Kinston non-profit awarded $550,000 grant to rebuild homes and employee community

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Social enterprise is how one non-profit defines their purpose. 

Hope Restorations offers employment and support for adults recovering from addiction and incarceration. 

The non-profit was awarded more than $550,000 from The Duke Endowment to help fund its efforts to restore neighborhoods in Kinston while helping adults learn marketable skills and find better permanent employment. 

The endowment’s grant will be used to purchase much-needed building materials, tools and equipment for renovation projects as well as provide wages and training for the organization’s clients and employees over the next two years.

While the money and resources are beneficial for the future, it’s the lives that are being impacted that’s making a difference. 

It’s the sounds of construction that offer Jessie Foulks a sense of purpose. 

Despite his history of being in and out of prison, he’s found temporary employment through hope of restorations. 

The transition is sparking a change that he says was necessary. With each stroke of a brush, Foulks is reminded of his love of building houses. 

“I’m learning new things, and I get joy from making a difference while doing something that I love,” said Foulks. “If I don’t do it for myself, there’s one person I do it for and that’s my daughter.” 

The non-profit acquires deteriorating houses in declining neighborhoods then restores the properties into modern energy efficient homes. 

Reverend Chris Jenks founded the organization in 2015. 

“We live in a society that really severely punishes some people mistakes and then forever more, prevents them from turning their life around,” said Reverend Jenkins. “This is a place for the workers to restart, to begin to rebuild their sense of self-worth and dignity.”

There’s a metaphor Jenkins uses to describe the process of the homes and his workers. 

“A lot of individuals say ‘this house is me’ that I’m not trash, I’m not worthless, there’s something in me that I need to clean up,” said Reverend Jenkins. “Each individual begins to relate that to their own life.” 

The grant will allow for more workers like Foulks to help themselves and their communities.

“It’s a process and you have to be willing to have the willingness to get up each and every day if you want that job,” said Foulks. “It warms my heart to know that I’m making a difference in my life and for the people who will eventually live in these houses.”  

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