Hope for the Comunity
June 2022 Issue
by Jacie Elizabeth Millen
In the world we live in today, one thing that is never changing is everyone needs support. Whether financial, emotional or physical, having support is one key component to being happy, successful and sane.
This past January, Hope for the Community, a new non-profit organization was created from the vision of Pastor John Ring. WIth a long local background in counseling, as well as serving as the chaplain for Bluffton Police Department and Bluffton Fire District for more than 12 years, John saw a real need in our Beaufort County community and decided to act.
Hope for the Community has three focuses:
The Greater Bluffton Community Chaplain Network: By training, certifying and overseeing men and women, the chaplain network seeks to have at least a male and female chaplain available in every neighborhood in the area. John feels this presence in each neighborhood will build community and better relationships. “Caring for a neighbor brings better relationships,” he said. It will take some time to fill the roles in every neighborhood however plans are in place to have 26 trained and ready to go by December 2022.
The Single Parent Mentor Network: Hope for the Community will train men and women to mentor single parents. Mentoring this group and engaging the children of the fastest growing subgroup of our culture is imperative to have hope for physical, mental and spiritual stability. Hope for the Community seeks to partner churches and organizations to provide volunteers over age 21 to assist this often neglected group. The United States has more single parents than any other nation. Of the single parents in the US, 88% are women and 28% of those live below the poverty line. “We don’t want single moms to come to us. We want to train people to go to them,” John said. The goal is to also include financial advisors so people will not only feel like they have spiritual support, but also financial resources to feel safe and grow in all life aspects.
Each volunteer, whether they are volunteering as a chaplain or single parent mentor, go through 25 hours of training over a six week period. This way they have a complete understanding of how to handle their mentees professionally and proficiently. In addition, crisis management is part of the curriculum. The organization keeps their mentors up to date with annual trainings, as well. “Our mentors strive to be the calm amongst the mentee’s chaos,” John explained.
Free or Sliding Scale Counseling: Counselor John Ring is a counselor certified through Christian Counseling Education Foundation and the Cornerstone Foundation. Often times, single mothers have issues they need to process with a professional but do not seek help because they can’t afford it. Hope for the Community will provide an affordable way to seek counseling.
Hope for the Community is all about helping people. More goals they are trying to achieve include renewing relationships with the Beaufort Alliance of Human Services and developing and implementing the Community Care Fund. Partnered with Heroes of the Lowcountry, Bluffton Self Help and Family Promise of Beaufort County, Hope for the Community has gotten its sea legs in the past few months.