Donnell came to Hope Inspired Ministries in 2015. Donnell ran the streets most of his life, dealing drugs and serving time in prison for drug charges. While smoking on someone’s front porch one day, he heard about Hope Inspired Ministries. At 36 years old, he had finally come to a point in his life where he was tired of what he was doing and wanted to do something different with his life. Donnell started Hope Inspired Ministries and excelled in everything he did. He worked hard and continually made changes that the program demands. In week seven, he started his internship at Burt Steel. He knew if he worked hard and proved himself on his internship, there was a possibility for him to get hired on full-time once he graduated. And that’s what he did. Donnell graduated Hope Inspired Ministries as the Honor Graduate on April 2, 2015. He started work the following day at Burt Steel. Since graduating the program, Donnell continues to progress–working full-time, supporting his family and working to pay off his tickets. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Donnell.
Before Darrian began at Hope Inspired Ministries, he was struggling in life. While technically he was “working”, the type of work he did involved drugs. His “work” led to him being incarcerated and the lifestyle of a drug dealer continued to interfere with Darrian being able to get a good job.
After entering Hope Inspired Ministries, Darrian shares: “I learned some awesome things. For example, I learned how important it was to have a good work ethic. I also developed the ability to have a better attitude towards others. And most importantly, I began to truly understand how much I wanted to be a better person.”
In order for all those things to happen, he knew he had to begin to set goals for himself. The first goal was to obtain a steady job. While at HIM, Darrian interned with Partner’s Realty. At the time, he had very few skills in regards to knowing how to do building maintenance and repairs. But the internship allowed him the opportunity to learn and begin to obtain many of these skills. After performing well at the internship with Partner’s Realty, they offered him a job. Now, two years later, he not only do handles maintenance on all their properties, but he is now the Maintenance Manager for the Crescent Center. Also, Partner’s Realty plans to help him gain his plumber’s certification so he can make an even better living for him and his family.
Through the two years of working for Partner’s Realty, Darrian’s developed the confidence in himself to where he believes he can do anything! Another goal of his was to jump start his education and completed his GED this past January.
Darrian and his wife Shonica have become very involved in with their church family. They worship with New Life every Sunday morning and in the afternoon with Haven Outreach Ministries. He shares that he has truly come to recognize that without God in his life, all of this would not be possible.
A couple of months ago, Darrian dropped by the office of Hope Inspired Ministries to touch base with the staff. He shared with Michael two very significant things about his life now as opposed to how it used to be. First, he told him that, for the first time in his life, when he saw the police, he didn’t feel the urge to run away. He said, “When your life revolves around selling drugs, of course the police are people you avoid. Now, everything I do is legitimate; from my work at Partner’s Realty to having insurance, registration, and license for my car. There is no need to fear the police.”
Secondly, he told Michael how good that it felt as a man to be able to take care of his family. Darrian has three children, two sons and a daughter, and it is important to him that he sets an example for them to follow.
Shannon grew up in an average middle class family. At the age of 14, she started selling drugs. By 16, she was facing five years in prison for forgery. Thankfully those charges were dropped. For the next two years, she shifted between her parent’s houses, juvenile facilities, children homes, and foster care. She continued to party and dabbled in illegal activities but never got caught.
At 19, Shannon moved to take care of her mother after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She became a mother to her mom and teenage brother and vowed to take care of her mom for the rest of her life. Then at the age of 23, Shannon became a mother to her son, Michael.
By the time Shannon was 28, the stress of taking care of everyone finally took a toll on her. Her drinking and drug use was out of control. In one year, she got in trouble for reckless driving and possession of marijuana. She was spiraling out of control. She couldn’t keep a job and she was about to lose her family. She then decided to move back to Montgomery where her dad was, who was also struggling with health problems, and take care of both her mother and father. Within 3 months of living in Montgomery, she met a charming man and got married. The honeymoon soon ended. With her husband Carlos being from the Dominican Republic, their cultures and upbringing clashed immediately. She had stopped doing drugs, but her drinking was out of control. After a talk with her dad and her mom`s health deteriorating, Shannon decided to stop drinking.
On July 26, 2013, after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, Shannon’s mom passed away. After 18 years of begin her mom’s caretaker, she didn’t know what to do. After several weeks of depression, she decided to find help and was referred to Hope Inspired Ministries.
During the class, Shannon began to open up. She shares some of her experience while at Hope Inspired Ministries:
“We had a course called Holistic Hardware. Every week we learned a new life skill. All were helpful but for me there were three that helped tremendously. First was the planning tool, which focused on time management. Next was self-esteem, and the third was discipline. Even though for years I had used all these tools for my mom and son, I had forgotten to use them for me! I hated myself and felt worthless. With these three tools, especially self-esteem, I learned to live again. I had to take responsibility for myself and my life and most importantly I had to relearn that I was pretty spectacular. I use these tools in all aspects of life. I have to say the best thing I got out of my experience was learning to have healthy relationships with the staff and students. I got out of my shell, started to relax, and was living and loving life. I finally discovered who I was. I also regained my faith in the Lord and started walking and growing with him.”
Shannon was hired on to her internship at Heritage Baptist church after graduation, but after several events that happened, she felt a calling to be in the medical field. After deciding nursing school wasn’t an option due to financial reasons, Shannon was accepted into the CNA program. In November 2014, she graduated the program and got a job at an assisted living place here in town. In April 2015, Shannon was hired on full time at John Knox Manor as a CNA. She shares, “I not only found a job I love, but this is my career.”
After giving her speech at our recent the Hope Inspired Ministries Benefit Dinner, a generous donor offered to pay for Shannon to go to nursing school to fulfill the dream she has to become a nurse. She has enrolled herself in the Fortis College Nursing Program and will plan to begin classes in July 2016. She also purchased her first home where her and her son, Michael, will live.