can escape having to deal with emotions, then they are not faced with the need to make the necessary changes to become a different and better person. In other words, they fail to grow from bad experiences. We all know that God allows us to face these emotions in an effort to turn us back towards Him. If we can zone out, even for a little while, then the pain is removed and my need for change lessens. The bottom line for us is that marijuana itself is not an addictive substance but the escape that it provides does become addictive.


    Having said this, allow me to explain how our drug policy works. If a potential student is otherwise well qualified for our program but is positive for marijuana (not other drugs), we sometimes accept them on a probationary basis. We allow them time for the marijuana to work out of their system (usually four weeks) and then test them again. If they are clean, they are allowed to stay in the program. If they test positive, they are immediately dismissed because it demonstrates a continued use. Just this past Monday we tested six students that we accepted on a probationary status and five of them tested clean. One tested positive and was dismissed from the program.


    This is evidence that our students, having been given the chance to change, have chosen to face life soberly and seriously. While we were sorry to have to say goodbye to one of our students due to drugs, we rejoice over the five that are well onto a better path for themselves and their future!


For Him,

Michael

    

CLASS NEWS AND NOTES

(01/28/2014)
I want to take the opportunity this week to share with you a critical need in our program. It seems to crop up once or twice every class. Although we do not accept students with unstable living situations, occasionally a student finds themselves homeless. This creates a situation where making successful changes to their lives becomes nearly impossible. There are a couple of temporary shelters but the use of drugs is very prominent in many of these places and creates an even worse environment for our student.

As a result, we need loving, Christian homes that would be willing to temporarily open their homes to a student. It would be an adult foster care program so to speak.

Let me share with you the person I have in mind. We had a student whose mom and sister live in Georgia and he was left to live with his grandmother and uncle. The other day, this student had an altercation which was initiated by his uncle. His grandmother sided with the uncle and the result was she threw him out onto the street. He is a 20 year old male who has no one here in Montgomery in which to turn. We genuinely feel that he has tons of potential or we would not waste our time with him. We are asking for a Christian family to allow him to stay in their home.

Here are a few anticipated questions that I hope to answer in advance:

  1. What about transportation? Each of our students is provided a monthly bus pass to get them to school and back home.
  2. What about safety? We will share all our student's background with the provider. No one with a violent background or a propensity for violence will be placed in anyone's home.
  3. What about additional costs such as clothes, food, etc.? The only additional cost that a family would incur is the additional food they would eat and household utilities. We will cover any expenses. If the student requires medical attention (other than emergency care) please contact Michael or Leanne for instructions.
  4. What about liability issues? Each student will sign a liability waiver which will protect the provider from any lawsuits.
  5. What happens if it simply does not work out? Notify us immediately of any problems and they will be addressed. If the provider no longer wishes to participate or the burden of care becomes too great, they can cancel the agreement and other arrangements for care will be made.
  6. What would be a typical length of stay? Our best guess at this point would be 3-4 months.
  7. Are there specific responsibilities the provider must adhere to? We ask that each student be treated as you would any other family member. They should be expected to do chores (inside and outside) as well as attend church or any other functions the family participates in. They both need, and in most cases, desire this type of structure and accountability.
  8. Who would I contact with issues? I or Leanne will be available 24 hours a day at 334-210-0604 (Michael) and 334-318-5842 (Leanne).

We are hopeful that with 5-10 families willing to provide this type care, we will not need a single family to do this more than once every two years.


For Him,

Michael


MEET OUR NEW CLASS!
(1/21/14)
We are off to an incredible start with our new class! All indications are they are highly motivated, enthusiastic, and ready for the challenges of our training. God has placed all of these 23 individuals in our path, each with different stories to share and challenges to overcome. We at Hope Inspired Ministries are excited about the chance to share life with our students and guide them through these challenges in order to become all that God has created them to become.  

Many of you know that, during the first week of every class, we get our students to write a short statement as to why they are here. We post their reasons on the wall for them to see every day so they can always remember what they are working towards when it gets really hard.  

We give them a sheet of paper that states, "I am at Hope Inspired Ministries because _______" and they identify specific reasons why they are here. I want to share with you some of the responses that were given:

Student #1 "To better myself and turn my life around and become a better person...and take care of my family."

Student #2 "Because I am tired of doing the same thing and getting the same result."

Student #3 "I need to better myself and then I can help others to become better."

Student #4 "To make my mother proud."

Student #5 "I want to change my lifestyle, get my G.E.D., and have a good job."

Student #6 "To change my life completely around.

Student #7 "To learn more about myself so I can learn to stay clean and pursue a career and get closer to my Creator."

Student #8 "I have never given myself a real chance to make a change in my life."

Student #9 "I want to succeed."

Student #10 "I am determined to do better than my current circumstances."

Student #11 "I refuse to live in the past. I choose to change today for a better tomorrow."

Student #12 "I want to expand my knowledge and learn social skills."

Student #13 "I am here to bring the inside on the outside."

Student #14 "I want to push harder to a better life..."

Student #15 "I am ready for a new beginning."

While I didn't mention every student (due to some repetition), you can't help but be impressed at the attitude our students have. They know they must change and they are willing to be try something different so they can produce a different result. Of course, all will not be successful, at least with this first attempt. But some lives will forever be changed and that is worth every ounce of effort that is put forth. Please pray for each of them to achieve their goals and realize what God is calling each of them to become.

For Him,

Michael


Graduation and Student Speeches

(12/9/13)

Last Thursday, we had our biggest graduation to date, both in the number of graduates and the size of our audience. In fact, attendance was so good that we are going to have to move our location for our reception next graduation. What a great problem to have!

