By Karim Shamsi-Basha
Alabama News Center
Been fishing lately?
We have all heard the saying, “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”
Hope Inspired Ministries takes that saying seriously, as its website makes clear:
“Hope Inspired Ministries seeks to serve those who are low-skilled, poorly educated, and chronically unemployed by preparing and equipping them to obtain and maintain employment through an 11-week job-training course.”
The job-training course is how Hope Inspired Ministries feeds people for a lifetime.
“We teach people how to fish. We wanted to equip the poor and uneducated with the life skills they need to leave those problems behind,” Founder and Executive Director Michael Coleman said. “There are lots of barriers they face that us middle class folks don’t know about. I wanted to come alongside them, not as a superior, but to walk with them in life. My oath to them is when they come upon a barrier they cannot overcome on their own, I promise to figure out the resources so they can continue to make progress.”
Coleman worked as a pastor after serving 21 years in the Army, but decided to start Hope Inspired Ministries when he saw his people suffer. Now in his sixth year with the ministry, he has seen hundreds of people leave poverty and addiction behind for a sustainable job and a hope-filed life.
“The free 11-week course teaches them accountability and other important life skills. It takes them from where they are with no judgment, be it poverty, joblessness or addiction, and teaches them to become self-sufficient,” Coleman said. “After they succeed, they teach their children so you can have the generational impact we are looking for.”
Starting in January, the Woodlawn area in Birmingham will share the success of Hope Inspired Ministries. Birmingham Site Director Kirk Ingram explained:
“As a result of the success Hope Inspired Ministries has enjoyed, we have expanded into the Woodlawn area of Birmingham. We are partnering with the YWCA to provide people with the framework and pathway to a better life,” Ingram said.
New classes will start on Jan. 9 in Birmingham and Montgomery. These classes will provide students with the life skills they need to obtain a job and move toward independence. The proof of their success is the hundreds of headshots of graduates on the walls of the Montgomery office.
Fishing never seemed so life changing.
For more information or to apply for classes, visit http://www.hopeinspiredministries.org
Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at firstname.lastname@example.org.