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New addiction recovery program kicks off in Pearl River County

By Kay Miller

Special to the Item

The first meeting of EPIC (Exodus Project Intervention Course) was held August 5 at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library in Picayune.

EPIC is a 12-week program designed to help addicts in recovery reach complete sobriety and health. Organizer and President Kay Miller opened the meeting with a description of the project as a radical approach to drug and alcohol intervention for those who abuse intoxicating substances.

The EPIC course of study includes practicums, homework, assessments, discussions and objectives.

It is designed to promote and enable a path to citizenship normalcy for the participants and a continuing commitment to and practice of sobriety. During the 12 weekly meetings, students will learn of opportunities for further education, internships, scholarships and low cost job training programs. 

Mentorships will be encouraged and available. The project has received much support from our community leaders, law enforcement, numerous employers, and church/religious institutions.  While the project has no singular denominational ties, it is definitely faith based in its approach to behavior, morality and culture. The program is free to participants, but requires a commitment to fully engage in the project.

Speakers at the meeting encouraged the students to embrace the project. Guest speakers included Picayune Mayor Jim Luke,  Poplarville Mayor Louise Smith, Maj. Joe Quave of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department, and Pearl River County Chancery Clerk Melinda Bowman.

Teresa Rouse-Neal told her inspiring story of substance abuse and her subsequent rescue from addiction and her now resultant leadership in faith-based recovery programs. Sheriff David Allison and Matthew Busby, a public defender in Pearl River County and Picayune, also demonstrated support.

EPIC is one component of Exodus Project 21, a newly formed tax-exempt 501(c)3 charity serving this community.

The organization was formed to combat substance abuse by filling those identified gaps that contribute to the large amount of recidivism experienced in Pearl River County.

Kay Miller, who has had many years of experience helping addicts in recovery, is the President/CEO of Exodus Project 21. Seth Stanley, Assoc. Pastor at First Baptist Church of Picayune is Vice President or the organization. Dr. Jerry Kirby, retired, is Secretary/Treasurer. Melinda Bowman and Teresa-Rouse Neal are members of the Board of Directors. Donations are greatly appreciated from fellow organizations or individuals.

For more information, please visit www.exodusproject21.org where interested parties have the opportunity to learn more about Exodus Project 21, find opportunities to volunteer, or to donate.

Kay Miller can be reached by calling 601-347-2188, or information can be obtained by calling Teresa Rouse-Neal at 601-215-6089.