Our Founder, Angela Hurks
Step by Step Ministry Hope Project - Reentry Program
In 2002, Ms. Hurks faced challenging and difficult times. She was in the turn of her life after twelve years of substance abuse and incarceration. She had had enough! She continued to work on the narrative for the HOPE Project that eventually became a reality one-day that would help countless formerly incarcerated women re(build) their life in the upstate of South Carolina.
The marriage was over. Her relationship with the children was close yet estranged and domestic violence was her fear. Howbeit, that did not stop her. She did not allow what had happened to her or surrounding the breakup to alienate or separate her from the love of her children, their love for her, or their future.
Ms. Hurks was a participant in the the drug court program in Greenville county. She and a few participants had to wear the patch and some participants tested positive for cocaine on theirs. In fact, Hurks patch tested positive once she returned to Greenville from Detroit visiting her sick sister. There were participants who had been sanctioned to prison, sentenced to serve prison a lot of time for the charges previously pled to, a requirement to attend the second chance program. Ms. Hurks withstood the test of time and remained clean and calm through her plea of innocence. She fought back against the ruling, shared her story honestly, and a court hearing on the patch was decided. She and cohorts hired a research naval scientist who had been studying the apparatus ], he even wrote a book about it. However, through her experience, fear and pain; she begin writing a reentry program for formerly incarcerated and homeless women. Nonetheless, unbeknown to her why this happened, with the only understanding and dismay, there was a problem with the drug monitoring patch. She continued to dedicate her time to writing the reentry program until God prevailed. That was the beginning of her to becoming a community advocate for formerly-and-currently incarcerated women.
She and her sister shared a close and special bond. Her sister was a native born of Greenville that had lived here as a child, and again as a young adult. Ms. Hurks tried to get her sister to move back. Nevertheless - it broke Ms. Hurks heart. Because her sister who struggled with addiction in her life chose to remain in Detroit. She was diagnosed at stage 4 ovarian cancer. The prognosis were not encouraging. She was not going to survive this.
Ms. Hurks traveled to be by her sisters side, for support, and at least to have one lasting joyous time with just the two of them together again. She and her sister made a trip down memory lane at the Karmanos Cancer Institute of Detroit that made this one last time alive a celebration, hurks exclaimed! She was able to grant her sister's wish to become the legal guardian of the only daughter, her sister had.
Hurks became the mover and shaker of her church community, She employed a community gathering of all clergy, city-councilwomen, pastors, and community one Sunday evening at the Refuge Temple Church in downtown Greenville. People filled the pews and the event begin, many guest met one another for the first time. She had representatives that spoke on interesting topics including community economic development, housing, legislature, and bridging the gap between the church and political circles. Although, not very long thereafter, gentrification started, it went slow, and unnoticed then, and now - we are here.
Gentrification was at its beginning in the planning stages at City Hall quietly though it seemed. But actually gentrification became the stepping-stone to the economic growth of the City of Greenville, which afforded beautification, new transit buses, beautiful greenspaces and parks, and new modern and well built homes. The city made its constituents proud to call the new Greenville home. Even though is was not so good for impoverished black and brown and poor communities, it had to happen. And accommodations were in place for housing seniors. Many seniors were displaced in order for new housing inventory of beautiful and larger structures to be erected. Affordable housing for a lot of poor natives became obsolete for working poor families, individuals and youth. Gentrification has happened in most major cities since the turn of the century, and ghettos were used to build better beautiful homes where drugs ravished communities of color once were. Gentrification and mass incarceration skyrocketed.
Ms. Hurks completed the transcript for what is now known as, Step By Step Ministry Hope Project, a reentry program for formerly incarcerated and homeless women. Hopefully, she imagined, that vulnerable women formerly incarcerated could have a place to receive life transitioning help with resources of case management, peer support and wrap around support services to return home to their community.
Her sister transitioned in 2004.
Step By Step Ministry Hope Project was implemented on January 2008. The reentry program begin with four formerly incarcerated and homeless women and the transitional housing program grew and to date has assisted countless women to rebuild, empower, and change their life to drug-free for the better with a less than 1% recidivism.
I can say, the reentry housing project for formerly Incarcerated and homeless women is dedicated to her sister.
I love you, Doris.