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New Hope Enterprises provides a path to a better life

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 3/10/2014, 3:36 p.m.
Angèle Hawkins (pictured), New Hope Enterprises CEO and founder, celebrates with STRIVE graduates. (Photo by Vincent Christie).

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Spelman College student Abisola Akins is one of 17 students who have earned their way to become potential entry-level employees in the Grady Hospital System. (Photo by Vincent Christie).

Like many collegians set to receive their diploma this May, Spelman College biology and pre-Medicine scholar Abisola Akins found the prospect of not having a job lined up after college intimidating.

But tucked away behind the corner of Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard NW and Jefferson Street NW in Atlanta, Akins found hope at New Hope Enterprises.

The nonprofit organization is dedicated to providing those with minimal means, criminal records, or various other disadvantages, the opportunity to refine themselves for a better life and chance for employment.

Recently, Akins and 21 other Atlanta BeltLine Workforce Partnership in Healthcare participants graduated from the first phase of the program designed to teach and employ them via the Grady Health System.

“I really thought I had it all figured out,” she said at the graduation ceremony held Friday, February 21. “But I quickly learned I didn’t.”

Finishing up all her coursework requirements this past December, Akins faced a daunting spring semester without anything but time and space. So, she decided to seek out employment but to no avail.

Her efforts were not in vain, however, as she stumbled up a program that would change her after-college outlook.

“I was looking on Facebook, and one of my friends had told me about Grady Beltline Project,” Akins said. “There was a number on there for New Hope, and it said if you need any help, contact this number. And that’s exactly what I did…several times to make sure I was a part of the program.”

Akins and her fellow graduates successfully completed the “soft skills” phase of their training via New Hope Enterprise’s nationally recognized Support and Training Result in Valuable Employees (STRIVE) program.

Most of the graduates are now currently in the next phase of the program and will learn all the key professional and social skills that will prepare them for healthcare careers at Grady.

The road to employment may be easier to work through at New Hope Enterprises, but the education and training is nothing short of demanding.

“Upon getting here, initially, my reaction was ‘Uh, oh. What did I just sign up for,” Akins recalled. “But afterwards, during the course of my four weeks of being here, I learned that this program was not above me and it was truly something to gain from.”

Angéle Hawkins, CEO and founder, established New Hope Enterprises with the vision of making this kind of impact.

“I know throughout my life I was fortunate enough to have either a mentor or a person that pushed me along the way and gave me a second chance,” Hawkins said. “We’re just providing that for some of these folks.”

Coming from the corporate world, which is all about the productivity and the bottomline, Hawkins realized she wanted to strive for something different in her life, so now her organization is helping build a community of quality individuals equipped to augment metropolitan Atlanta’s workforce.

New Hope Enterprises reflects the selfless community service that Hawkins exudes from behind and away from the desk.