Step By Step Ministry HOPE Project, Inc., was founded on January 24, 2008 by a determined and caring female citizen of Greenville County who was given vision to help women in bondage to addictions. Angela Hurks stepped up to answer the call of her vision. And with a plan. She stepped out to start-up this nonprofit organization. Her plan was to provide a safe and stable home, provide support of life skills and soft skills, help women to in compromised backgrounds complete an education who were plagued with barriers. Women coming from various roads incarceration, mental illness and substance abuse, domestic partner violence, and homelessness. Her purpose is to help them to improve their quality of life and on to a permanent home.
Hurks identifies the plight of these women to be in many ways as her reality once was. In 2002, a very challenging and painful year it was for Hurks. According to her memory it was when God reminded her enough was enough. Then He placed his vision and purpose in her spirit. She was provided the anointing and his grace that she identify as her higher power to journal her life experience. She had been in the cycle of breaking the cycle to bondage of active addiction. she had became homeless as her life spun into a vicious tornado. It was during the illness of her eldest sister that she heard his calling and begin to write the "Hope Project" as the program begin to develop after 365 days of continuous and committed writing. She implored many proofreaders and editor's she remembers. With a strong conviction to make her program a reality. It was at the last stages of her eldest sisters life that she completed the manuscript. Her sister died from ovarian cancer. Haphazardly, the result of active addiction, Hurks testifies; "If the drugs doesn't kill you, the lifestyle certainly will."
Hurks was born and reared in the 1960's in the "Big City" of Detroit, Michigan. She grew up in a middle-class family along five siblings. Her attest that she is the baby girl of them all. That her first account of drugs was witnessed the day her two eldest brothers that were serviceman in Vietnam. Along with many neighboring black males arrived home from the war. Hurks remember at age 9 everyone except her were going to the back bedroom. She remembers the door closing and the eldest brother toting a black footlocker. Concealed Inside were firearms and drugs. Her parents were at work on this day. And she thought "I'm telling mama what is happening" There were opiates, opium, hash and marijuana she recalls they were using. Her vow was, "I will never use drugs," She says this was a first beginning of what would become a horrible demise of the black family in Detroit Michigan. Traditional culture values and businesses in the neighborhood where she grew up that would eventually slowly decay. The riot of 1967 for the "Big City" took care of the rest. But her memories would never fade away.
The first shelter in Greenville was opened in 2008. Through mentors and members of the community, faith-base organizations, and business leaders who believed in her mission. Fruitfully provided resources and poured into the needs of her cause. Seed was compassionately sown with lots of humility and individual that helped. This mission and vision still in its existence today. Continues to provide safe shelter, clothing, hope and supportive services to homeless women in Greenville County. Currently there are three shelters available for a special population of homeless women in transition as they learn a "New Way to Live."
In formulating the curriculum of the hope project which took about a year of penmanship with great sacrifice's and strong commitment. Hurks recorded a pathway of crossroads she trudged to overcome many issues in life like those of the women she assist today. Hurks testify for homeless women and has the many barriers to overcome being without stable housing, employment and transportation with parenting issues, substance abuse, shame, under-education or the lack of one, separation anxieties, depression, guilt, and most important hopelessness and fear.
Hurks has provided shelter for women without a stable home and supported many with services for 10 years. She says the end is no where near. That she appreciates all who beleived in her vision and help with sincere gratitude and for the love of those who has with her since start-up. Without this comprehensive program many would not have survived. Step By Step is the only reentry program currently operating in the upstate.
"Lucy" was referred to us by a community leader who noticed her sleeping in an abandoned car behind a closed gas station. She fled domestic violence with no relatives near, and no one willing to help. She was malnourished and addicted to painkillers. Step by Step reached out and to perform a need-based comprehensive assessment; placed her into shelter and provided intensive counseling and case management.
Lucy successfully addressed matters at home, filed for a divorce, claimed her belongings and is no longer self-medicating. She was assisted in finding and maintaining employment and stable housing. Today, she has rebuilt her self-esteem, confidence and is volunteering on occasion to help others grow out of their homelessness. She has also been able to reconnect with her mother after six years of estrangement.