Program Helps Turn Lives Around
Some young men and women in Montgomery are working to turn their lives around.
They're doing it through a program called Hope Inspired Ministries and tonight they took the first step to a brighter future.
The program helps unemployed people learn the skills they need to find and hold down a job.
It means a lot to these graduates that someone took time to help them.
These six young men and women have all had trouble in their lives.
Many dropped out of high school or got into drugs.
"Basically just sitting around doing nothing. Just smoking all day everyday and living life," said graduate Eric Stevenson.
He came to the program because of the birth of son, who's now four months old.
He says he wants to step up and provide for his family.
"I plan to go on to go to a technical school and do something in auto mechanics and after that I plan on owning my own business," said Stevenson.
As each student got up to tell family and friends about their time at hope inspired ministries, tears were shed by proud mothers and fathers.
The diplomas they now hold in their hands were not easy to earn.
They spent 13 weeks learning classroom and life skills.
"When they come to us we really have to challenge them and bring accountability to their lives so even on our best classes we ultimately only graduate about 50 percent because it's a very difficult course," said Michael Coleman, the program's executive director.
Those who make it usually find work or go on to college. Coleman says about 75 percent find success after graduating.
This is the third year of the program, which has held eight graduations.
One of the hardest things for the students to learn is something that every workplace requires.
"So you're dealing with people who are not used to getting up every day, be somewhere on time. We require that from day one, they have to treat this like a job. So they come at nine o'clock in the morning, Monday through Friday. They stay til four o'clock," said Coleman.
Before being accepted into the program, each student has to apply and go through an interview.
It's a long process, but today's graduates say it was worth it.
If you are interested in going through the program, you can contact the ministry at 649-4330