Eleven students walked across the stage and told our audience about the many changes that have taken place in their lives over the previous 13 weeks. For those in our audience, it was quite moving. To add to the excitement, most of our students have already been hired as a result of their performance during their internships as well.

In keeping with past practice, we will send out our students’ speeches over the coming weeks. This will allow those who were unable to attend the graduation to share in the successes of our students. I believe that the speeches will both move and encourage you and will serve as proof that some of the most broken in our society can be reached in the name of our Lord Jesus! Enjoy!

Friencherria Burch

Hello everyone, my name is Friencherria Burch.  Before coming to Hope Inspired Ministries, I had no direction.  I had dropped out of school at 16 and sat at home doing nothing. Don't get me wrong, I am not a lazy person, but my self-esteem would not allow it.  At 19, the time I was ready to do something, I found out I was pregnant with my son.  After I had my son, I felt I had to be with him every minute. I wanted to guide him in the right direction but in reality, although I was helping him, I was going in the wrong direction for our family.

 One day my sister came up to me with a Hope Inspired Ministries pamphlet and told me all about meeting Michael. Just 15 minutes later my Mom brought me the same pamphlet. At that moment I thought "This must be a sign." I have a 5 month old son who is counting on me to make a better life and I felt this might be the way to do that for us.

 I called Hope Inspired Ministries to schedule an interview and that day my blessing came true because it was the last day for interviews. Another blessing came when out of all the interviews they had I was chosen to become a student here. I came to Hope Inspired Ministries and did what I had to do to make a better life for me and my son. So here I am 13 weeks later!!!

 I am approaching my wedding date in January.  I will continue to volunteer at the YMCA where I had my internship, to continue to learn good work habits and stay on a good path.  I am still working towards my GED, and am continuing to apply for jobs.  In the future I want to go back to school and study psychology. Since being in the classes at Hope Inspired Ministries I have also moved closer to God and as every day goes by I believe that I will get even stronger.

For that I want to thank the entire staff of Hope Inspired Ministries: Michael Coleman, Leanne Armstrong, Barbara Anderson, my teacher Ashton Herrod. I would also like to thank my mentor, Anna McKee for being there for me and being an ear when something was bothering me.

Above all I would like to thank God for my healthy son, Latayvian Pettiway and my fiancé Larry Pettiway. I am thankful to stand in front of you this evening. I am grateful I have had this opportunity. Thank you.

Anthony Cornley

My name is Anthony Cornley and I am 31 years old.  Before I started going to Hope Inspired Ministries, my life was totally different.  My life was up and down.  In my past I did things that I regret to this day. 

I started smoking and drinking at an early age.  It was cool at first, but I got older and I felt I was wasting my time doing it.  Smoking weed was good when I needed it, but it was holding me back from doing what I needed to do.

I stopped smoking when I met the mother of my children.  I was 22.  She was a big inspiration to me.  She was the only female I talked to that knew me better than I knew myself.  Things were going good for us and we had three beautiful kids together.

When she was pregnant with our youngest child, the doctor told her she was high risk.  That meant that either she or the baby was going to live, but not both.  After she delivered they both appeared to be alright, but then my wife took a turn for the worst.  They put her in the Intensive Care Unit and she was on a ventilator to help her breath.  She was on the ventilator for two months and didn't make any progress and so they took her off.

My wife passed away November 11, 2009.  It was very hard for me because I was losing my other half.  My little boy was alright but I took her death hard.  I was 27.

I started going back to my bad habits again.  I was smoking weed and drinking so I wouldn't think about what happened.  One day my mom and dad went to a church to get some food.  Next to that church was a place that helped you find a job and get a GED.  My daddy came home and told me about it and I went and signed up the next day. 

I talked to them and I was in class the next week.  That was my blessing to get out of the streets and get my life together because I was also going in and out of jail.  When I started school at Hope Inspired Ministries, things started to go good for me again.  Michael and Leanne changed my life whether they knew it or not.

I'm doing well in class and I am learning how to control my attitude. I have been blessed ever since I started this school.  One of the positive changes I have made is going back to church.

 Another is I am now at my internship at Chappy's, and taking a GED class.  They like me at Chappy's because they say I work hard and catch on fast.  They have already offered me a job there when I finish Hope Inspired Ministries. 

I am doing well at my GED class too.  My teacher told me if I went and took my GED test right now, I would probably pass it.  Things are going very good for me and I don't even think about my bad past anymore.  

I live with my mom and dad and I am raising my children.  They are ages 7, 6, and 4.  I'm enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.  That's why I am grateful for being at Hope Inspired Ministries, because they have made me a better person. 

I want to thank my momma and my daddy and my kids for motivating me.  I want to also thank Michael and Leanne and the whole Hope Inspired Ministries staff.  I want to thank my mentor, Gary Mitchell, my classmates, my internship provider, Chappy's Deli, and all of the people who donated lunches for us.  Most of all I want to thank God for bringing me to where I am today.   Thank you.


Thanksgiving Blog

(11/21/13)

There is a verse in the book of Malachi which says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Mal 3:10

When Hope Inspired Ministries began almost two full years ago, I truly wanted to be that person who trusted this ministry to the care of God. God challenges his people to test Him and see if what He says is not true. Two years later, God has proven here to be what all the Scriptures say He is…a God who is faithful to His promises. Let me share with you some of the special blessings that we have encountered here:

First Baptist Church opened up their doors to this ministry from the very beginning by providing us enough office and classroom space to host H.I.M. In addition, they have never charged us one cent for any of the utilities we use. For u

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