PICKENS – Pickens will soon become home to an Upstate, faith-based center for substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation.
Plans have been underway for months by a Columbia organization called The Well of Hope in collaboration with Barnabas Ministries. Residence, training and work facilities will be housed at the former Mayfair Mill property, according to Chris Barber, executive director for The Well of Hope.
Barber is asking local churches and business to become a part of the effort.
The collaboration with Barnabas Ministries adds an element of prevention for young people, according to Rick Mooneyham, founder of that Columbia group that currently works through a faith-based approach to rehabilitate inmates in the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Barber formed the Well of Hope in Columbia in 2010 after working with Teen Challenge in Brooklyn, N.Y. He describes Teen Challenge as a Christian Discipleship Ministry for men and women with life-controlling problems.
The Columbia location has grown to include residential facilities and programs that help clients through character building, faith connections, training in life skills and relationship skills.
It help get clients back on their feet by helping them find work.
The Columbia location partners with other businesses to find apprenticeship programs and work. It also contracts with organizations like NASCAR, PGA and the South Carolina State Fair, providing concessions, janitorial and transportation services.
It also partners with a recycling company to process carpet fibers for recycling.
“All these things provide opportunities for training,” Barber said. “If we need a forklift driver, we can help get that person trained and certified. We are building skills. We have relationships with builders to take apprentices and train them. Then they know what kind of worker they have and it can turn into full-time work,” Barber said.
The plan for the Pickens location is similar, turning an office building into temporary housing for some clients until they can renovate a donated house into a full-time residence.
Barbers hope is that the residential piece of the puzzle could grow.
Barber has been in talks with Tri-County Technical College and Greenville Technical College to help clients make connections for GED and higher education.
The connection to local churches is to help with mentoring and to find a group that the client knows in interested in them.
“We think of ourselves as a holistic ministry,” Barber said.
The people he works with need to see and experience how a different way of living works and feels. Long term success requires a deeper understanding from a variety of sources, he said.
“A mind changed against its will is not a soul convinced,” he said.
He and Mooneyham say they believe many of the problems that their troubled clients face comes from a breakdown of the family in our society.
Mooneyham said he has come to believe that he can be more effective in changing lives if he gets to people in need early.
In pursuit of that , the organization is working through Greater Mt. Calvary Church in the Jackson Community on Greenville’s west side.
The churches handles space, transportation and a meal for about 15 young people four days per week.