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The council hears about the Exodus 21 project – Picayune Item

Council hears about Project Exodus 21

Posted at 9:33 a.m. on Friday, September 16, 2022

Exodus Project 21 is a faith-based program that ensures those who need help overcoming addiction can find the resources they need.

That was the message shared with the city council by the organization’s president, Kay Miller.

The group meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Margaret Reed Memorial Library and each meeting includes approximately 10 minutes of devotional instruction. Sessions also include guest speakers, most of whom are involved in the field of mental health. Other information shared during the sessions includes employment opportunities and all free learning opportunities offered at Pearl River Community College. Many of the students who participate are from the 15th Circuit Intervention Court or are on probation. During the year the program was offered, 107 students enrolled, 37% of whom completed the program. Of these 37%, 50% continue to attend the sessions. Miller said the program also helped 16 people get help at a rehabilitation center.

“It was much more successful than I imagined,” Miller said.

Seth Stanley, who serves as the organization’s vice president and is also an associate pastor at Picayune’s First Baptist Church, said the program is looking for office space so it can have a central location to deliver the program. Stanley said that while the church may provide space, he thinks the program would be better received by participants if the office space was public. He hopes to find a larger space than is available at the library, as current attendance fills the meeting room.

He added that attendees also receive information on how to get their driver’s license back, among other help.

Participants typically complete the program for one semester, which consists of 12 courses. To obtain a certificate of completion, the participant must attend at least nine of these courses. This certificate can be presented to the intervention court. This tribunal generally tracks who attends sessions to ensure some accountability.

Program participants ranged in age from 19 to 74, but the average age is between 35 and 45.