Council hears about Exodus Project 21

Published 9:33 am Friday, September 16, 2022

Exodus Project 21 is a faith based program that works to ensure those who need help overcoming drug 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 about 10 minutes of devotional instruction. Sessions also include speakers, most of which are involved in the mental health field. Other information shared in the sessions include job opportunities and any learning opportunities offered at Pearl River Community College for free. Many of the students who participate come from the 15th Circuit Intervention Court or are on probation. In the year that the program has been offered, 107 students have signed up, of which 37 percent have completed the program. Of that 37 percent 50 percent continue to attend sessions. Miller said the program has also helped 16 people get help through a rehabilitation center.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s been far more successful than I imagined,” Miller said.

Seth Stanley, who acts as the vice president of the organization and is also the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Picayune, said the program is looking for office space so they can have a central place to offer the program. Stanley said while the church may be able to provide some space, he feels the program would be better received by participants if the office space was public. He is hoping to find a larger space than is available at the library, since current participation packs the meeting room.

He added that participants are also provided information on how to get their driver’s license back, among other assistance.

Participants typically attend the program for a semester, which entails 12 classes. To get a certificate of completion the participant is required to attend at least nine of those classes. That certificate can be presented to the Intervention Court. That court typically keeps up with who attends the sessions to provide some accountability.

Participants in the program have ranged in age from as young as 19 to as old as 74, but the average age is in the 35 to 45 range.